Pedagogy, Agency, and Media Culture
Several participants in the social media panel this morning at the SCMS conference – all of them professors at colleges – commented that they felt like Facebook was a student space – something that the undergraduates felt belonged to them – and thus was a bit off limits for pedagogy or educational colonialisation by teachers. I too have felt this. Students seem ambivalent about Twitter, certainly about blogging or YouTube, but they feel that, for better or worse, Facebook is their social space.
While educators will always be the uncool kids on the block – by virtue of what Hannah Arendt calls natality, birth into a historical moment – it seems important to address what is public and what is private about social media (while acknowledging that most of it is more akin to broadcasting than to interpersonal interaction). And increasingly students seem more attuned to the negative results that can develop from posting crude comments or posting louche images of themselves on Facebook.
Facebook seems like it should be allowed to be a funky place to hang out, but as more and more companies use it to pretend to talk to customers – more to hawk products – does the hangout aspect become diminished? And consequently does the profile image become simply a brand or public relations tool for the moment with a future?