Social Networking

Social Networking/Social Media

What is It?

Social media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Similarly, social networking involves connecting online users who have a common interest, whether social or academic, in an environment that facilitates online discussion and resource sharing.

In education, social networks can be created around academic topics, events, or specific group projects for a course. Social networks help the instructor facilitate a sense of community among class members or groups that can help foster learning and discovery. In addition, discipline specific social networks can connect researchers from around the world working in particular areas.

How Can I Use It in Teaching?

  • Share relevant information and current events with their students
  • Promote discussion and student engagement outside of the classroom

Where Can I Get Support?

Link to Tufts Support Page

Recommended Products


Ning is an online social network that allows users to create their own network or join and participate in other networks. Ning lets creators design their own site’s appearance and set their site to public or private. Groups of users use Ning to post events, share information via forums or blogs, and post resources. Ning provides a lot more power in deciding functionality of the site than FaceBook, and also provides a neutral space where faculty and students can interact without intruding into what is viewed as a more personal social space on Facebook. No technical skills are needed to set up a site.

Ning Tutorial (video)


Facebook is considered the leading social networking site and is designed to enhance connections between users online. Facebook allows users to create profiles that include interests, images, and video and to connect or “friend” people they know, or people with similar interests. In education, Facebook is primarily being used as a communication or community building tool. Some faculty use Facebook as an extension of their office hours with easy links to information about them, when they are available, and Instant Messaging and Email links. Because Facebook is used primarily as a social tool, faculty who use it in their teaching frequently set up separate profile pages in order to connect to students in their professional capacity as instructors. Students can be encouraged to connect with their classmates and professors via Facebook, but are asked to set privacy settings so that only non-personal information is shared with those in their course.

Facebook 101 (text and videos)

Technology Tufts Supported Learning Curve Costs Associated Requirements to Run
Ning N Easy $ Computer with Internet Connection
Facebook N Easy 0 Computer with Internet Connection
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.