Professional Development: My Philosophy of Social Media for Online Education

My current adventure in professional development has me exploring social media and its educational benefits. As such, I am sharing my philosophy of social media for online education. It is as follows.

Social media can increase social capital.

Social media is a way to connect students with the broader context of the world. Education should not just encompass the theoretical perspective of a profession’s foundational concepts. During their education, students should connect with the professional community that they would like to join. This ability to connect reflects a student’s social capital. Social capital can be essential for developing, maintaining, and growing a career. Social capitalist theorists have indicated that social media is a means for developing and utilizing connections for career advancement (Benson, Morgan, & Filippaios, 2014). To this end, I believe it is beneficial for students to be proactive by practicing the effective use of social media for branding their identities.

The use of social media is an information literacy skill.

I teach librarians. I can also take this a step further. I also teach educators. My students are school librarians or they may be academic librarians. This depends on the courses that I am teaching or a students’ desire to take my instructional design course.

Many librarians are educators; whether they choose to believe this or not. We offer programs that educate our stakeholders. Being an educator means one has the responsibility of updating their skills.

Recently, I read an article by Vanwynsberghe, Vanderlinde, Georges, and Verdegem (2015) that reported the results of a study that examined public librarians’ readiness for using social media to promote library services. They determined that the use of social media is an information literacy skill that is needed for exhibiting best practices in libraries.  Hence it is suggested that social media is a competency that all librarians need to master.

Social media has educational benefits. However, it must be used carefully.

Gurcan (2015) notes that the benefits of social media for education include:

  • A cost-effective option for communication
  • A decrease in isolation
  • The development of tolerance and cultural understanding
  • The expansion the classroom beyond the physical environment

Still, when freedom of speech occurs online, it has a much broader audience. If social media is to be used with students, there should be a clear policy about what constitutes acceptable behavior. Instructors need to lead by example. Students need to understand that they have a digital footprint that cannot be erased. Yet, if used properly for branding, exhibiting skills, and benefiting from common knowledge, social media presents students and educators with vast opportunities. What are your thoughts on using social media for online education?


Benson, V., Morgan, S., & Filippaios, F. (2014). Social career management: Social media and employability skills gap. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 519-525.

Gurcan, H. I. (2015). Contribution of social media to the students’ academic development. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5(12), 965-968.

Vanwynsberghe, H., Vanderlinde, R., Georges, A., & Verdegem, P. (2015). The librarian 2.0: Identifying a typology of librarians’ social media literacy. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 47(4), 283-293.


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