Social Networks: Man on the Palm

Margaret Sargsyan

Much has been spoken and written about social networks, its usefulness and harms.  Nothing can be stated definitely: everyone himself or herself decides whether or not to join social networks, how much time to spend on social networking sites, who to interact with, what to read. It is a broad topic that can constantly be elaborated.

However, there is a "but"... Employee's social position, his or her public stance cannot but impose certain norms, certain boundaries and friendships. This is the unwritten media law of our new times, which we have to respect. All public figures follow this media law; making media opportunities serve their own goals, their own benefits.

Our page of the social networks tells about us. We'd want it to tell the amount and in the way we'd want it to present us, but sometimes our followers see more. Often, we would even want to say more, but certain circumstances oblige us to be more discreet.

Let us talk about teachers. Should their workplace, their specialty be mentioned? I guess they should be, as they strengthen a person's status, making him/her more reliable, tangible. It is also a positive thing for teachers to be active on social networks, confident and independent, active in social and political discussions. However, here also there is a "but" ...

In my opinion, some norms should not be broken. What is meant by "it is not acceptable?» One can ask and express annoyance saying media space is personal, that one's freedom of actions is allotted by social networks, and social networks are not official sites, and one has other relations with other members on the social network sites, etc..Of course everyone is free, but freedom is limited, as everywhere else, where may coexist another person.

Teachers represent the organization where they work, have friends from the parent/student community on social sites. The teacher is a public figure, whom they follow, imitate, cite, and criticize. And it is an undisputable fact that on the social site a man is in the palm, protected and not protected at the same time.

I have tried to list a few of the acceptable or non-acceptable public behaviors of the individual/teacher on social network sites. The list can be continued, one can agree with it or not, but it is worth following. In this way, the user will be more protected and respected in the social media space and will be able to present oneself and the name of the institution where he/she works.

  • We are Armenian teachers and we mustn’t write Armenian in Latin alphabet. One cannot work in an educational organization and make Armenian notes in Latin alphabet.
  • We mustn’t write with spelling and grammar mistakes. One should mind his/her own language, both written and oral.
  • We mustn’t publish a post with vulgar and  inappropriate speech or behavior content on our page, or share such topics without realizing that our students view your posts.
  • We should agree that we cannot  make announcements of principles, advocate  certain lifestyle and cultural beliefs yet, on the social sites, show contradictory personal life examples that differ from the ones displayed at school.

It is advised that we should avoid publishing semi-naked photos of stressed cuts, videos that are of intimate content and extremely personal.... We are being followed...Teachers impose taste and style not only at school, but also in life...

Everyone himself/herself decides whether or not to publish posts related to his/her work. Social network is a personal space, where an individual may as well decide not be active, or simply not to post materials related to work. But in the case of a teacher, in this way his/her work gets publicized, evaluated and through those posts constant communication with students and parents is established.

In the case of the teacher involved in the author educational program, this is a way to disseminate the developed own author program, as well as that of the colleagues, and the outcomes of creative work.

The social network user who decides to publish a work-related post, or attract the attention of his friends or other beneficiaries to a material by sharing it on a social site, needs to be careful towards his publications. That is: choosing the material, interpreting it, including a text or a quotation so that the post becomes clear, perceivable to the people he shares posts with. It is advisable that our Educomplex blogger teachers publish not just the Youtube link, but the link to the main page of the Educomplex site, or the link to its subpages or to that of the teacher or student’s blog. In this way we will make the publication more serious and more visible for all those interested.

The teacher-user on social network sites, has all the rights that the others have: they can argue, disagree, block posts, express opinions, not to answer... but their speech and silence will both be evaluated by the social network users who may be his/her students and their parents.

Teaching is a modest and refined profession. It is wonderful that it is so.




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