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The Social Networking Wiki

This wiki space is a repository for information regarding social networking and its relation to teaching and learning. The site is periodically updated by members of the Student Instructional Technology Assistant (SITA) Program and Center for Teaching. If you would like to contribute please contact for more information. Feel free to leave your comments below and help further the conversation about social networking.

Recent News

A New Book on Facebook (6/24/09) Details about a forthcoming book on Facebook. click here

An interview with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, on the Today Show (2/27/09). click here

Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use (2/17/09) Pressure from the public forces Facebook to backtrack on ToS click here

Social Networking Sites Terms of Service (2/16/09) An overview of Terms of Service (ToS) from major social networking sites: click here

Facebook's Users Ask Who Owns Information (2/16/09) New York Times article discussing Facebook's new terms of service: click here

How Not to Lose Face on Facebook, for Professors (2/6/09) Example of faculty issues using social networking: click here

On Networking Sites, Learning How Not to Share (1/28/09) Update on privacy and social networking: click here

The Facebook Virus Spreads (12/11/08). Article about the prevelence of virus through social networking sites: click here

The Admissions office finds Facebook (09/28/08). This article talks about schools using Facebook to seek applicants: click here

Universities look to new media as a way to target prospective students. (09/24/08). The article discusses universities using social networking sites (along with TV and print) to recruit students: click here

Facebook more effective than emergency services in a disaster. (04/30/08). This article talks about how Facebook and other social networking sites were more effective in warning people: click here ('more-effective-than-emergency-services-in-a-disaster'.html)

Confrontational students raise the stakes in online abuse (01/17/08). The article talks about students creating Facebook groups to crticize their professors: click here
Threads that twist the tangle (02/28/08). This is an update on the story of student Facebook groups (above): click here

Brave New World of Digital Intimacy (9/9/08) from New York Times. Article discusses the prevalence and expansion of social networking particularly Facebook - this is a particularly interesting piece: click here

Daily Iowan article about Facebook and Teaching Assistants (8/26/2008) click here

Second Life: Get CLE Credit in Your Underwear (07/15/2008). from Legal Pad, this article discusses a virtual bar association: click here

Facebook "study groups" (3/06/2008): Freshman student faces 147 charges of academic misconduct for running an online study group on Facebook: click here_For summaries of previous cases of _"Expulsions for Internet Misuse": click here
- Valdosta State Expels Student: Original news article on Oct. 2007 case: Read from para.8: click here
- JBU Expels Lone Openly Gay Student: Original news article on Jan. 2006 case: click here

Facebook and the 1st Amendment (03/21/2007). Newspaper article discussing Johns Hopkins response to a student's posting on Facebook: click here

Myspace Suicide Case (12/03/2007). CNN recap of the Megan Meier/Myspace suicide case: click here

What Is Social Networking?

Forget talking to people and making telephone calls and sending an email: posting on someone's wall is the best way to get their attention.

The new definition of social networking relates to the recent surge in websites allowing users to connect to other site members. Once thought to be a fad, social networking sites are now a fact of life. Just ask Microsoft who paid nearly a quarter of a billiondollars for a small stake in the social networking site Facebook.  Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both have social networking profiles.

Popular social networking sites include Facebook and MySpace. They allow people to network with friends, classmates, strangers, celebrities, teachers, and musicians. They can link to videos, blogs and more. They can play on-line games, competing against thousands of simultaneous users from around the world. Sites such as Facebook and MySpace are a culture onto themselves and the implications for educators are potentially rewarding while equally hazardous. Below are some fast facts to give you a snapshot on social networks.

Major Social Networking Sites:

  • Facebook: Originally conceived for college students to connect with others at their school providing a forum for the daily happenings of life; Facebook is now open to anyone with a valid email address and some reports state that over half of its users are not college students (Lyons, 2007). Facebook has over 1.5 billion page hits a day (Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe, 2007). Fourth most popular web site on Earth as of June 2009 (Schonfeld, 2009 )
  • Myspace: Similar to Facebook, this site boasts a community concept allowing for high user customization of their profile. Users can to share photos, blogs and connect to others who share a connection among/between users. MySpace also has expanded its network internationally to primarily European countries.
  • A bevy of comparable sites such as: Ning, Friendster, Cyworld, Xanga,Twitter,, and Linkedn along with more familiar names like Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, and AOL are competing with Facebook and MySpace for users.
  • MySpace, launched in August 2003, was once the largest global social network, boasting 72 million American users alone in July 2008.  In April, Facebook (36 million American users, but a larger international membership) caught MySpace, with each site averaging about 115 million global users. (Stelter, 2008)).
  • Social Networks are a hot commodity---and a major source of advertising and promotion. As mentioned above, Microsoft recently paid $240 million dollars for a 1.6% stake in Facebook. It is thought that Facebook may reach a value of $15 billion in the coming years. Similarity, News Corp. paid $580 million for Myspace in 2005 (Swartz & Acohido, 2007).
  • Social Networking sites are also dedicated for educators, such as ELGG. See the Social Networking 4CAST page for more articles discussing social networking sites designed specifically for educators.


