It’s a conversation that begins with propriety and manners, moves into legalese and institutional policy, and ends up with moralizing. What should or shouldn’t professors (and other college instructors) say about their students on Facebook (or other social media)? I am less interested in the answers to that question than I am in the ways that our attempts to answer reveal something about what faculty understand the rhetorical space of social media to be. For some reason I’ve seen this conversation in a variety of places of late, including the writing program administrators listserv. There are really three basic positions:

  • abstinence: faculty shouldn’t remark about their students
  • positive-only: faculty should only say nice things about their students
  • in private: faculty who complain should severely limit access to those posts

That last position is really conciliatory (no one really thinks there is such a thing as “private” on facebook) but it recognizes the fourth, unrecommended position: to just fire away on facebook. More...