The Social Media 411 For Parents, Educators, & Students [GUIDE] 5


Email History Infographic w:o LabelsThere are numerous websites and mobile apps that allow users to create an account, share content, and connect with others. ‘Social network’ is the broad category to which these services belong. While the most well known of the social networks is likely Facebook, teens have been slowly making an exodus away from Facebook as more of their family members have joined. The percentage of U.S. moms, for example, on Facebook has grown rapidly, from 50 percent in 2010 to 72 percent in 2012. In that same period, the average age of Facebook users climbed from 38 to 41. As a result of these changes, teens have turned to other social networks where they don’t have to worry as much about adults monitoring their exchanges.

It is important that students are supported in their use of social media and taught responsible use as a digital citizen. To accomplish this, adults need to be informed about the various ways in which students can engage with social media. As more and more social media channels become populated, it can be easy for a single user to have an expansive social media or web profile. Having an account on even just a couple of social networks starts to amplify the information that’s out there and available about a user. With regard to social media use, a user develops a digital footprint, which refers to the size of a user’s “online presence.” This can be measured by the number of individuals with whom they interact in all their social media channels, or the amount of content that they create, consume, and share online. The content students create and share, or with which they interact, contributes to their digital reputation. That’s where, just like in offline life, students need to be conscientious about how they represent themselves in the world. Offline, experiences define a person’s character and integrity; online, posting, interacting and sharing define your digital footprint. Just like your offline actions, your digital footprint represents you; however, with digital footprints have a much longer-lasting impression and can be more challenging to put behind you. To some the off-limit actions in which some users engage on social media are common sense, while others simply don’t know.

Social Media Websites, Services & Apps Most Used by Students:

Instagram

Instagram is an online photo-sharing service that doubles as a social network. Users can upload digital photos, apply filters to them, include captions to the images, categorize them by tags, and share the photos with other users. Instagram works from the Instagram mobile app and has become a leading photo-sharing program for mobile devices, with more than 100 million registered users. In August 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram. About 1 out of 4 teens are using Instagram.

Positives:
  • Share, archive, organize, and preserve photos of your memorable moments
  • Follow the images shared by others you know, organizations, events, or even those you admire but don’t know
Pitfalls:
  • Photos could be sold or used by the company (Facebook) for advertising purposes
  • Can be used to share inappropriate content that leaves an “image trail”
Resources:
  • Quickagram – search Instagram users online by name or username
  • Statigram – search Instagram users online by username
  • The Instagram App – get the mobile app & find users with the Discover tab or “Find Friends” feature
  • Find Users – using Instagram’s Discover tab or you can find Facebook friends who have Instagram accounts by using the “Find Friends” feature under your profile options on the Instagram app (tap the gear icon)

Vine

Vine is a mobile app for creating and sharing short (6 second) movies that automatically loop and replay. The movies are made from a combination of video footage or still images from your mobile device. Though they are quick, they often resemble movies made with the Claymation effect. Videos you post to Vine will appear on your Vine profile and the timelines of your Vine followers. Posts can also be shared to Twitter or Facebook. Vine was purchased by Twitter. Vine videos can only be created and shared from the app.

Positives:
  • Share, archive, organize, and preserve short videos of your memorable moments
  • Follow the videos shared by others you know, organizations, events, or even those you admire but don’t know
Pitfalls:
  • Can be used to share inappropriate content that leaves a “video trail”
Resources:
  • VineViewer – a service that lets you search and view vines online

Twitter

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Registered users can read and post tweets but unregistered users can only read them. You can use Twitter from its website or mobile app.

Positives:
  • Share brief thoughts with friends you know, organizations, events, or even those you admire but don’t know
  • Learn about the schools, teams, causes, or organizations you’re interested in
  • Get breaking news from individual, freelance, and professional media sources
  • Contribute your thoughts to a cause and have a voice in a worldwide conversation
  • Professional networking, sharing of resources, and catching leads on scholarships and opportunities
  • Follow the Twitter accounts of school, colleges, or universities you are interested in
  • Find Twitter users who tweet about scholarships, internships, or other helpful school tips
  • Follow Twitter users who post helpful hints about training, studying, or your areas of interest
  • Find opportunities for learning, sharing, and entering competitions for the things you love
Pitfalls:
  • Can be used to share inappropriate content or negative remarks that leave a digital trail
Resources:

Facebook

Facebook is a complete social network that allows you to post messages, photos, video, and other media or web links and share with others. Users can create a profile to share content and follow the content of others. Organizations, events, or causes can create a Facebook page to distribute content or information.

Positives:
  • Share your thoughts, photos, videos, pages, work, and links with people you know or organizations
  • Follow schools, colleges, organizations, companies, or athletic teams to learn about opportunities
  • Store and organize media into albums
Pitfalls:
  • Privacy: information and media about you, posted by you or other users, is available and searchable
Resources:

Snapchat

Snapchat is a media-messaging app for mobile devices that is used almost exclusively by kids. Photos or videos are sent between users who are “friends” on Snapchat, but they are only viewable by recipients for 10 seconds or less. Media can be sent to multiple users simultaneously, but images disappear and cannot be retrieved after the time expires. Snapchat does not save images in the app, but the recipient of a Snapchat has the ability to take a screenshot of the image & save it. These fleeting images are not reviewed, according to Snapchat’s privacy policy. **Newer findings have revealed that Snapchats are not deleted and it is possible to retrieve/recover them from your device and save/share them later.

