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Rethinking MySpace: Using social networking tools to connect with students

Author(s): Antero Garcia


As a high school English teacher in an Urban Los Angeles public school, Antero Garcia documents his struggle accessing popular youth social networking site, MySpace, to connect with students. At the same time, this article identifies the challenges of reconciling a critical look at the Fox-owned site and the justice-oriented intentions of his curricula. This article explains how Garcia used MySpace to connect with students beyond the walls of the classroom and how it offered an additional space for student learning within a popular youth culture context.

UPDATE:  Since "Rethinking MySpace" was published in summer 2008, the landscape of social networking and digital media has changed significantly. With celebrities regularly Twittering, parents hopping on to Facebook, and socioeconomic status fracturing between adopters of MySpace and Facebook, the realm of social networks is no longer a select niche of youth  culture. As such, I've shifted the ways I utilize social networks within my class. Most specifically, I've urged my students to join Facebook and I am now using it as the main hub for communication with students. My reasons behind this are many. Facebook's "groups" feature is better suited for student collaboration than MySpace - I now have private groups for each of my classes - students regularly engage in conversation, post relevant links, and critique each others' writing on the site. Additionally, as Facebook is now being used professionally by businesses and universities, I felt like asking students to join Facebook was a useful compromise; students are still able to network socially on the site but are also joining a larger network that is currently poised to help them leverage professional and academic capital. Former alumni continue to contact me through MySpace, but the same experiences and breakthroughs discussed in “Rethinking MySpace” have now migrated to Facebook. Ultimately, it is necessary to recognize that social networking is still an emerging media form and likely to significantly change in the next few years; as it does, so too will the ways in which I use it to engage my students.


APA Citation:

Garcia, A. (2008). Rethinking MySpace: Using social networking tools to connect with students. Rethinking Schools, 22 (4), 27-29.

Article appears with permission from the publishers at Rethinking Schools, © 2008, online at:

028RethinkMySpacePP019.pdf — PDF document, 530Kb

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