The student-lecturer relationship on Facebook: identifying the measures lecturers take in order to maintain a balance between their personal and professional image when using Facebook
Popular social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook, have begun to change the way students and lecturers communicate in both social and educational settings. The use of Facebook as a communication medium is raising questions and concerns regarding privacy, credibility and online misbehaviour. As Facebook provides educational potential for both students and lecturers, it also blurs the boundaries between the personal and professional image of lecturers. Keeping a distance from students and maintaining a credible image can become increasingly difficult for lecturers who are attempting to use Facebook for academic purposes. The aim of this research is to identify if lecturers are taking any measures in order to maintain a balance between their personal and professional image when using Facebook. If lecturers are taking any measures, this research will examine what types of measures are being taken. The data for this research was collected from lecturers working in the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Data was only gathered from lecturers working in the Faculty of Culture and Society. An advertisement for the research was placed in Faculty newsletters, the Wire and the Weekly Global, as well as on bulletin boards within the Faculty of Culture and Society. An online survey, through Surveymonkey, was utilized in order to obtain information from lecturers concerning the use of Facebook. Statistical data analysis, through SPSS Statistics, was conducted after data collection. This study performed content analysis on the quantitative data, as well as close analysis on the qualitative data created by a few of the questions responses. The qualitative analysis was solely used for the purpose of supporting the quantitative data and results. The questions ranged from topics of Facebook friend requests, AUT Facebook groups, factors for and against communication with students, online boundaries and overall Facebook experience.