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." ;~)