Re-imagining internet scholarship: Academic uses and abuses of the influential internet social network, facebook

Kyoung Ah Nam, Gerald W. Fry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Since its inception at Harvard in 2004, the social network, Facebook, has grown dramatically and spread across the globe. It will soon have 1 billion users and is now operative in over 75 languages. A large percentage of undergraduates are now active on Facebook. Much of the recent literature on Facebook focuses on business applications and how it can contribute to growing profits and market share. Little attention has been directed to the academic implications of Facebook. The focus of this article is to assess critically the scholarly uses and abuses of Facebook. The article draws on several theoretical frameworks such as those of Ivan Illich (conviviality of technologies), Denis Goulet (technology as a two-edged sword), and Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (optimal human experience and flow). Many scholarly uses of Facebook are presented documenting its potential for enhancing academic work. That is followed by a discussion of negative aspects of the technology and potential adverse effects on humans in terms of their productivity and capabilities. If used critically and creatively, these new networks can enhance in valuable ways human, intellectual, social, and cultural capital. In a networked knowledge society, students now have extraordinary new tools to help them realize their intellectual, cultural, and social potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalE-Learning and Digital Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


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