Last fall just before one of our school breaks, Mr. Roy, a teacher at ASB, passed Tribes by Seth Godin to me. A fantastic read that I must have dog-eared about fifty pages to follow up or share upon returning to Mumbai. I then bought a copy for the entire Leadership Team. I highly recommend it to all educators. Leadership has little to do with position. Rather leadership has to do with impact on your Tribe or on several Tribes…read it and this will resonate further. In the book, Seth makes a mention about Facebook use and then contrasts that with other focused social networking sites. I am a passive Facebook user. I like to check in about once a week, kind of like reading the Sunday paper and scan what’s going on with friends and colleagues near and far. If someone pops up in the “potential Friends” area, I generally hit Accept.
What I don’t accept is any Facebook invitation from students until they have graduated from college, and by that point in their lives, most are not seeking to connect with me anyway. This is not a new debate, but I would argue that as educators we ought not to be friends on Facebook with our students. If we need to set up an account or a Tribe with a specific focus, that’s one thing, but a Ning or many other sites would serve that function just fine.
I look forward to a robust dialogue leading to a decision about agreed upon boundaries of educators and social networking sites. I expect the continuum of perspective to be broad at first, but with some creative tension and dialogue, I think we’ll find a healthy equilibrium.
Until then . . .let’s keep the adult and student “Tribes” on Facebook separate entities.