To Share, or Not To Share

computerLab2Since we have determined that it is a good practice to have two separate profiles, let’s talk about what you should and shouldn’t post online. The first rule to live by when posting is to treat your social media interactions like real world interactions.  If you wouldn’t say it in front of your students, parents or administrators, then you shouldn’t be posting it on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.  This may seem like common sense, but news stories continually pop-up that attest to the fact that “common sense” is not so “common.”

Take for example the news headline from just last month…”How not to use Facebook, if you’re a school official.”  In this case, an Arkansas school board member commenting on a campaign to get people to wear purple to show support for bullied gay and lesbian youth, purportedly posted a Facebook message saying the only way he would wear purple is “if they all commit suicide.”  Of course, this insensitive and disrespectful comment is a tragic example of what NOT to say and do on Facebook.  Please, please, please think before your hit submit!

This edict is also true as it relates to your personal account.  Be careful what you post and share, because it WILL come back to haunt you.

Also, please practice caution when uploading multimedia content such as photos and videos. While they may seem innocuous or be simple fun, they may convey unintended messages about you and your activities that can be misconstrued.  

We’ve briefly mentioned that you are STRONGLY encouraged to create two separate social media profiles – one professional profile and one personal profile – this is best practice prescribed by all social media websites. Again, common sense is not always common – avoid sensitive conversational materials, and always stay away from using profanity and vulgarity.

There are many laws that relate to the online activities of children. Even though you as teachers may be excited to share your students’ news and accomplishments, you should be cognizant of Federal laws such as FERPA and COPPA. They are intended to protect children, and you must be aware of them.

Bottom line – when posting materials while wearing your professional “hat” ask yourself, “Would I talk about this in a classroom full of students?” Or in other words, “Can your mother see it?” – CYMSI

We hope this doesn’t discourage you from sharing, because there are so many amazing doors that social media can open and opportunities that it may bring to educators.  Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the bushel!

So what can you share?

  • Talk about your successes. It’s OK to brag on your social sites. In fact, it’s expected. Toot your own horn.
  • Share ideas and resources that you have found – talk about practices and activities that have worked for you.
  • Share experiences with new places, new things, and new people.
  • Enter into a conversation with someone else – be part of the social media conversation.  Don’t be afraid to make comments, that part of the “social” of social media.
  • Social media is a tool for use within the classroom.  Use it in enrichment activities, make it a vehicle for literary discussion, encourage students to use it as a means for interacting at a global scale.

As social media continues to grow in popularity, we are going to want to broadcast every minute of every day on our social media profiles. But before you post that status update or send that tweet, always remember, “To share or not to share, that is the question.”

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