I have been on Facebook for as long as I can remember. It is where I connect with friends and family. It helps me keep track of birthdays and milestones. I know it tracks my posts because I get personalized ads & a memory pic every once and a while which usually makes me melt (even though it should concern me more than it does).
It HAS NOT been a place of learning. At least not until recently.
This despite the fact that George Couros and I, who have had lots of conversations about all things education over the years, challenged me to revisit my Facebook stance. I refused. I was perfectly happy keeping my personal personal on Facebook. I was content to have my Twitter account completely professional, my Facebook entirely personal, and Instagram, well, that was where I was going to try a hybrid. But that was then. Now I know better.
Your social media experience is shaped by who and what you follow and your purpose. What I was doing was not wrong; it’s a personal preference, and though the nature of what I share is sometimes different, who I am does not change depending on the platform I am on. I am just me.
I have spent so much time and energy trying to bring people to Twitter. And once they realize how incredible Twitter is, they do love it. But over the years, I have also heard people tell me that they just didn’t get it. That the format didn’t fit with their learning style.
Personally, I felt like the connections I had made on Twitter and the learning that I was getting there was more than enough. Besides, I had an incredible, supportive Voxer group too. How much learning could a gal do, after all?
It turns out, I had been missing out on tons! I can still use Facebook for my personal connections, but I can also belong to groups based on my specific interests. In some ways, it’s similar to following a hashtag on Twitter, but in a Facebook group, only members of the group can comment which means you won’t have strangers jumping into the hashtag with their own agenda.
A few groups you may find interesting
The IMMOOC Facebook group, based on the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC, co-moderated by Katie Martin and George Couros , was the first group I joined that was educational. There are lots of resources shared about leadership and Innovation by people that I don’t necessarily follow on Twitter and who are awesome.
The Breakout EDU Facebook group provides a flurry of ideas and constructive feedback for people using pre-made games and/or creating their own.
The Future Ready Librarians group (9591 members) and School Librarian’s Workshop (4850 members) are simply AMAZING! I literally put out a question and get dozens of ideas and feedback. This is true for almost every post. Both are very active and supportive groups. But really, how could they not be. Teacher-Librarians rock!
Here is what I’ve learned
(that many of you may have known for years).
- I don’t have to be Facebook friends with people to participate or be a member of the group (unless I want to)
- there is a difference between pages and groups
- Facebook pages are being used by more and more schools because that’s where parents (and grandparents according to one school principal) are.
- You can schedule a Facebook post in a group
- You can share in just about any form (including Flipgrid) you like and there are no character limits.
- Regardless of whether the group is public or private you still need to ask to join and need to be approved by a member (it can be any member).
- There are groups for literally any subject area you can imagine.
- Hootsuite is a platform that allows you to post to up to 3 social media accounts for free so I can share to Twitter, Facebook and Google + all at once.
If you tried Twitter and it just isn’t working for you, try a Facebook group. Once you play and learn there, consider the extent to which a Facebook page or group may work for your school or class!