There was a really rich forum discussion thread about teachers and social networking on this ning site. This blog post is kind of a repeat of my post to this forum discussion, but I feel pretty strongly about the issue: http://classroom20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A7964
Here's the thing that Will doesn't really bring into the discussion. Look at the psychology of a young person. It's all about the "friends".....the more "friends" the better. The compelling part of being part of a social network is to participate in the community because "hanging out" with people their own age is part of the emotional and psychological makeup of a younger person. When kids reach their teens, their focus becomes their peers. That's part of how they are wired.
A middle-aged teacher like myself, with a husband, three kids, a dog, and a full time job....the motivation to participate in social networking would have to be pretty compelling. I might be going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing that when you get to a certain point (or age) in your life, you stop caring about the opinion of your peers to the point where you have to go on line and check your social networking site 5 times a day (like my kids do).
I have a great deal of respect for Will and his work. I read his books and his blog. I read a lot of blogs for that matter. I just think that he needs to take a step back and reflect on the underlying reasons why kids do something and grownups do not.
As with many of the posts in this thread, I do think teachers need to capitalize on the way their students use the internet. Teachers are really missing the boat when they don't use the web 2.0 to extend the classroom and engage the students using their own medium for communication.