What Is It?
Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to:
  • Create a profile detailing affiliations and interests
  • Post pictures and other media
  • Find and contact others with similar affiliations and interests
  • Expand a personal social network by various groups
Who Uses It?
Facebook began as a way for college students to find and meet each other based on college affiliation and other interests.  Recently, Facebook became an ‘open’ network (like mySpace and others), allowing anyone to create a profile and start joining groups with similar interests.  However, college students remain the core audience for Facebook, often using its various communication tools in place of email and IM.
How Does It Work?

Creating a Facebook account is fairly simple.  Once an account has been created, the user receives a blank “profile page”, which can then be edited and updated to include the following information: contact info, personal interests, education and background, work info, and picture(s).  Generally, the more complete the profile, the better chance the user has of being invited to join other groups and networks (since others with similar interests and characteristics will eventually find and link to the user based on what’s in the user’s profile).  Once the user is connected to “friends” (being people the user has given full profile access to), the user can post and reply to comments left by friends, update status and location, etc.

Uses as an Instructional Technology

Though not a traditional Content Management System (CMS) like Blackboard, Facebook could be considered a course tool in a broad sense, as it can accomplish many similar tasks, including the following:
Use it as a communication tool
  • Students and faculty can post messages to each other.
  • Students and faculty can update status
  • Students and faculty can update each other on projects using the “wall”
Use as a image sharing repository
  • Several add-on applications make it possible to use a Flickr account to show and share pictures
  • Facebook has its own small photo uploading and sharing application which can be made public or private
As a community-building activity
  • Faculty with Facebook profiles can let students know a bit more about themselves, their research and/or their personal interests
  • Faculty can learn more about students via their profiles, including more about their extended interests
  • 7 things you should know about Facebook

The content on this page was derived from webpages maintained by the Duke University Center for Instructional Technology