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    USA Today: Faculty on Facebook: Privacy concerns raised by suspension

    USA Today reports on privacy and social-networking site Facebook:

    Whether it’s avoiding bars frequented by students or politely declining the occasional social invitation, professors often make an extra effort to establish boundaries with their students. But social networking sites, which are often more public than they may appear, are lifting the veil on the private lives of professors in ways they may not have expected. […]

    Colleges have for years been warning students to keep their Facebook and Myspace pages free of embarrassing photos or writings, but a more recent phenomenon is the emergence of concrete policies governing how faculty and other employees use social media. DePaul University and Ball State University, for instance, both have approved social media policies, and Ball State’s specifically notes that social media sites “blur the lines between personal voice and institutional voice.”

    “Privacy does not exist in the world of social media,” Ball State’s policy says. “Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the university.” […]

    Faculty may make efforts to preserve their private lives, but professors really have “24-7” jobs and can never fully distance themselves from their identities as educators held to high standards, said Brad Ward, who advises colleges on using social media.

    “Anybody who is representing an institution is an extension of that brand,” said Ward, chief executive officer of BlueFuego. “Everyone should be aware at this point that what you put on the Internet isn’t always private.”

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