Who owns you?

Yep, been a while since posting last.  Knew my New Years resolution to blog every fortnight couldn’t last long, I really tried though…honest.

Anyway, there has been a lot in the news recently about celebrities, AFL players and the like having to deal with cases of identity theft either via fraudulent Facebook or Twitter accounts.  Reading these stories reminded me of a conversation I overheard on a train whilst last down in Melbourne.  A group of secondary school aged students were laughing about the obvious fake Twitter accounts they were following.

The students knew they were fake accounts and whilst they didn’t mention the obvious fact that someone had had their identity stolen or others were passing themselves off as someone else, there was a subtle observation via their comments and reactions to some tweets, that it probably wasn’t the right thing to do.  One obvious one was when one of the students made a comment that ‘a friend of his’ had created a fake account for a well known musical artist (well known to them, I had no idea who it was, apparently they are big in the RnB scene! – I think I’m getting old)

Whilst commenting that it was pretty funny, the student did say that he warned his friend it wasn’t right and he could end up in big trouble.

This made me think of a couple of things.

It is obvious our students operate in the social networking space for communication and entertainment (inert lines about me being ‘Captain Obvious’ here), but we continue to neglect this from an educational point of view and normally go down the ‘block it’ mentality.  Given that we as educational institutions constantly frown upon social networking and all the ‘negatives’, why don’t we actually educate them by using them ourselves.

All schools should have a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter account.  I would argue teachers should too as a way of creating their own PLN, but that’s another discussion.

Schools at a minimum, can use these spaces to keep students, parents and the wider school community up to date with upcoming events.  By doing this it models an appropriate use of these tools for our students.  The other point is that if schools get onto it early enough, you reduce the risk of someone else creating a ‘social’ space in the school’s name that you have no control over.

I would suggest schools get onto this quick, because who knows there may already be a Facebook or Twitter account already set up purporting to be your school and who know what it may be saying or communicating.  That’s not to be a scare tactic, it’s mainly for schools to be proactive, rather than reactive to reduce potential issues.

So who owns your school’s digital, social networking space?

3 thoughts on “Who owns you?

  1. So true. I discovered a YouTube channel set up with our school’s name so I asked the powers at be about it, some didn’t see a need to worry, some gave the appropriate “we need to do something” but didn’t and some didn’t even reply to the email. I think it’s still there, but nothing has been added to it.

    I have ‘google alerts’ set up for the school name, as well as my own, and think all should be doing the same.

    Thanks again for the link here.

  2. You make a good point. Many schools with which I work struggle to “deal” with the fallout when students misuse social networking sites – damaged relationships, damaged reputations, aggro, mis-information, etc. Turning this around would mean that schools would be reaching out to their community on their own terms and engaging with students and families in the contemporary context; that’s a great way to celebrate the school within the community.

  3. As the parent leader of my children’s school, this is something I am very concerned about. I have come across the school’s name on a social networking site and I have not liked the ‘discussions’ that I have read. These sites, if not managed by the school, can put schools in a very poor light. This could be potentially damaging to not only the school but to people who are involved with that school community.

    There is great potential to use these sites for the good of our school communities. I have used my Facebook page and Twitter account to get news out about school forums, etc…….but this is obviously limited to the people who are my friends, or who follows me.

    Social networking tools can be used to a school’s advantage. I totally agree with everything you’ve written. Thanks Glen for your wonderful post. I thoroughly enjoy reading this blog.

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