Monday, 21 September 2009

Module Nine - Let's Get Connected (Web 2.0)

I have only really become a fan of social networking via Web 2.0 technologies this year when I joined amongst other things – FaceBook. So why – after much resistance to be honest – did I join FaceBook? Or maybe the real question is why did I not set up a FaceBook account earlier.

I hate to admit – it’s kind of uncool – but the main reason was out of ignorance. Like many of my vintage, I heard the many(??) horror stories (how many are in fact urban myths) about FaceBook. About identity theft and gossip and … well I am sure we all have a story to tell to convince others about how “bad” it is.

Why did I join? Well I do not like making judgements out of ignorance. Besides I consider myself to be a fairly sensible individual with a good understanding of privacy and online common sense. I have also used online messenging services (such as ICQ) for many years. I was also keen to engage in at least one of the social networking environments my students were spending so much time. What is the appeal? (By the way I DO NOT engage with students in this environment)

Armed with knowledge I created my account and made sure I set as much privacy as I believed important and started to create my online network.

I know have over 400 “friends”. My use of the term friend is simply the expression used in FaceBook to describe someone with whom you share. I would not consider many of these people true friends and as such do not share the sort of information that I would share only with my closest friends.

I have found the whole experience VERY rewarding as I have managed to stay in touch with many acquaintances made around the world through my basketball and wheelchair basketball careers.

I have also taken to the use of Twitter. Whilst my tweets feed my FaceBook account I mainly use Twitter for Professional Contacts and Professional Social networking. Through the tweets of people I am following I am able to discover great readings and resources in areas that interest me and am then able to share these with my “followers” by retweeeting or simply tweeting good material i find.

The Twitter environment is one that is constantly changing and my list changes. Some people who I followed early on now only seem to tweet about their favourite coffee. If i don’ want to hear about it I simply stop following. I am in control!

In keeping with my previous posts – Twitter helps me by keeping me abreast of current trends in 21st century learning. As well as reading the likes of Mark Pesce, Will Richardson and Kevin Honeycutt, I also keep up to date with news from the Board of Studies, stay abreast of ABC news and have a laugh via tweets from Rove and Will Anderson.

It’s all about balance.