Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Because of a torrent of invitations lately to join freakin' facebook from a bunch of people with names (first or last) beginning with J (seriously, it was weird), I finally joined the damn thing. I really didn't want to. After hours lost in early 2003 to stupid Friendster, I thought I was over the social networking thing. But I couldn't take the peer pressure any more! I feel like those idiots at REM concerts who think it all began with Monster.

I'm under my full real life name -- middle initial included -- so if you know it, feel free to friend me!

Now, could ya'll tell me what you do about students? And, um, Bullock seems to have his own fb life -- should we leave it that way? What's the netiquette here?


JM said...

[bear in mind that I'm a grad student, not a fancy prof yet :)]

My thing with students (freshmen, mostly, but I also teach jrs/srs and international students) is that I tell them they're welcome to friend me, but that is because I also do questions/answers about stuff via IM. Basically, if my IM says I'm available, I'm available to them. Then again, I have a different relationship with technology and online identity and stuff like that.

So I'll offer this tidbit of info -- my entire committee is on FB and I'm FB friends with them (duh). 15 or so of our TT faculty are on FB. I'm not speaking for them, but it seems to me that for the most part they don't friend/accept friend requests from undergrads, but grad students are all good.

jw said...

I don't accept friend requests from students so long as I'm their teacher. Once the term is over and grades are submitted, that's a different story.

Really, though, I only use Facebook for people I'd like to see in real life, so that typically excludes former students. Maybe I'm just a snob.

Anonymous said...

I have a bunch of former students as friends on Facebook, but since they're all former, I don't suppose that's very helpful! (I didn't get on FB till after leaving Former College, and didn't get to know any of the students in my lecturer gig well enough for any of them to look for me.) I am FB friends with a bunch of my classmates, which is a bit odd because so many of them are in their early 20s, but overall I think it's cool.

I'm so used to my online life being completely separate from NLLDH (he doesn't read the blog unless there's something specific I ask him to look at), that the FB thing is completely weird because he'll look from his computer and say, "Oh, so X friended you?" I'm like, what, are you stalking me online?? ;-) (I don't go read his page/wall whatever.)

(My word verification is tortma. Even blogger is reminding me of my exams!)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

huh -- Facebook is the only internet site my students know about, except for a moribund LJ under my real name. It's there for them to see me, if they like. My rules are that I never friend students, but will always friend them back; I don't post anything too revealing about myself (one student was really worried about me when I said I was depressed); I try not to put anything too overtly political, and I hardly ever go to my students' facebooks. There are a couple of weird things/friendings on my fb, but I have lots of academic friends, and I have minimized my profile info.

Anonymous said...

I don't friend students until after they've graduated, and then only if I consider them friends with whom I want to keep in touch. Period. I also have my profile set so people in the college network (read, students) can only see the very bare bones of it.

I had a slight panic attack last year when I used a silly Halloween picture of me as my profile pic, and several of my students said they saw it, even with the locked-down profile. So I've been super-careful since then. I use it for friends, and anyone else can bug off.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

All people with names beginning with J are weird.

Former students only for me ... because current students only suspect how what a goofball I am, but lack the concrete evidence.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

My students have kind of a clue about me already -- the upperclassmen are used to me being able to find pop culture references in almost anything, and all of them know I will quote my fave films regularly. But they also know they can find me at night, and leave messages for me, and (as recently) comment on my status and send me videos. I like it because it's a bit more than professor me, but far less than even ADM

Thoroughly Educated said...

Oh yay, I have friended you.

I have current grad students as friends, because Fb seems to be the place where our program's social life is organized, and I have a few former undergrad students as friends, but I just ignore requests from students or former students with whom I never had any kind of friendship outside of class. Also, you can keep sub-categories of friends and exclude some of them from seeing some kinds of info, but that's too much to think about, given the number of online identities I'm already trying to manage!

Anonymous said...

For a while there it seemed like students were the only people capable of (or interested in?) tracking me down on that thing.

I'll bet a 1/4 of my "friends" are former students.

I used to school some of them in Scrabble, until the whole Scrabulous lawsuit came down.

Without exception, they've all found me and they're all students who were positive and nice to have around. The kids who were lucky to get Ds seem to stay away.

One "friend" is a former student who was turned on to graphic design by my class, who is now all "grown" up and publishes her own fashion magazine. I'd never know that if she hadn't added me to her friends.

In the end, I think it's flattering when they Facebook befriend me. On the days when a class used to make me wonder how I never went postal, it reminded me why I taught.

And then, you know, I really don't have any sordid details to be wary of posting in front of the kids.

Rob Barrett said...

Former students only for me as well.

Good to see you on Waste(time)book!

Renaissance Girl said...

Former students only--yes, a good plan. And I became uncomfortable with how much information even those FORMER students would have access to about me, so I ended up backing out a little from the whole Facebook thing, and making it a strictly professional page. That way, I don't mind being "friended" by all the various people I don't know who keep requesting to be my friend. (Which is a weird thing, yes?)

Anonymous said...

Hey, glad you looked me up!! Welcome to FB

Former students and graduate students for me (a couple of whom have signed up for another class, so these, weirdly, are current students again)...my students harass me some, but then I tell them that I could destroy their lives, and they pipe down (not true, of course). I do think it is valuable for students to see what I do. I hate grading, and I winge about it constantly. I value my scholarship, and my intellectual interests range far, far beyond the classroom. Most of all, I'm a *person*, with a wide variety of friends who do all sorts of interesting things. I'm pretty unguarded about it, I guess, but I expect them to respect the relationship...So far, they have

Anonymous said...

There is a policy statement on the ethics of faculty presence on FB, formulated by a bunch of digital-media scholars:

medievalkarl said...

I'm increasingly becoming convinced that I shouldn't friend students on the Fb until they graduate. I certainly do only former students now, and only if they contact me, but I've had a few cases of students friending me after they've had a class, and then my getting a good sense of who they are outside the classroom, and, in some cases, I haven't been pleased with what I see. In those cases, I haven't hesitated to unfriend the person, but I'd rather not have that personal disapproval be interpreted as academic disapproval.

Renaissance Girl said...

Karl--when I said "former students," I meant "post-graduation-when-they'll-never-take-another-class-from-me students."

medievalkarl said...

RG: good policy that! I think I might take it on, although I don't think I can grandfather it in for students I've already let through the fb door.