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Civil Discourse in the Age of Social Media

Posted by reyjunco on October 29, 2010 in Research |

For centuries, issues of civil discourse only arose concerning written and oral communication. But now, new technologies for communication and social interaction, particularly social media, have dramatically expanded the potential for human interaction. They generate significant challenges for institutional policies and practices to encourage and sustain civil discourse for the critical social and personal issues we and our students face. To address this challenge, we review emerging trends in social media, discuss problems that arise with their use, and provide recommendations for helping students use social media in civil and productive ways.

Read more:
Junco, R. & Chickering, A. W. (2010, September/October). Civil discourse in the age of social media. About Campus, 15(4), 12-18

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  • DevonAnderson

    Excellent article, and I couldn’t agree with you more on everything you said. I believe that with social media, it is very hard to decipher tone and intent behind wording, and until they develop a “sarcasm” or “serious” font, it will continue to be next to impossible to do so.

    As a grad student in Higher Education who hopes to work in student affairs, I applaud your pointing out that student affairs professionals really need to have the conversation about responsible social media use to students in the campus environment. I noticed you said that it would only take a few minutes for that conversation to be held, and I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit on how, ideally, that conversation would occur? Would the information be planned out in a print, manual form? Would it be distributed in a webinar? A seminar? A class for students to take throughout their studies? I’m always interested in new ideas of communicating information to students, and would love to know your take on this one. :)

    Thanks!

  • reyjunco

    @DevonAnderson I think that the conversation can occur in any of the ways you mentioned. Additionally, since student affairs professionals have a great deal of face time with students, these conversations can be held during the course of other types of contact with students. For instance, an RD can make sure to check in with residents about community expectations for online behavior individually and also during hall meetings.

  • Jenn123

    I enjoyed reading your article and the perspective about online interactions. As an instructor in both a traditional classroom and online, I find that it is so important to have discussions with students about their online interaction and communication. Since I attempt to utilize an online experience in all my courses, I always create boundaries for my students and discuss how to interact appropriately. Other than typical communication blunders, what are the common types of problems you see students experiencing with the transition online?

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