Social Networking for Educators

The swearing in of a new U.S. president has left many things uncertain about the future and direction of our great country, but there is one thing for sure that is certain and that is the incredible power of the internet and the explosive use of Social Networking sites. President Barrack Obama’s election team used the internet and the social networking site Facebook (among others) in ways that have never been done before to help get an American President elected with great affect.
Pictured above is a screen shot of the new Adobe Education Technologies Group on Facebook.

Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and fairly new kid on the block Ning are no longer the territory of your students, nor just for job seekers using sites like Linkedin. On the contrary these sites as well as highly targeted social networking sites like Classroom 2.0 today are simply “where it’s at” to not only be connected with your education peers but they are also a great way to effectively communicate with: your students, the parents of your students, PTA staff and members, the movers and shakers at the district level, with your collogues at the local board of education as well as an outstanding way for you to advance your education career. The famous quote by John Heywood, “Out of sight out of mind” could easily be reinterpreted today to “Out of site (Facebook’s site that is) out of mind”.
Social networking sites are quickly becoming the domain of companies and vendors too like us here at Adobe Systems. In fact an author of this very blog, Patrick Koster has established the first ever public Facebook hosted Adobe Education Technologies “Group” on Facebook as a way to greatly extend our communication beyond our Adobe education web pages and our education blog with all of our education customers and education associates.
Yours truly recently has even used Facebook as well as three other social networking sites (including our very own web site to get the word out about a new Adobe User Group I will be co-hosting with my wife here in Ventura, CA where I live.
But wait you might be thinking, you’ve heard awful stories about an educator or two who got in big trouble for posting inappropriate content on a social networking site. Or maybe your district doesn’t even allow the likes of Facebook or YouTube videos through your school’s firewall. Sure there are stories of educators as well as companies and their employees for that matter that have frankly messed up on some of these sites. Common sense dictates on these sites and keeping certain things private is the rule of thumb too; just like things offline you have to always keep in mind pretty much anything you post to these sites is public by default and will last forever on the internet.
Posting to a social networking site is not like posting something to your web site or blog and then realizing that a inappropriate story or photo should be taken down immediately; on a social networking site pretty much once you post to one you’ve etched your digital contribution to one for all digital eternity!
So why are these sites so amazingly popular? For me it boils down to one thing; it allows me to “connect” a shared interest (my kids as an example) with my entire extended family who are all over the U.S., like-minded friends who share my love of art, Adobe’s amazing tools and the now defunct crazy Oingo Boingo rock band as another example. My Adobe co-workers and I discussing the super cool CS4 tools and of course the many educators I have met in the past as well as many I work with on a daily basis right now for Adobe.
Bottom line is if you can’t beat the huge onslaught of email invitations from your family, friends and co-workers in your in-box to join one of these sites then I suggest you join one or more and see first-hand what all the buzz is about. You may find like many of my coworkers and I have discovered about these sites is not only are they fantastic for connecting with people they are a heck of a lot of fun too!
Below is a list of some of the top social networking sites mentioned in this post (as well as a few others) including a link to our very own and very new Adobe Education Technologies Group on Facebook. Please note our group is by invitation only, meaning, you’ll need to provide us with a verifiable school email address or be referred to the group by one of your “friends” on Facebook that we know about.
So don’t wait, join some of these sites and come take part in yet another way cool internet revolution; hooking up with your Adobe friends on a social networking site!
Very popular with youth worldwide.
The clear leader of the social networking scene.
Super popular among business focused people.
The jury’s still out, but a slick and easy interface to get started with.
Adobe Education Technologies Group (Facebook group based/must be a member of Facebook as well as invited to group)
It rocks! (Of course I’m going to say this!)
NextGen Teachers (Ning based)
The next generation of educators learning about teaching and learning.
Classroom 2.0
A very popular site for educators.
Ning in Education (Ning based)
Using Ning for educational social networks.
Your “friend,”
Richard John Jenkins

5 Responses to Social Networking for Educators

  1. Robert McDaniels says:

    You’re an Oingo Boingo fan? I have a new, more profound level of respect for you. Rock on! Great post.

  2. Ryan Kirk says:

    I live in Ventura as well, and just saw the ‘Adobe Users Group’ on a marquee sign on my way into Oxnard this morning. I was wondering what that was about. Where can I find info on the group? Is there a Facebook page?
    Yes. First meeting is Feb 19th. You can find out more about it on Facebook Groups; do a search for Adobe Ventura User Group, or check out the listing on User Groups and do a search there for Ventura, CA as well.
    This is a brand new group so join us at our first kick off meeting!

  3. Gale Bigbee says:

    I found this blog for educators and want to network with those of you using the Adobe products – best practices, new ideas, etc.

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