Here comes everybody!

The grand thing about Web 2.0 and social networking is the opportunities for both serendipity and synergy in the process of networking and collaboration.

Today I read with interest Beth Kanter’s (from Cambodia) notes about building your network strategically. Beth is writing an article and threw some thinking up on her Facebook notes. She starts by saying that

Doing “outreach” or adding new friends to your network is a critical part of the work flow. To reap the benefits a using a social networking, you need to build your network, although as some experts say it is a matter of quality, not quantity. You want to avoid random outreach, but remember since outreach can be open-ended and there are opportunities for distractions. Remember to know when to stop.

While Beth is looking at marketing in the non-profit sector her comments were of interest to educators – Vicki Davis (Southern Georgia, our coolcatteacher!) added a note saying

In school we tell everyone,”Never add a friend of a friend, only add people you know,” and many of us are building our network in this way. Aren’t kids who add friends of a friend learning valuable networking skills? It is important to remember this, but also that we are creating a vast disconnect between what we tell students and what is going to make them successful in the future!

So here we had just one of our many dilemmas in education being effectively highlighted and discussed, right in a social networking space, accessible only amongst ‘friends’.

It didn’t stop there. I also had a message from Ken Carroll (Shanghai & Dublin) about the launch of his new blog Ken Carroll on Learning. Here we have Ken, and astute businessman, doing exactly as Beth advises – using friends networks to reflect and share, manage and promote.

I am pleased that Ken shared his new blog link with me, because he has some highly relevant issues for consideration by educators. (Consider adding Ken Carroll on Learning to your RSS reader.)

His post Here Comes Everybody touches on so many issues related to learning – information sharing, communication, gathering, discussion, utilisation etc etc. Yes, Ken, we have all been learning more, faster than we could 5 years ago….that is, if we are immersed in Web 2.0 tools and communication opportunities. As he puts it

every individual now has a voice in the Big Conversation…. the participative web goes way beyond just high-speed access to information. It also enables us to form learning networks that include people, conversations, and information. This is a crucial development that we need to understand.

Like Ken, I also connect with people on my network through blogs, social networks, email, instant messaging and more.

This is what I want to share with my teachers. This is what I want to empower in the learning opportunities for my students. This is what future learning is all about.

Photo: Casa Batllo, My Social Network

2 thoughts on “Here comes everybody!

  1. Hi Beth, it’s true! I like to screen requests, though I think that perhaps I’m not as generous as you in always asking about the connection, as I do reject some people by their profile. After your comment I will have to re-visit my own processes on this. Yes, there is still so much for us to explore about social networking in terms of school education. I know a colleague of mine who has introduced his students to Twitter….and now they twitter during the school day, and get into mischief with it as a result. Are they disrupting the class? or are they disrupting the teacher’s 20C way of teaching?

  2. Hi Judy:

    I wondered why you poked me! :-)

    This is such an interesting conversation about using social network sites from different perspectives. I can understand why you might tell students only to friend people they know face-to-face – and I know that some people have friend policies just like that. I think everyone needs to determine what will work for them.

    I have a lot of friends because of my blog -I’ve found that many of my readers “friend me” – if I had automatically said to no to everyone who asked, I would have missed out on learning a bit more about readers. Now what I do is screen people – I ask them how they know me or know of me and why they want to be friends. I’m usually surprised by the answers.

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