Facebook: A Resource for the Feminist Pedagogue

We offer the following overview as a resource for anyone interested in using Facebook thoughtfully for pedagogical or personal purposes. We hope to broaden the ways Facebook may be seen as useful by focusing on three ways to use each of the following tools: (1) Facebook status updates, (2) Facebook notes, and (3) Facebook pages. Our group also believes that Facebook can be a productive topic for individuals who do not or cannot participate on Facebook's site, and have accordingly included a brief section on how to use Facebook in the classroom even when some students don't have an account. Finally, we submit a compilation of online resources for the Feminist Pedagogue who is interested in further exploring the uses of Facebook.

How to use Facebook resources: Notes, Status Updates, and Pages

Description: A Facebook note is an application that allows you to share particular entries (written notes, videos, poetry, etc) with your Facebook friends and receive comments. The notes application allows you to "tag" specific friends to engage with your entries. Facebook friends can also tag themselves and tag other friends. When you are "tagged" you will receive notifications when others comments or edit their post. Another feature is that you can allow friends to publish your note on their wall to reach a broader audience. The notes application appears as a link on your wall as well as your friends' wall. Publishing a Facebook note is a great way to have community or private conversations with Facebook friends.
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Three ways to use notes:
1. Write a Facebook note when you want to engage specific friends to discuss or comment on a particular issues, questions, ideas. Then ask participants to bring these conversations in to the classroom, in an attempt to "open the doors" and be inclusive of diverse voices and experiences. Ask friends to tag other friends to join the conversation. Once tagged, friends can also post the note on their Facebook wall to invite their own set of friends to the conversation. Encourage friends to report back and comment on the original note once the note is discussed in the respective classrooms. This way all your Facebook friends can read about how the respective class discussions went even when they were not there!

2. Use Facebook notes to get feedback from friends on a work in progress, to share your creative work, poetry, videos, pictures, basically anything. Ask friends to engage with and contribute to specific parts of your work. This can be especially helpful if you want to get feedback on your writing from several friends at once. Because of the potential for large numbers of diverse friends, this can be a great way build community and support one another's work.

3. Use Facebook notes to share info on books of interest, create and coordinate a writing circle or reading group. Tag friends that may want to join and begin compiling a list of books that you may want to read. The entire Facebook reading group or writing can be done through Facebook! This way you can include friends that may live all over the world! "Meet" weekly on Facebook to discuss book of interest, post questions and or comments.

Description: A facebook status is a place where you can post a message for all your friends to read. This tool was originally intended to allow you to inform your friends of your current "status" particularly how you are feeling, where you are at or what you are doing. Facebook prompted the status update with "Username is ..." and each person would fill in the blank. This however has changed overtime. Now the facebook status prompt is in the form of a question that states, "What's on your mind?"

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Three ways to use status updates:
1. Schedule facebook messages ahead of time so you can send messages to your facebook network in the future by using either: sendible.com or hootsuite.com. All you need to do is register, connect your facebook account, type in your status update and then choose scheduling options.

2. One of most popular features in facebook is tagging. In your status update you can tag people by including the "@" symbol before a friends name. This way you can identify and reference specific people and it will be linked directly to their facebook page.

3. Another important feature of facebook is the uploading of links or videos as a part of your facebook status. It is now very common when reading online newspapers or watching online videos for you to see the options to "share" a link or video through various social media sites. If you choose to share it through facebook the link or video will automatically be superimposed in your facebook status where you can include a little blurb or anecdote about why you are sharing this link with the facebook world.

Description: Facebook pages can be created by any user and are designated as either a "community" or "official" page, where there latter typically represents the official Facebook presence of a public figure or business. Community pages allow Facebook users with a common interest to organize in a central Facebook location and participate in various ways. The Facebook page is very similar to the profile page of a user (an info page, wall, photos, notes, etc), but is collaboratively created and maintained by its administrators and users. One can also create a Facebook group, more on the differences between Facebook pages and groups here.

Below is an example of Feministing.com's Facebook page:
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Three ways to use pages:
1. Use a Facebook page to increase the visibility of a project or initiative. A facebook page can easily represent and promote a non-Facebook online resource, such as our feminist pedagogies blog. Similarly you can promote participation and interest in a project on its formal webpage by linking to a Facebook page. Because Facebook is such a powerful social networking tool, if an individual searches your project's name from a search engine (Google, for example) Facebook pages are typically listed first in search results. Using a Facebook page and its marketing options (see photo below) to represent a non-Facebook initiative is an easy way to connect interested users, increase visibility, maintain online presence, and promote user-centered participation.

Marketing Options:
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2. A Facebook page can also exist as the sole source of connection for a project or discussion, especially those that may be temporally limited (such as an awareness walkathon or semester reading group). Using a page this way can generate immediate interest, offer information, be linked to in emails, and function as a temporary site of organization. A page also allows users with similar interests to network and maintain a communicative relationship through Facebook's other functions.

3. A Facebook page can also be used to connect people privately, as a page can be customized in several ways. Participating on a "private" page allows a small group of users to interact with only each other in an open forum, connecting and cataloguing discussions easily. Page users can upload photos, post status updates from their phones, add videos, post links, and interact as a group privately. For example, if our class wished to continue having personal discussions about troubling teaching moments, or experience of silencing, we could do so on a private page where no other user could participate unless we allow them to join. This is especially useful for a group of individuals who may not have access to a blog, forum community, or real-life group of similarly interested people. A private page may allow users to connect in more personal ways.

Page Privacy Options:
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Why don't you have a Facebook account?
Well, there are different reasons for that... Resistance, 'philosophical' opposition, lack of time and interested, and so on. However, with the growing impact of social media on our lives, maybe those students who doesn't have an account could be help us to interrogate/ consider / embrace / resist/ acknowledge or reject the usefulness of this resource in our feminist classrooms. So, how those students who don't have an account can help us to understand the applicability of it in the context of academic relationships?

How to use Facebook in the classroom even when some students don't have an account:
One way is to stimulate the discussion about the limitations and the value of Facebook in broadening the discussions in classroom. Check out this activity.
This is a good example of how use Facebook in a classroom, engaging even those students who don't have an account. It is important to highlight that the different perspectives and insights brought by using Facebook can be helpful even for those ones who don't engage in this type of social media. "To open the doors of the classroom and expand participation" is beneficial for everybody!
During the discussion, try to stimulate the students to think critically about the usefulness of this social media. What did we gain using it? Is this gain "unique"? In which sense? What (if any) did we lose? Hopefully, those questions will help us to further the discussion of critically engaging with social media in feminist classrooms.

From our syllabus:

Online Resources:

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