Social networking sites and the student affairs mission

As I recently noted in my blog, FaceBook is considered "the dark side" that wastes student's time. As a student affairs and support services person, however, if 83% of your students are "hanging out" in one place, then that is where you want to be. A study of 453 colleges found that over half now use social media in their admissions strategies. Colleges are increasingly turning to these technologies to engage with student and provide support services. The Student Affairs Collaborative blog provides a guide to using FaceBook as a part of the student affairs mission. As noted by Diverse Education, "...colleges and universities have started thinking about how to harness the connective power of SNS to further engage students in academic life."

In the articles cited above issues of the propriety and privacy are often discussed. This issue will ultimately be moot. If today 83% of our students have a social networking presence, then in fifteen years 83% of our staff will be staff with a social networking presence. The issue will not be whether or not to have a presence, that will be water under the bridge. The issue will be how to interact ethically on those sites
(with apologies, the ethics guidelines for using social media are themselves on a social media site).

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