Online Social Networking in the ClassroomIn the highly competitive business world today, many businesses rely upon employeeswho can work collectively together in groups and can access information quickly and easily frommultiple sources. Online social networks provide the abilities for collaboration and connectionsand are one of the ways that many businesses empower their employees to succeed. The director of IT for Ramapo Central School District in Hillburn, NY, states, “Almost every business I canthink of is using some sort of social networking tool, whether it be a chat tool within their business or using wikis to develop their manuals and their support” (Demski, 2009, p. 24). Withthe business world looking for and relying upon employees with social networking skills, it isimportant that today’s students be educated with the skills needed to work effectively andresponsibly within the online social networking environment.To accomplish this task, educators must be made aware of the benefits that an onlinesocial network can add to the classroom, as well as the importance of teaching good digitalcitizenship to protect students. James Yap, an IT director for a large New York school districtstresses his approach:“Our goal is to catch kids when they’re young so they’ll have a reallystrong grasp of the etiquette surrounding online social networking…before theygo into the Wild Wild West of Facebook, or MySpace, or any other sites that areout there right now!” (cited in Demski, 2009, p. 28)It is critically important to provide students with the skills needed to navigate not only theweb, but also social networking sites that require a greater measure of self-discipline andmonitoring.