You've seen the dramatic posts of friends who are bidding Facebook adieu because Facebook knows too much or it’s too depressing or, on and on...
I won't be one of those leaving Facebook, unless something better comes along. That's because I don't have the problems with it that others do and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Problems I don't have with Facebook
Yes. Of course there are targeted ads based on my use of Facebook. I don't pay for Facebook, so I expect they'll use my habits to target ads and a lot of times, I'll pay Facebook back by buying what I see being advertised.
Facebook knows about me and sells my data
Yes. Facebook knows about me and it uses what it knows to sell my data. It knows the things that others who know me, may perceive or pick up on like I live away from my hometown, work in education, travel, and am likely to engage with liberal political content. It knows habits I may not even have been aware of like that I have a lot of close friends who are expats and my multicultural affinity is African American.
Facebook is interested in this, as stated above, because it makes money off of targeting ads, just like Amazon knows what I like based on my purchasing habits. I am who I am, and I don't mind if others know it or use it to tailor marketing.I find it surprising that anyone would be shocked about this. It is the tradeoff for free services.
Why Facebook is worth it
Organizing and eventsWhen Facebook came on to the scene, Evite quickly became a thing of the past for master organizers. When it comes to organizing and events, Facebook rules. Whether you take poll to see who is available or who will bring what or use the event function to see who is attending and let others see as well.
Relationships are one of the most important parts of life and there has never been a better relationship-building tool than Facebook. I have worked more than 20 years as an innovative educator in New York City. For most of my career I worked in isolation. There was usually just one person like me (tech teacher, library media specialist, tech coach) in each school. It was difficult to connect and share ideas.
Difficulty in connecting with others who share your interest is a thing of the past. We get to meet the minds of others before their faces and stay connected and keep the conversations going after we've met face-to-face. This allows powerful connections and relationships to develop that in my case make the lives of children better.In Facebook we trust?No. Don't "trust" Facebook. Question it. Think about its motives. Talk about it. Make smart decisions. Support the lawsuits that question its motives and result in change. Facebook is a business. Among others, we are the clients. Be smart about how to make Facebook work for you.
What do you think? Do the benefits of Facebook outweigh the drawbacks? Have people you've known left Facebook who could have just adjusted their habits and decreased the drawbacks while enjoying the benefits? What are your recommended best practices on Facebook for yourself, your students, and their families?
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.