Yesterday I attended a workshop on Blogs, Wikis and Social Networks, delivered by Helen Conroy of Netskills. It was a very interesting workshop and has given me lots to think about.
Inspired by the afternoon session, I took the plunge and set up a profile on Facebook. I am a little bit worried about the amount of time I might waste, adding interesting widgets and poking people. But so far I have only one "friend", and don't intend to trawl for hundreds (thousands) more. I was quite surprised at the number of academics who are present on Facebook, which raises issues for me about the separation of professional and private life - something that Helen also spoke briefly about yesterday. Moreover, what do I do if (when?) a student gets in contact and wants to be my friend?
Some interesting articles that jumped out at me from my Netvibes page consider this very topic. The Wired Campus on Tuesday had an article Facebook: Not Just For Students Anymore highlighting that academics are appearing on Facebook. The most interesting part of this article is the set of comments at the end, where academics talk about how and why they use Facebook. The issues around the student/teacher relationship are highlighted in another Chronicle article For Professors, 'Friending' can be Fraught.
Meanwhile, the same publication reports that some educational institutions have decided to block Facebook completely.