FACEBOOK invite. 2006. Here it was, the opportunity to reintroduce myself to current friends, past acquaintances, childhood friends I hadn’t seen in many years, and of course all the randoms. I’m sure I’m not the only one who agonized that first day on what to fill in under the headings of ‘Favourite Bands’ or the more anxiety-filling ‘About Me.’ I probably spent more time re-working that profile page, than looking for friends that first day. With the advent of Facebook, suddenly everyone was given the opportunity to potentially reinvent themselves, to create an online identity that shared what you wanted to be perceived as, as opposed to being profiled by another.
Bonnie Stewart’s talk tonight on networked identity was excellent, in that it spoke to the freedom inherent in how and what we choose to share with others, and the responsibilities that come with this newfound freedom. Jocelyn’s reflection on Bonnie’s lecture was a great way for me to make sense of all the information shared with us. Thank you! It helped remind me that Bonnie’s main point was regardless of the negatives inherent in social networking, we need to remind ourselves that we need to ‘be the signal we want to be in the world.’
As citizens of social networking, we need to be aware of the rights and responsibilities. For most, it goes without saying that if you’re sharing too much of yourself, to too wide of a social circle, the potential for it to come back and haunt you is pretty real. Looking at social networking is to take a sample group of the best and the worst examples of humanity, and see how they interact with one another. Many who nurture their networks are looking to build, maintain, and improve relationships, and in doing so, growing into a better, more balanced individual. The heroes of the social network. Then, there are the trolls who work to poison the well, who take pride and glee in hurting others through obscene actions such as threats, prejudiced opinions which are often xenophobic in nature, etc.
Bonnie Stewart's slide on Networked Identities
Bonnie stresses however, that while these negative influences are often rampant online, to simply disconnect from social networking is a big mistake. The benefits to social networking outweigh the negatives. I would wholeheartedly agree. Since starting this class in September, I have been more engaged and motivated as a professional, which in turn has helped my students performance tremendously. This has been a direct result of joining a community of like minded learners, and nurturing one another’s growth through supporting and recognizing one another’s input.
One last slide: