Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Facebook Pictures

Several teachers have recently claimed to have got into trouble as a result of their pictures posted on Facebook.

Do we really think that Heads have nothing better to do all day than trawl through Facebook looking for compromising pictures of their staff?

Well I certainly would in some cases but in others I'd just print them off and hang them in my window to frighten off burglars.

Whilst I have doubts about how true some of these reports are, I do think that many people are extremely naive when they publish pictures and details of their private life on the internet (once they are on they are pretty much there for good and can still be found a long time after you remove them). I sometimes forget that if you are under 25, you probably barely remember a time without the internet, so its familiarity brings a certain openness and nonchalance, without all the suspicions that cynical old gits like me have.

The other problem of course, is that you can be 'tagged' in a photograph that was taken and posted by someone else without your knowledge. A simple search can then find these pictures.

I've no idea how effective 'privacy settings' are, but I think I'd find out if I were a regular Facebook user.


Anonymous said...

There was a time when the status of teachers in the community was second only to doctors. It was way above that of lawyers, but that's still the case, thinking about it. Anyway, in those days a teacher's reputation was something to be treasured and protected, and allowing holiday snaps into the public domain would never have been contemplated.

Don said...

I don't personally like Facebook and I wouldn't use it. But there have been instances of prospective employers trawling it through to find out about job applicants.

The underlying point is that once you start posting anything about yourself on the internet - pictures, blogs or whatever - you effectively surrender control over who sees it and what they do with it.

You can try and mask anything really dodgy by using different User IDs, but that only deters casual accidental associations: it won't stop anyone who's curious enough.

Anonymous said...

As a former chair of governors the advice I would give to any teacher is not to go anywhere near Facebook, or any similar social networking site. The children in your schools are all under 25 and most of them are far more able to navigate the internet and find things out about you, than you are. In one case I dealt with it wasn't the head who complained about what one particular teacher had posted, but a parent, who had been shown it by his child. I don't think the head had ever looked at Facebook till we both had to start disciplinary procedures. Stick to emailing your friends, or better still write to them from time to time.

Lilyofthefield said...

I use a variety of IDs for publishing my actual opinions and experiences. I have crossed swords with regualr posters from time to time and sure enough, one of them turned out to be mental enough to work out from the elctoral roll and Google Earth where I lived and my name (wrongly, fortunately) and the school I was most probably referring to.
Nutters abound.

Anonymous said...

"As a former chair of governors the advice I would give to any teacher is not to go anywhere near Facebook, or any similar social networking site."

I find this to be an offensive, intrusive and over general remark made to judge and condemn teachers. I use facebook to keep in contact with my friends who live around the country, I don't mention work in my status updates and my photos are general ones of me on holiday. I take it then that teachers are not allowed to keep in contact with friends, are to be excluded from the rest of modern society and that it is ok for students to trawl the internet looking for teachers in order to make malicious accusations?

Perhaps it would be more useful to introduce a set of guidelines for teachers' use of social networking sites with clear boundaries set as to what is acceptable and unacceptable rather than treating teachers as if they have no civil rights at all?

Also, as you are yourself posting on a social networking site, you are assuming that it is ok for you to do it but not for teachers?

I also have an issue with students who stalk teachers, harass and bully teachers via the internet - it happens, I've seen it. But apparently, that's ok, after all, we are only teachers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous teacher, it is only advice, you don't have to take it. Our teacher thought his privacy was secure, turns out it wasn't. Surely once we have guidelines not following them becomes potentially problematic and even more intrusive then my firendly advice.