Here are the main points of the Powerpoint presentation about Social networking sites presewnted at the English teachers Roundtable in Marshalltown, Iowa on April 9, 2009 at Marshalltown Community College'
The Power Of Social Networking Sites Rdtable Handout Cd
English Round Table, April 2009
The Power of Social Networking Sites: their place on campus and in society
(when MySpace, Face book & Twitter becomes “our space!”)
Key ideas from the Power point
Twitter – most popular tool for micro blogging. Messages limited to 140 characters, often from mobile
phone, typically in response to prompt, “What are you doing right now?” You can sign up to “follow” other
people’s tweets, and they can follow you. You can also send personal messages, and flag favorite tweets.
Social Networking sites (SNS) – MySpace used to be number one, but Face book has taken its place.
A SNS is a website where users add content and interact in an online community, posting messages
and photos, exploring shared interests and making new friends. Face book has added a status box at
the top of the page that looks like Twitter and there is an application that makes it possible to Tweet a new
message & update your Face book page. The larger trend – mobile computing and micro blogging
reflect busy people connected 24/7
How are people and organizations using these tools?
To engage people in discussing topics, sharing ideas, interacting online (a church in Seattle)
To let people “follow” others and get quick updates on their activities (Rachel Maddow, Barack
To keep people updated on breaking news (CNN, Rick Sanchez, Courier, DM Register, KWWL)
To support people’s efforts working on common goals (Weight Watchers, Hungry Girl)
To mobilize people to act (or vote or buy or show up someplace) – many examples in Clay
To strengthen interpersonal relationships (Demi Moore and Ashton Kuchter twitter each other!)
Book recommendation: Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody (2008). He talks about the larger trends
of mobile computing and how people are using Twitter, text messaging, and Face book to organize political
protests, flash mobs, and social action. “Revolution doesn’t happen society adopts new technology, it
happens when society adopts new behaviors.” “the ability of people to share, cooperate, and act together is
being improved dramatically by our social tools….” (Epilogue, 321)
A few statistics about Face book -- Face book just had its 5th birthday. Face book has about 175 million
users. Most of the users are under 35; but only about 41 percent are college age. Source: “Older Members
adds to Facebook Surge.” Waterloo Courier. March 8, 2009.
A few facts about Twitter--Twitter is just three years old. Many people twitter from their cell
phone or Smartphone. Twitter quot;tweetsquot; (individual messages) are limited to 140 characters
There are 6 million users of Twitter, with three million twitter messages sent each day
How can you use Twitter & Facebook? Organize a group -- like Mike's Library group, with 400
plus members. Post pictures from a recent trip. Catch up on news from your friends. Read about
what some of your local politicians are doing. Get more information about a special event or
activity, as with the Library Tech Conference Facebook page. Find some of your professional
organizations & publications (NCTE/CCCC and Chronicle of Higher Ed!) Share great articles or
websites (if you see a link for sharing, Twitter is showing up as a choice. Click on it & it opens a
new Twitter message and dumps the URL into the text box)
Should you use SNS in the classroom? Some ideas for assignments
I would not encourage students to create a page for a class assignment, and I generally only friend
former students. HOWEVER, many students have an account already and there are many ways to
use SNS to teach a variety of things. You could ask them to analyze typical pages
From a college recruiter’s perspective. Do you want to give this person a scholarship?
From a prospective employer’s perspective. Would you interview this person?
From a general perspective. How do we judge a person’s page? What creates a positive
impression? What makes us cringe, frown, or have a negative response?
Analyze how groups are using Facebook to promote a cause and gather support
Cherie Dargan – Roundtable Session Page 1
Analyze how groups are using Facebook to promote a special event or activity, such as a breast
cancer walk, Earth Day
How is the larger trend of social networking changing how we communicate and collaborate
across the miles?
How is mobile computing shaping us? Do we want to be “connected” 24/7?
Research how job hunters are using Face book & other sites, as well as how companies are using it
to advertise and promote their products and services.
Questions for discussion
1) Are micro blogs and SNS like Twitter and Facebook a waste of time and resources? Are we so
obsessed with the web that we are isolating ourselves from family and friends in the quot;real worldquot; in order to
have a life online?
2) Are Twitter and Face book encouraging people to be even more self-involved, posting the silly trivia of
3) Are features like the 140 character limit of Twitter and Face book's brief postings on the other person’s
“wall” making us fragmented in our thinking and communication style?
4) Are we losing our sense of privacy by posting so publically? (And, for those who think it’s free, are we
trading our private information to advertisers and Face Book—who profit from it, and may use it?)
5) How are our reading skills and habits being affected by posting short messages on Face book or Twitter:
are we more distracted and less able to focus on creating or processing longer chunks of text?
6) As more people use Face book and Twitter, are the lines between our personal and professional lives
7) How do we help our students determine what is and is not appropriate to post on their Face book pages?
8) Shirky points out that the line is also blurring between cyberspace and IRL, as people make plans on FB
& Twitter to meet up
Resources for learning more about SNS and Micro blogging tools
Researcher danah boyd (did her doctoral dissertation on identity, teens and SNS (it’s posted online)
Writer Lev Grossman. “Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies. “Time. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
Face Book In Reality - idiotsofants.com and BBC's The Wall. This video pokes fun at Facebook, and
shows how silly it would be in “real life” to have someone show up at your front door, asking if you want
to be their friend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrlSkU0TFLs
The Pew Internet Research Project
Writer Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Penguin
Books, 2008. http://www.shirky.com/ (his website) http://www.herecomeseverybody.org/ (his book’s blog)
Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Social Media Strategist Andy Carvin about Face book's fifth
birthday. Feb. 7, 2009 · http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100377329
My Microblogging and SNS
http://cherieedtech.tumblr.com/ Cherie’s Tumblr page
http://twitter.com/professorpost Cherie’s Twitter page
http://twitter.com/MikeDargan My husband’s page
I will post the entire PPT on my HCC website. I will also post a shorter one with only the
Cherie Dargan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawkeye Community College—Waterloo, IA