Positives:
  • Share photos of memorable moments quickly and temporarily with friends
  • No need to manage or organize albums or online photo storage
Pitfalls:
  • Recipients can take a screenshot to save an image of what media was sent to them
  • There is no solid “image trail” to link a user to their sharing behavior
Resources:

Google+

Google+ is a newer comprehensive social network that allows you to post messages, photos, video, and other media or web links and share with others. It is the Google counterpart to Facebook. It is linked to a user’s Google account, and is used more widely among companies and professionals than kids. Users can create a profile to share content and follow the content of others. Organizations, events, or causes can create a Google+ page to distribute content or information to followers. Instead of “friending” a user, Google+ utilizes “circles.”

Positives:
  • You can group users into “circles” to see shared content and updates in a more filtered way
  • Link easily to all your other Google Apps content
  • Free video conferencing, called a “Hangout,” with up to 10 people and live streaming ability on YouTube
Pitfalls:
  • Information and media about you, posted by you or other users, is available and searchable on Google
  • Less user-friendly social network than Facebook
Resources:

Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging service for the web and mobile devices. Users can create text or multimedia posts and quickly share them with others. Users can follow other’s Tumblr blogs, and even non-users can view Tumblrs. As an alternative to a full-scale blog (a personal digital newspaper, of which the user is the editor,) Tumblr is quick and easy to use. For its usability, Tumblr is a very popular service, especially among young people. More teens are on Tumblr than on Facebook (61% compared to 55% in 2012.)

Positives:
  • Share your thoughts, photos, videos, and links with people who follow your blog
  • Follow blogs that post content about colleges, scholarships, and other opportunities
Pitfalls:
  • Anyone can view your Tumblr online, even if they aren’t a registered user; they cannot be made private
Resources:

Kik Messenger

Kik is a fast, simple and personal smartphone messenger app. It works just like text messaging does, except on a closed network. You can connect with other users in your address book on Kik to send individual or group messages. In addition to mobile app use from smartphones, the Kik messenger app can also be installed on your PC or Mac computer to use just the same. Messaging can be done across devices all the same. There are 80 million users on Kik’s messaging system.

Positives:
  • Share messages, which include text or media, with individuals you know
  • Send and receive messages without eating into your cell network messaging plan
Pitfalls:
  • Just like text messages, Kik is a private network that cannot be viewed online by others outside the network
Resources:

YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing service owned by Google. Users can upload videos they’ve taken on a mobile device or imported to their computer from a digital camera or web cam. Videos can be organized by tags, liked/disliked by other individuals, and comments can be posted on the videos by viewers. Users can create a full page of videos, called a “channel,” like a TV channel of their own personal videos.

Positives:
  • Share your videos with people you know or the whole world
  • Videos can be public or private
  • Videos can be made interactive by adding hyperlinks to them
  • Users can have a conversation about a video using the comments
  • Many users have posted how-to videos; so, YouTube has become a go-to source of learning tutorials
  • Connected to Google account, so no separate account required
Pitfalls:
  • YouTube history can be viewable, as well as other information about users, if privacy settings aren’t controlled
  • If comments are not regulated, negative remarks can be posted on a user’s video
  • Videos can be downloaded and saved by viewers
  • Owned by Google, so easily searchable and findable (if not private videos)
  • Copyright infringement for videos that share music without permission or ownership
Resources:

Digital Footprints

Students must be mindful of their digital footprint, their online reputation that also represents them (and can follow them) in offline life. All the connections and content sharing that takes place on various social media channels contributes to their digital footprint. Ultimately, we want students to use social media productively. Students can use it for finding great leads on scholarships, training or studying tips, and information about schools & jobs. Professional networking is greatly enhanced by social media these days, but can also work in a counterproductive way. If students don’t mind their digital footprint, school or job recruiters may be searching for them and find something unflattering. Students should keep in mind the image they want to convey to others; that way, when someone searches them, it’s positive!

Resources:
  1. Google Search – Type in your name to search what’s out there about you; next, put your name in quotes & try a second search
  2. Immersion – Email activity visualization
  3. Just Delete Me – Social media account deletion warehouse with information about the feasibility of deleting accounts
  4. Pipl – Comprehensive online people search
  5. Spezify – Social media content search tool
  6. Vizify – Visual biography of your web life
  7. Persona – Discover what makes up your web persona
  8. 12 Things Students Should Never Do On Social Media
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Gary is an influential teacher leader with extensive experience educating students at the high school and university level. He is a regular conference presenter, education speaker, and leader of staff development for educators. His classroom practice embraces a collaborative environment centered on constructivist teaching, project-based learning, classroom branding, Modeling Instruction, standards-based grading, and mobile device technologies.

About Gary G Abud Jr

Gary is an influential teacher leader with extensive experience educating students at the high school and university level. He is a regular conference presenter, education speaker, and leader of staff development for educators. His classroom practice embraces a collaborative environment centered on constructivist teaching, project-based learning, classroom branding, Modeling Instruction, standards-based grading, and mobile device technologies.