I am not an educator, but I do work as a graduate assistant at Pace University. I am in a Media & Communication Arts Master's program. A lot of what we discuss in our "Industry Theory and Practice" class revolves around social media. We talk about the advantages and disadvantages of social media in all industries, including education.
In our class specifically, we use open source sites. We are encouraged to follow our department's Facebook page, our professor's Twitter account, and we're currently working on an on-going ePortfolio project where we build our own electronic portfolios. While we discuss social media, we also use social media. We've had to research social media sites that we've never heard of before and we have open discussions with our class online, as our course is hybrid.
I'm interested to see how others are using social media, specifically in higher education.
For my student teaching class, I love integrated technology, especially Facebook! It was a different concept and was very nervous to use it since I was 1. new and 2. in a school that was very set in their ways. I created a facebook soley for the class and all parents (the children did not have access since this was first grade) had access to the facebook if they wished. It was private, but since I controlled the settings, I friended parents of my class. I used this social media for questions that any parents had, homework assignments, upcoming activities in the classroom, field trip information and even a direct way to set up parent/teacher meetings. Since I have an iphone, I was able to access it almost instantly in my free time so it was a very efficient way to talk with parents. Many parents participated and found it easy to use. I asked for a lot of feedback and some parents still wanted hard copies of EVERYTHING, but many chose Facebook because they were already accessing privately! It was a great experience not only because of easy access but some parents I learned very quickly did not like to speak on the phone. In a lack of parent involvement these days, anything is better than nothing and Facebook brought some parents out of their shell.