What is Social Networking

The interaction between a group of people who share a common interest…Using social contacts to network…The process of building online communities, often accomplished both through ‘groups’ and ‘friends lists’ that allow greater interaction on websites…means of communicating and sharing information between two or more individuals on an online community.

Definitions of Social Networking on the Web

Why Use Social Networking

Social Media Revoluation (video)

  • Real experiences
    • Students creating and collaborating
    • Connecting with real-world experts
    • Publishing work for their peers
    • Digital communication skills applicable to jobs
  • Productivity
    • Quick, easy, ubiquitous (WUPHF from The Office)
    • Integrate with other online tools
    • Reduce paper use.
      • Green
      • Students can lose paper
      • Paper isn’t interactive
  • Engaging
    • Interactive
    • Go to where the students are, use the tools they’re using
      • 96 percent of students with online access report that they ever used any social networking technologies.(NSBA Creating and Connecting)
      • Almost 60 percent of students who use social networking talk about education topics online and, surprisingly, more than 50 percent talk specifically about schoolwork. (NSBA Creating and Connecting)
  • Technical Skills & Digital Literacy
    • Should Kids be driving alone (video)
    • The more variety of tools students are exposed to the more technical concepts they learn, leading to less reliance on step-by-step instructions. Easier to adopt to new tools.
    • Students tend to know how to use online tools or can learn them very quickly, but need guidance to use them effectively. Ownership and creation of information has expanded from a few to everyone, making the ability to evaluate information even more critical
  • Digital Citizenship & Digital Footprints
    • Students need help transferring lessons of character and good behavior to online environment; cloak of anonymity and non-F2F contact encourages more openness and direct communication – for better and for worse.
    • Students often do not realize the permanence of their online actions and how it could affect their future.

More information: Digizen


  1. Set up accounts solely for classroom use
  2. Keep personal accounts separate
    • Don’t friend students on networks
    • Check privacy settings of your personal accounts
    • Does your district have a policy regarding social networking? It should – for your protection.
  3. Have a code of conduct, remind students of existing AUP.
  4. Communicate with parents and administration.
  5. Don’t require students have an account on a public service, i.e. provide either read-only access (e.g. a public Twitter feed) or alternate method of communication.
  6. Don’t post student work or media of students without proper release.

More information: Guidelines for Educators Using Social and Educational Networking Sites via Doug Johnson


The Tools

  • LinkedIn – Professional networking site
    • Practice job-application skills and post electronic resumes; network with industry professionals, engage in subject-specific discussion forums.
    • LinkedIn for Students
  • YouTube – Video sharing community
    • Teacher: Publish student work and videos of classroom activity (can be public or private), find video content for lessons; have students annotate videos.
    • Students: learn a new skill; learn about current events; participate in video discussions.
  • Edmodo – private, education-focused microblogging
    • Post announcements, share online resources and files, engage in discussions, conduct polls.
    • Great tool for introducing younger students to social media, in safe & private environment.
  • Diigo – social bookmarking. Classroom account available.
    • Create private bookmark sharing groups for your students to share resources and engage in dicussions
    • Highlight and comment right on webpages.
    • My Diigo: Caitlin032118

More Information: Educational Networking

Additional Resources

Creating and Connecting [PDF] (The National School Board Association’s study about student social networking)

MacArthur Digital Media & Learning

  • Usually extending existing offline relationships
  • Technical and Media Literacy
  • Self-directed learning, “Geek-out”, access resources not available locally
  • Social Behavior & Technical Skills essential to today’s society

Facebook, YouTube at Work Make Better Employees: Study

  • The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.
  • “Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days’ work, and as a result, increased productivity…”

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

  1. Use Your Friend Lists
  2. Remove Yourself From Facebook Search Results
  3. Remove Yourself From Google
  4. Avoid the Infamous Photo/Video Tag Mistake
  5. Protect Your Albums
  6. Prevent Stories From Showing Up in Your Friends’ News Feeds
  7. Protect Against Published Application Stories
  8. Make Your Contact Information Private
  9. Avoid Embarrassing Wall Posts
  10. Keep Your Friendships Private

Parent’s Guide to Facebook

Example Social Network Policies

Minnetonka Public Schools, MN: Employee Use of Social Media
District #196, MN: Employee Use of Social Media
Oxford School District, MA: Social Networking Policy