Thursday, March 20, 2008

Professors Strike Back! - Professors on Facebook

If I were a freshman student, would I want to have my professor as a friend on facebook? Facebook is supposed to be a website that college students keep in contact with college students and alumni keep in contact with alumni (or any combination of the prior groups). Now the prevailing question is, "What happens with the professor happens to be a newly minted alumna/alum of an institution and is an active member of facebook?

Today, the New York Times released an article titled, "The Professor as Open Book". I received the article this morning via Google Reader (RSS feed). This article touches on the following topics:
  • -> Professors Strike Back (A television show that allows professors to verbally refute their students' negative comments on
  • Professors' Personal Decisions to Divulge Their Personal Information on Social Networking Websites.

My Analysis - I have a facebook profile that is private (my students cannot search for me). This profile affords me several benefits: (a) I can communicate with friends from my college years, (b) I can conduct research on facebook with students from other institutions, and (c) I am able to post pictures of family/friends without having undergraduates viewing them.

However, I think that professors should have a public profile that their students can access. Research has proven that professors who have public facebook profiles are more likely to have a positive relationship with their students. In addition, I strongly urge professors to practice professional demeanor on

Sometimes it is hard to do because there are so many features that jeopardize academic professionalism. For example, facebook users can take quizzes on their profiles that may not be very professional (Test Your Sex in the City IQ) or they also have to option to add applications (Send a Drink - alcoholic, non-alcoholic, water). I recently read an article about student affairs professionals and - Best Practices Among Student Affairs Professionals Using Social Networking Websites.

Question of the Week - Should professors have profiles on facebook?

Millennial Professor


  1. I'm a Millennial Librarian, and I have a professional facebook page and a college friends facebook page. I use my college alum email address for the friend's profile, and I use my current work email address for my professional facebook. I am not searchable via my college friends' profile. It really helps me keep work and play separate.

  2. Striking a balance for millenial educators is hard to do. It sounds like you are negotiating the balance well.

  3. I have added your blog to my list of favorite blogs. Millennials need to stick together :)

  4. I think much can still be said for personal choice. Whether or not a professor has a facebook page has really nothing to do with how effective a teacher he or she is. However, social networking can be used as a positive way for professors to build relationships with students and engage them outside the classroom. Again, I think it is all about personal choice.


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