Haters love to hate Facebook.
I think it is one of those phenomenons where a cultural artifact (or a meme) circulates through certain thresholds of popularity: starting underground, moving onto edgy, then widespread, loathing, and finally ironic. Kind of like Dave Mathews Band.
I think Facebook is teetering between widespread and loathing. In one moment people will cry foul about privacy issues and parents creating face book pages, threatening to cancel their account, yet in another moment they will turn around and chronicle myopic details about their lives on their Facebook wall.
While I think people are always going to rip on Facebook (as they should - it is a corporate entity whose only mission is to profit off of it's users), it is forever going to be a part of our lives. And now that I'm undertaking internet-based scholastic endeavors, Facebook is fast becoming part of my classroom.
Case-in-point: this semester an instructor assigned our class a take home exam. Having some foresight, the instructor explained that she believes that adult learners work best through collaboration, and highly encouraged us to work together on the exam. Being young adult learners, most of took to Facebook as our collaboration facilitation.
One member of the cohort sent our a message to the rest of us, initially to try and set up a time when we could all get together, but we all started posting questions we had about the exam, and soon our discussion grew. At this point there are almost 50 posts in the thread, occurring over the span of a week between fourteen students. It's been the most intense Facebook experience I have had in the half decade I have had an account.
Yet, it's not very surprising that it's been natural for us to discuss our exam through Facebook. Posting an electronic message, regardless of the venue (Facebook, a Blog comment, Black Board, etc.) is like school for us. Online posts and comments are fast becoming a ubiquitous form of communication. My friends and I joke that with the proliferation of social networking, email feels really formal now...