Signals Signals Signals: Bonnie Stewart Weighs in on the Power of Social Networking

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.

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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:

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7 thoughts on “Signals Signals Signals: Bonnie Stewart Weighs in on the Power of Social Networking

  1. Great idea of taking a picture and sharing Bonnie’s slides. I like the last slide you posted. I think that these are very simple rules to follow about sharing your life/identity on social media. My favorite is “signal to build up others not just yourself” This quote seems to be a theme for #eci831. This class has complete strangers reading each others work and giving constant positive feedback! I always look forward to a comment on my blog or a shout out on Twitter. Thank you Jeremy for your post, I find your blog always so easy to read.

  2. Great post from the evening Jeremy. I love your description of setting up your facebook as your experience sounds familiar to me. I like when she spoke about the negative not outweighing the positive and that we need to be aware as we put ourselves out there but still put ourselves out there. The inclusion of the last slide in your post was great it sort of reminds me of a mantra for posting online.

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  4. The emphasis on our ability to create the identity we want to show the world really drives it home for me. I had never really given much thought to my “network identity”, aside from not sharing some crude humor (despite maybe having a bit of a questionable sense of humor sometimes), when I was active on Facebook I pretty much was myself without a lot of thought about audience. Then came this class and digital citizenship and where I get hung up a on social media and network identity…I cannot be myself truly because there are parts of me that I can only show around certain people. It is too difficult with network identity to control the audience so who I am online has to be the person that people recognize as a professional. For me, social media is not a personal thing…I tend to be an open book in person with those I trust and I certainly can’t be doing that online…

  5. Jeremy – I like that you included some screengrabs from the session, but it would be nice to see some additional links in your posts. Can you relate this lecture to other things that you have read? To articles you have seen? Also, remember to invite discussion by asking questions in your posts!

    1. Thanks Katia for the feedback. I’ll admit that post was a difficult one to write, and in reflection I could have made in more cohesive. I’ll take a look to see how I can pull in other sources. Thanks.

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