I began to use Facebook as another way to keep in touch with friends, family, and collegues and I really have fun participating. However, recently I have found that my network has grown in ways that I'm not feeling as comfortable with and I may need to make some changes. It goes along with the idea of including our students as "friends". Social networking has blurred the line between aquaintence and friend. Friends who I am able to visit with and who know me well enough to be understanding when I have a bad day, laugh when I crack a joke, or just "talk" in a casual tone together are different than those people who are aquaintences. Aquaintences are people I haven't kept up with over the years, don't know well yet, or feel I need to maintain a more guarded relationship with-students and their families. I wish social networks created various levels to include people in instead of just accept or decline. Since they don't, I may need to migrate to more than one account so I can separate the groups.
I tried Twitter just to see what was going on...and I too don't care when someone is eating or other too personal details to mention in my opnion. However, at the encouragement of our library director I have been spending time exploring special people, groups, and interest and am finding wonderful resources. I can see this as a great tool for students to learn from specialist in content they are researching or have an interest in. Our son use to tell us he didn't need to go to college because if he needed to learn something for his job he could just go straight to the pros to learn what he needed. Well I tend to agree it is a wonderful way to learn and broaden our horizons to learning. Although, that piece of paper you get when you graduate from college makes finding the good jobs easier-as he found out!
Back-channeling is still new to me but I have tried it whenever I have had the opportunity. I think it could be used for staff/student trainings as a way to answer those questions some people just can't wait to ask during presentations or trainings. I think it could help eliminate that talk that gets meetings and class off task and help keep us on schedule.