Sunday, March 27, 2011

The World's Simplest Social Media Policy

I often share my disappointment around the fear of using social media for learning and connecting in posts like this one Kids and teachers are interacting. Everybody panic. Social media is ubiquitous in the lives of our students and it makes sense to go to where the students are. I shared this in my post where students explain 10 Ways Facebook Strengthens the Student-Teacher Connection. In that article you'll also hear from librarian Michelle Luhtala who helped break the ban on social media in her school. A video included in the article shows what happens when students are given the trust and freedom to learn using Facebook.  This is working in elementary schools as well which I shared in 8 Real Ways Facebook Enriched Ms. Shoening's First Grade Class. 

The reality is the power of social media is enormous.  It's what students are using to make a difference, our president used to get elected, and what Egypt used to start a revolution.  Educators must get over their fears lest they make themselves irrelevant and leave their students unprepared.  As I shared in my post Being Safe Online Is Being Safe In Life, the lesson is this.  It's not primarily having a social networking profile, or giving out  personal information that puts kids at risk. What puts kids in danger is being willing to talk about sex online with strangers or having a pattern of multiple risky activities on the web like going to sex sites and chat rooms, meeting lots of people there, kind of behaving in what we call like an internet daredevil. As the post is titled, the rules for being safe online are really just the rules for being safe in life. 

We don't need a complicated policy that runs on for pages that no one can understand.  What we do need is a common sense policy like the one shared by Mike Brown on the Nate Riggs Social Business Strategies blog.  The policy was made for business and works for education as well.  The policy was written for social media, but also applies to face-to-face.  Here it is with some slight schooly revisions from me.

“Will what you’re about to share offend, surprise, or shock your current or future
  • Classmates 
  • Teacher 
  • Friends
  • Boyfriend/girlfriend 
  • Family
  • Parents
  • Employer
  • Clients
  • Business partners
in a way which critically jeopardizes your relationship? If you answer even one “Yes” for this short list of people, think long and hard before publishing your content.”

Now isn't that easy?  A smart guide for life online and off.  For the original post visit Mike Brown on The World’s Simplest Social Media Policy.

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