Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

What facebook has done to friendship & other social media stories

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I know. I could write a book about this, right?

What facebook has done to friendship
What twitter has done to following
What google has done to hanging out
What MOOCs have done to learning…
…and so on.

This morning, a colleague sent something to our department mailing list and said, “i don’t share much but..” And i replied, “you sound like sharing is a bad thing…”. But here’s the thing: oversharing on email is overwhelming, but doing the same on Twitter is completely different. Before I had a blog, half of what i write here would have ended up in my poor colleagues’ mailboxes. Poor them.

Talking to the same colleague later about this, he noted that he could tell my friends from social media were open educators and willing to share…. Or something like that. We were gushing over Ana Salter’s article on Prof Hacker about her visit here – which delighted us, the dean of undergraduate studies (who sent it to the AUC president!) and my students (one of them said he was so proud his game was mentioned he read the article 7 times!)

So today we gave a workshop, Sherif and I (the Twitter gurus in my department) on social media in the classroom. And while giving it you start to realize how some things that appear to be positives for some of us are negatives for other people. Social media is kinda like that…

Facebook and friendship
I am sure no one in their right mind truly calls 500 people their friends, even me (I am not loose about whom I consider a friend, but I do consider a lot of people friends…) But on facebook, we all do it, right?

The crazy thing is that someone can be a really good friend but not want to be your friend on facebook for whatever reason. I’m reminded of a South Park episode where Stan’s dad tells him his grandma is upset that he hasn’t friended her on facebook. Yeah.

Then also, there are these total strangers who are friending me on facebook (well putting in requests which i usually ignore; but occasionally it’s someone i’ve just met online or barely heard of and they wanna be my facebook friend… It’s a little weird sometimes)

What Twitter Has Done to Following
Twitter allows you to stalk someone online. Follow them then get notifications and voila. I stalked Hybridped for a while because i wanted to know every time a new article was out. I probably don’t need this anyway coz I get google+ notifications from Jesse and Sean… But anyway 🙂

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What google has done to hanging out
Strangely, despite how difficult it is for me to participate in synchronous events, I think I hang out online more often than i do w my f2f friends who don’t work with me. My long commute and kid’s early bedtime means i have no time to see friends on non-weekends and that i am free to hangout at night here… On US timezones…

What MOOCs have done to learning
So listen, lifelong learning was a “thing” before it ever had a name. Ppl don’t need course structures to keep learning, but ( semi) formal structures help many people, and so MOOCs are great for that.

And Sharing?
Blogging and tweeting has allowed me to expand my audience and i share much more freely than i used to- because yeah, emailing all that stuff is too much for most people. Tweeting to a hashtag is just much simpler

Got any others?

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