I developed an important portion of my “friending” policy for social media after I made a mistake on flickr. I made a connection to a student in the spirit of having enjoyed my interactions with that student. I didn’t think. A faculty member reaching out meant that the student rapidly reorganized their photographic collection. Thankfully they told me that they had taken these steps. I realised what I had done.
In light of that, my policy w.r.t. to students is that I will friend anyone who seeks me out on social media, as long as I know the person through our shared invisible college, visible college or some other connection. But, I do not reach out. That’s my way of respecting a student’s privacy and not putting them in a situation where they potentially feel they have to edit their content. I guess the counter-argument might be that it means they have to work harder to network with me.
I have a question. Twitter. I am followed by a student whose tweets (which while I do not see in my feed since I do not follow them) I enjoy. Is it appropriate to follow them. If I am followed, may I follow in return? How does that work? What do people feel comfortable with?