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Polishing the Student's Image on Facebook Timeline

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Facebook and schools have been on a collision course, and especially in the past week, the media has spotlighted the tension between the social media site and its relationship with students and teachers.

In the meantime, Lisa Nielsen, who works for the New York City Department of Education teaching teachers how to use technology in innovative ways, has come up with a list of ways for teachers who aren't bound by school rules to take advantage of Facebook's new Timeline feature.

By Lisa Nielsen

Timeline provides an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place. It is a tremendous resource for any school admission counselor or human resource executive interested in seeing if a candidate is a good match. It's the job of today's innovative educator to ensure their students know how to create an online image that will lead to the school or job of their dreams.

Five Ideas for Getting Your Students Started with Facebook Timeline

  1. Know your brand. Everything you post online says something about you. Ensure that is a message you want to convey.
  2. Fix mistakes. Sometimes something is shared that does not represent our best selves to the world. If this happens, Timeline will let you hide the story, post, or picture shared by you or someone else.
  3. Celebrate what you are proud of. Was there something that occurred that you are especially proud of and really represents the image you want to convey? If so, Timeline lets you feature it and star your favorites to double its size.
  4. Imagine yourself as a historical figure. We know that social media is a tool necessary for success in many fields. For instance, if our students choose to run for office, they'll need social media savvy and a respectable digital footprint. It is reasonable in fact that any student today could become a historical figure in the future. Ask your students to think about themselves as future historical figures and contemplate what their timeline says about the young version of who they are to become.
  5. Tell your story. Have your students think deliberately about their Timeline from the perspective of an autobiography that would be attractive to those considering them as candidates for college and career. Have them actually write an autobiography selling themselves by pointing out important milestones on their timeline that would make them desirable to those considering them for employment or acceptance into their program. You could extend this activity by having students write the biography of a classmate to see how they are perceived by others.
  6. Fill in the blanks. As students think critically about their image, they may realize that important parts of their story aren't included on their Timeline. No problem. They can go back to when they happened and add them.


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