Engaging Sociologically with Students’ Facebook Usage

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  1. Bet h L Dougherty says:

    Teaching a Science, Technology and Society course, I’ve found that there are a lot of ways that students can come to grips with sociological concepts using new social media as an example. As Amber Case pointed out in a TED lecture (that my students watched) it’s a key example of “frontstage/backstage” performance. Incorporating that into the class has been challenging but also fun, and I think the students appreciate that we’re talking about complex ideas in reference to things they are very familiar with. Beyond that, it’s a fantastic example of Cyborg life, a way of studing the shifts in social movement organization (#OWS and the Arab Spring), and a good way of discussing the panopticon. However, it’s tricky, when they’re undertaking research, to assess their sources, as there’s not a reliable way of verifying and citing aside from making them save screen captures of each post they reference, which might violate confidentiality.

    Any ideas about how to incorporate Facebook as a reliable source for undergraduate research would be appreciated.

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