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Stop Creeping On Me: How do Humber public relations students' notions of online privacy influence their use of social networking sites for academic and business purposes?
Andrea Tavchar, MA , Humber College
Today's young people are heralded as 'digital natives', native speakers of digital technology. Yet, these 'digitally native' students exhibit tension when using social media academically. Although familiar with Facebook, relatively few of my college-level public relations students ventured beyond this application to discover Twitter, LinkedIn or to blog. Keeping in touch with friends was their primary interest. They demonstrated resistance at using social media, perceived by them as a 'private' social tool, for academic or business purposes. This research project set out to determine how public relations students' notion of online privacy influenced their use of social networking sites for academic and business purposes.
The research conducted at a college in the summer of 2010 suggested that "public" and "private" may not be the most suitable distinctions of social media use. A better definition emerged that differentiated between "living technologies" (Kennedy, et. al.) to describe social-entertainment uses of Facebook and "learning technologies" (Kennedy, et. al.) such as Twitter.
Although labeled 'digital natives' because of their skills with living technologies, young people find that these skills are not necessarily valorized in the classroom or the workplace. This presentation addresses the notion that today's young people are not born speaking the language of learning technologies and that they need to be taught. I would like to demonstrate that this is one of the pressing learning innovations required in the connected 21st century world.
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