Here are a few core terms relevant to social networking sites. A Facebook user's guide can be found here: click

Profile: Your biography. Gives basic facts about you, such as age, education, likes and dislikes, and anything else a user decides to communicate.

Friends: A "friend" takes on many definitions and dimensions with Facebook and Myspace. Generally, a friend could be a person you know and maybe friends with in real life, or simply an acquaintance from a class, or a friend of a friend who says the other friend is cool to hang with.

Wall: A place to write comments, or to post photos and videos. These comments can sometimes be filtered by the profile's owner. New iterations, such as Facebook's Superwall, allow for more creative postings.

Groups: a collection of individuals with similar interests. They can be academic (Association for the Study of Higher Education), political (Hawkeyes for Obama), athletic (In Kirk We Trust) and Trivial (any number of random matters such as favorite films to favorite types of Kool-Aid).

Poke: To notify someone in a aggressive/suggestive manner.

Stalking: Spending inordinate amounts of time viewing someone's profile in an effort to find out more about them, or in some cases, harass them.


An academic paper profiling the history of Social Networking (quite a good resource) click here
List of Social Networking sites on Wikipedia: click here
Article from Cornell University on Facebook, IT policy, and Law.
References used in this article: click here

Social Networking sites and Teaching

The Facebook Classroom: This article provides 25 Facebook Apps that can help students and teachers: click here

Stanford courses on Facebook Apps: Stanford offers Facebook application development course: click here
- Course Webpage: Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook 2008: click here(you may need a Facebook account to access)
- Course Syllabus: Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook 2008: click here(you may need a Facebook account to access)

- Course Webpage: Psychology of Facebook 2008: click here (you may need a Facebook account to access)
- Course Syllabus: Psychology of Facebook 2008: click here (you may need a Facebook account to access)

** NBC11 News: Facebook Course at Stanford: click here for YouTube clip

Podclass: fbFund recipient for application that enables teaching and learning online classes using Facebook:click here

Facebook on 60 Minutes (01/13/2008): Learn all about Facebook and creator: part 1, part 2

A Vision of Students Today (10/2007): A short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of college students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and how they relate to technologies: click here for YouTube clip

Webinars: How Higher Education Can Successfully Use MySpace, Facebook and YouTube (Planned, 10/2008): A web-seminar that discuss the 10 best and worst MySpace practices, and teach participants how they can successfully use MySpace to recruit new students and locate alumni that are actively using MySpace. Registration fee is $129: click here

The Impact of Social Networking on Higher Education (Robin Mason): click here for Q&A with Mason: click here for description of her presentation

Educause/ECAR 2008 Undergrad Students and IT Survey. Full pdf 124 pages or CH 6 Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Sites used by Universities

Colleges and Universities on Facebook: This Facebook site links university's official Facebook sites: click here
UC-Davis' official Facebook site: click here
UC-Davis' Education Abroad Facebook site: click here
University of New Mexico's official Facebook site: click here
Texas A&M Dining Services' offical Facebook site: click here

Social Networking Sites used by Big 10 Universities

University of Iowa:
Student Health plans to launch "Exercise Buddy Group" on Facebook: click here to see announcement
University of Iowa Libraries provide "smart search" from Facebook for UI students: click here

Indiana University:
Kelly School of Business has Facebook and Myspace page to help students stay "connected": click here

University of Michigan:
Students can search the library catalog from Facebook: click here

University of Illinois:
UIUC's library is seeking applicants who can create library-related Facebook applications: click here for job description

Michgan State University:
MSU library allows students to search JSTOR and WorldCat from Facebook: click here for applications

MSU museum Facebook page: click here (log-in required)

University of Minnesota:
None particularly found

Ohio State University:
OSU using many social network sites to interact with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans: click here

...this is an on-going research...stay tuned.

Social Networking related to University of Iowa's Policy

General Policies
Code of Student Life
CIOs office IT Policy & Procedure
UI Student busted for Facebook photo of dog in dorm room
UI ITS Web Best Practices-Facebook


Link to the wiki regarding Second Life on the SITA site: click here

UI faculty using Social Networking applications: click here

Compare the Facebook Terms of Use to the Principles

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