A school Facebook page post some positive news to their Facebook page (such as a recent sporting victory). A teacher from the school, who is following the page, then likes the post as does parents and students of the school. Parents or students of the school may then notice the like and follow through to the teacher account, which then (depending on many varying settings) may allow them to see photos, videos, page likes, posts from friends or apps....the list goes on. In addition to this, teachers can then be put in the awkward situation of receiving friend requests or private messages (which can be sent without actually being a friend on Facebook). I have experienced this situation myself.
In most cases people do not understand how deep you have to dive into Facebook's settings to ensure your personal information stays personal. It can be very difficult to control third party apps and other people tagging you in posts. If you are like me and have been on Facebook for over 10 years, some history literally has to have settings change individually. Similar scenarios can also occur on Twitter or Instagram accounts (that are not set to private).
Personal Vs Professional
So many teachers just avoid social media and that's a shame. I am constantly acknowledging the benefits of engaging in the PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) I have become a part of on social media platforms such as Twitter. They have opened doors and provided great opportunities to engage with some amazing and inspirational people. I also love social media for the same reasons everyone else does - sharing and connecting with my friends and family and to explore my hobbies and interest areas. Teachers can have the best of both worlds on social media. I do this by maintaining both a personal and professional identity on social media platforms. This may sound like lots of work, but it really isn't. Jumping between accounts is remarkably easy across many platforms.
Tips for juggling identities....
This isn't a perfect recipe. This is what I have found works for me and it may not be the solution that works for you. I feel that Social Media has so much to offer people personally and professionally. If you agree, this approach might be worth a try....
As a teacher, how do you currently manage your presence on social media? I'd love to know. Leave a comment below!
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