Late last summer, between finishing my summer courses and gearing up for the fall, I set up a Facebook page. Facebook is a social networking site that a lot of college students use. I tend to initially resist technology such as this, and then use it after my resistance is overcome by my curiosity. Facebook ended up being a good way to connect with old friends, but it also was a way to communicate with students, and I thought this would be a good thing. However, last week, I deleted my account.
One benefit I found with respect to my role as a teacher was that those students who were interested were able to get to know me a little bit better (my interests, what I'm reading and writing, and so on). I think this was good because it opened up some common ground between us, and this was part of my motivation. I was even able to engage in some philosophical discussions with students. On the negative side, Facebook is a time sink, and I found myself wasting precious time messing around with the various applications available on the site. Also, while I enjoyed the ability to connect with students in a way that was fun for them, being on Facebook had some negative consequences. Some seemed to think we were "real life" friends, rather than just "Facebook friends". Also, there was access to parts of my student's lives that I'd really rather not have access to! In the end, I'd rather communicate with students and friends face to face, when possible, rather than on Facebook.
I'd be interested to hear others experiences on Facebook or Myspace, both positive and negative.