The article argues that the ability to use Facebook well and wisely is essential. It says that Facebook encourages strong writing, interpersonal communication skills, and Web 2.0 literacy. To show how Fb encourages strong writing, the author points out poorly written status updates and asks students what opinion they form about the writer. For interpersonal communication skills, she arrived at school one day and saw that a student who was not an FB friend had carried on a discussion with another over boring teachers and not going to class. She opened that in class and let the class comment on it. Showing that people who are friends of your friends can see your status is an important piece of information. Another student was given the opportunity to pitch a project to the university president. While preparing for his speech, he opened the FB page and saw that he was featured shirtless and drinking a beer hands-free. A friend snapped a picture of him in his professional attire and the student uploaded it immediately, before he went into the president’s office for the meeting. Finally the professor details her own experience meeting a writer online and pitching the idea of her publishing his blog entries as a chap book. Students read and commented on her pitch letter; they also asked for details about how the online meeting had happened, how the relationship was developed, and, finally, about the author’s answer. This allowed the students to see the use FB could be put to for both forming new networking relationships but also for developing business opportunities.
When I began reading I did not think this article would be very credible. However, the three very simple examples she gave, and her argument that FB promotes strong writing, were persuasive.
I tell students not to post things they don’t want their future employers to see, but perhaps I should again have students google the other students and read through their FB posts for something that could be damaging to their futures. The stories in this article will be very useful for communication disasters to tell my students about.