The Advantages and Disadvantages of using Facebook in your Campus Recreation Programs

April 05, 2011

Alison Epperson, Coordinator Campus Recreation
Murray State University

Ultimately, it will be up to each individual Institution as to whether or not to utilize Facebook in your program. However, here are some thoughts to keep in mind when making your decision:

– Many college students now rely more on Facebook for communication as opposed to emails
– Individual “Groups” can be set up for specific areas of your department, i.e. “Lifeguards,” “Supervisors,” “Officials,” etc.
– Access to Nationwide groups such as the “I was / am an Intramural Supervisor” can be helpful for your staff to see that certain policies and procedures are not exclusive to your program (which they tend to believe and fault the Director for making their participation more difficult) as well as an outlet to share funny and common stories about the general laziness and ignorance of our participants.
– Advertising on Facebook reaches an extremely large target population.
– It’s easy to monitor what your immediate students (your staff, sport clubs and participants) are doing, as well as the campus and community culture.
– That being said, if you are hoping to find ‘dirt’ on your participants (for example, your sport clubs that you suspected were hazing), it will not take long for pictures to surface. Students LOVE to show off and will inevitably ‘brag’ about a weekend trip, tournament, or even an unsupervised home game.
– There are a large number of Professional Staff that are on Facebook, which can offer an outlet for resources, personal experiences, networking and good ‘clean’ fun

– Facebook is not for you if you are a firm believer in ‘ignorance is bliss’. By joining Facebook and accepting friends you will at some point in time come across something that you did not want to know about.
– Facebook can be a trap if you are even the slightest bit curious. It would be easy for a young profession (especially one that might be a recent graduate) to cross the line and find themselves exposing too much information, either personally or about your department. For example, you have an important discussion in a staff meeting posting comments on friends “Wall”, which can be viewed by several other people
– Being mindful and aware of your social engagements. As much as you think you have a right to your own privacy and outside of work activities, students typically enjoy seeing professional staff outside of their work routine and if there is a camera nearby, they’ll be quick to snap up evidence that you do indeed have a social life outside of work. What you may consider to be perfectly normal dinner out with your friends or family could quickly end up ‘tagged’(meaning your picture with your name attached) and shared for the Facebook world to see as a wild night out on the town.

Whichever way you decide to go, it’s always best to determine your University’s policy on Facebook participation first.

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