Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Facebook?

Facebook is not something to fear; it is simply another way to build professional relationships.

By Cary Marshall

Tip: To follow AASA on Facebook, go to
login and click on “Become a Fan” at the top of the page!

For those who did not grow up using computers, Internet and e-mail, the concept of now-ubiquitous social media may be a bit difficult to grasp. Questions abound, from a skeptical “what’s so great about it?” to a quizzical “how does it even work?” Well, in this article, we’d like to give answers to both these questions. Instead of discussing the wide range of social networking sites available, however, we’d like to focus on one especially representative, and AASA employed, example: Facebook.

What is Facebook?

Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not just a site on which teenagers and young adults gab with their friends and post pictures of their new puppies or beach weekends. Begun in 2004, Facebook is a free-access social networking site whose mission is, according to their website, “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Sounds pretty good, right? It is!

Why should I use Facebook?

More and more, Facebook is being utilized by professionals to network and by businesses and associations to reach broader audiences across the globe that have a vested interest in their goals and missions. Because Facebook has approximately 200 million users (of which, according to one report, over half are out of college), joining Facebook allows an AASA member easy access to a wide range of contacts, including those whom they might otherwise not be able to reach. It also provides a common medium through which pertinent issues and concerns can be presented or discussed. Moreover, the AASA Facebook page is brimming with must-read and -see breaking news, press releases, informative videos, fascinating and provocative discussions, and so much more. To remain a non-member is to remain ignorant of many of AASA’s most exciting developments and information.

How do I use Facebook?

Don’t worry—this part is easy! First, go to www.facebook.com, and right away you will see, on the right side of the page, an invitation to join. By simply entering your first and last name, your e-mail address, and a password, along with your date of birth (no, not because they are nosy about your age, but so that they can “encourage authenticity and provide only age-appropriate access to content,” a very good thing!), you can become a member of Facebook. Once you become a member, you can create your own “profile,” on which you can put either as much or as little information about yourself as you desire.

Don’t be concerned about students or colleagues seeing information you might not be comfortable sharing with them. You can create "friend lists" to create different privacy levels for different groups of your friends. (See http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=768 to learn how to do this.) You can also use Facebook’s Privacy Settings tab, found under the Settings tab at the top right of any Facebook page to control who sees what information. After you click on the Privacy Settings tab, click on Profile, Search, News Feed and Wall or Applications to adjust what’s visible, whether it be pictures, friends, your Facebook “wall” or whatever you feel the need to keep private.


How can I view the AASA Facebook page?

After creating a Facebook account, be sure to become a “fan,” or follower, of AASA’s Facebook page! Simply go to www.facebook.com/AASApage and click on “Become a Fan” at the top of the page.

Facebook is not something to fear; it is simply another way to build professional relationships. Joining Facebook won’t replace the way you network now, but it can certainly act as a supplement, and can broaden the contact you have with other school leaders who share your interests. And what could be bad about that?

Cary Marshall is a publications intern at AASA.