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As part of the CETL ALiC initiative (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning: Active Learning in Computing), undergraduate computing science students at Newcastle and Durham universities participate in a year long, inter-institutional group programming assignment. Teams of students act as “virtual companies” and collaborate cross-site to develop software products for real-world industrial clients. This paper investigates the emergence and autonomous adoption of social networking technologies in our students' communication strategies during the project, and explores the role that “status awareness” (knowledge of the current activities of one's team mates) had on the outcome of that collaboration. We also present and discuss the findings of a recent trial of CommonGround, an application created to harness our students' pre-existing engagement with social networking technologies such as Facebook.