Future directions for social networking in PSE

According to Ana M. Martínez Alemán of Boston College, co-author of Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture, higher levels of integration of social networking services (SNS) in post-secondary education are just around the corner:

SNS will become an instructional tool soon. Facebook has already partnered with a course management system; some faculty have begun to use Facebook groups to foster peer learning, conduct group projects, etc. Computer mediated communication technologies have already made it necessary for academic faculty to modify or simply transfer traditional modes and norms of real-life academic and pedagogical communication online. It’s just a matter of time before we see a SNS as a “classroom” experience.

Among students, SNS communication has already graduated with them i.e. it has become part of their alumni relations, part of their socialization as new professional external to the campus, part of their socialization as young adults heading into graduate school, forming permanent relationships, and becoming parents. As developmental as their Facebook use was to them as college students, so is their use after college. Profession, graduate schooling, and adult relationships already typify their use. Class reunions are now mediated and planned on Facebook and don’t just happen once or every five years.