Sunday, October 5, 2008

ME? Hang on Facebook?

In response to October 5, 2008 post, "Facing Facebook" by David Truss: Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about Facebook. In fact, I created an account several months ago. Never added a profile. Finally, I deleted the entire account. Why? I just couldn't figure out how I could "contribute" in the Facebook social environment. I could not see myself having a pillow fight with a colleague. I didn't really want to send an exotic cocktail to new a new friend. I wasn't interested in forming a new social connection with an adolescent or a college student. I didn't know how to speak the "Well, ah, like, what-e-e-vvvvr-r-r, you know" language. I just could NOT envision myself in the Facebook crowd.

So, I'd been wondering why it made sense for an educator like me to participate. My interest was piqued by the number of outstanding educators I know who enjoy maintaining Facebook accounts. When the Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki Davis, shared that she had a Facebook presence, I thought, "Well, I know you're cool - but, Vicki, you have adult connections on Linked In! What's up with you, friend?" I just could NOT understand WHY. Vicki is not the only first class educator I know on Facebook. I know many stand-up adults who are members of the Facebook community! Their career interests and professional goals are the same as mine - but they knew something I didn't know. When David Truss, an admired Twitter colleague, hinted that he'd be blogging on the topic "Facing Facebook" I was delighted. Soon, I'd be in on the secret!

Now, here you come, David, with a whole new spin on Facebook! Responsibility. You really "got me" with this appeal. You paint a picture of teachers that "follow" students for all of the right reasons: showing interest, standing up for online integrity, demonstrating altruistic values. You made me think. I have hundreds of former students on Facebook. I still care about them. I always enjoy reconnecting with them face-to face as adults and learning about their lives and careers. I am attracted to the idea of "being there" for them in Facebook - unobtrusively but staunchly standing for high standards in adult life and in digital citizenship. I'd be honored to reconnect with them as a former teacher - professionally - continuing my work with them as a mentor. I can see myself in this role - and I like it.

It is odd. When I deleted the Facebook account a pop up message appeared as I clicked "OK. Delete Account". Perhaps it was serendipity. The message touched me: "Come back to Facebook. We'll miss you." Now the message is more compelling. Facebook is missing me. It is missing the presence of adults who care enough about our young people to network in their space.

Thank you, David. I really like your post. It is valuable and helpful. "and so, like eeeeewwwwww, I'm off to hang out." ;~)


  1. It is an honour to know that I have influenced the thinking of an educator such as you:-)

    I think there are instances where a teacher may have a profile that they don't want to share with students, but that is their choice and one that I respect.

    For others such as yourself and I, this is just another digital presence and one where we can meaningfully connect and ultimately teach or at least model appropriate behavior in.

    Thanks again for such a thoughtful response!

  2. Great post. I was basically the same way about Facebook until I was friended by two of my former students from U of Nebraska from 15 years ago!

    Later, dude (or is it dudess???)

    : - )

  3. I appreciate your sharing Dave Truss's take on Facebook. I do maintain a FB profile, largely to maintain long distance relationships with high school and college friends. I have held back from friending my students or former students; now I am reconsidering my reasons for doing so. Thank you for a thought provoking post.

  4. Hi, Danja,
    It does seem a bit personal to invite students into your "friends and family" space, doesn't it? I'm thinking I'll limit my FB presence to professional content/contacts. Is it possible to have 2 accounts? I still have to figure out how to manage this!

  5. Beth, I felt almost the same way that you did. Then I realized that as an educator and teacher trainer that I had a responsibility to know more about FB. I actually sort of like the new FB it seems more mature and organized that before.

    I was also an early abandoner of Second Life after giving life to my avatar. Now I am all over the place in SL and see the huge benefit of doing so.

    The lesson for me was and still is to give things a go, to hang in there and be OK with ambiguity and let things gel a bit. We need to explore more and embrace discovery, just as we want our learners to do.

    Hope to see you on facebook and SL.

    Frank (SL: Salty Saenz)

  6. Hi, Frank!
    Do you know how excited I am about attending your demonstration of Second Life for the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the International conference in Mexico? I have just put the Saturday, October 18, at 2:15PM SLT (4:15PM Mexico City/CST) on my calendar. Now I have to figure out what time to block out in Georgia!

    Thank you for responding to my blog. See you in SL. I can WALK and sometimes I can SIT. When I am in doubt, I fly. You'll probably recognize me!