A day without facebook is like a day without ... air? bread? water?

IYes, I spend a LOT of time on social media. That one site in particular, especially as I serve as administrator for a few different teacher groups. While the young 'uns that I teach seem to have completely abandonned the site in favour of Instagram, and other distractions, for educators, there's really a ton of awesome collaboration and community-minded sharing and support that goes on. If you're planning to partake for the first time or have recently started, here are a few pitfalls to avoid in creating your new and exciting online presence.

1 - Don't make yourself look lazy
If you need to know something that you should probably type into a search engine instead of into a teacher forum, do that. If you need a hand with something, say so, but give your colleagues a little context or a starting point to show you aren't just asking for someone to do your job for you while you lie on the beach during March Break or enjoy a weekend night out with your pals. This is especially true for those taking an AQ course (Additional Qualification - a program of a set number of hours which will give participants the accreditation to teach a particular subject, support students in a particular way, or teach a set division of grades). Please do your own course work. Otherwise, in no true way will YOU be prepared to do what you will need to do in your potential yet. But really it applies to all, especially if it becomes the way you operate.

2 - Don't share a link without saying a little something about why.
If the image posted makes it perfectly obvious, acting like a kind of a headline, no problem. Otherwise tell me why I should click. Should I expect to be angered? inspired? Is it a must-have resource?

3 - Don't post "I hope this is ok. Admins, please delete if not".
Ask first if you're unsure. Or just don't post it.

4 - Learn how to follow a thread you are interested in 
... without typing "Following" (or asterisks, just the letter "f" or a period!)  There is a way to follow on every device and platform in facebook. Here's a little tip sheet I put together with help from said amazing collaborators, to help newbies figure this one out. Why does it matter? If someone posts a question, they really don't need to be notified ten times that someone else has the same question, or is curious about what others will reply... they actually want a reply. Also, people within a group may end up getting a ton of extra, unnecessary notifications.... this includes any administrators who are spending loads of time screening certain types of content.

In the same vein, that includes...

5 - Don't "share" a post to your own wall from a secret or closed group.
If a group is secret or closed, it's so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can drop by and read what is posted. Be respectful of that. Don't share elsewhere without consent, even to your own wall... your Aunt Esther really doesn't want to know about the latest classroom management techniques.

6 - Make sure your profile represents you in a positive way. 
Manage your own digital footprint!  This means if every photo of you is in your bikini, drinking a Corona on the beach, first, I'm a bit jealous and second, what would your employer ... or worse, potential employer... say about that?

7 - Share your own original content and ideas, not copyright-protected material.
Enough said on that one, right? It's not cool... illegal even, in the photocopy room... also illegal online.

8 - Don't assume the culture, norms & rules are the same everywhere on facebook.
Groups, pages, and communities are made up of people. Different people, different opinions, different perspectives or agreements on what is acceptable. Be sure to read the group description, and pinned posts, and maybe even hang around a little while to see how things work. (Back in the old internet chat room days, we used to call that "lurking"!  Now that term sounds a little creepy to me, but it's still a good principal... don't just burst into a room and start shouting stuff for everyone in there to hear, without knowing what conversations have already gone on just before you arrived.) See the tip above about not just asking for forgiveness... this is one case where it's actually better to ask first.

9 - Don't toot your own horn pretending you're not.
You know who you are... if you can live with yourself, that's awesome for you, but just think about how many people you'll truly turn against you when they figure out they've been had. Only very strange people talk about themselves in the third person... "THEY" is never a correct pronoun to use when one is speaking of one's own business ventures. If you tutor, own up to it. If you offer a service, be up front about that. You have a TPT store? Great - so do I. Don't pretend the material in it is great because some one made it. Go ahead and say that you made it to meet the learning needs you found you couldn't meet otherwise!

10 - Don't talk about your principal, colleagues, students or others in a way you wouldn't if they were right there.
Even in a private or closed group, or in a private message with someone you THINK is a friend, the online world can be tricky. Screen shots, direct quotes and even just nasty rumours can put you in a very uncomfortable place. Know that you can stand by your words AND your deeds.