Harold Jarche (again) points out someone’s pertinent observations. In this case, the someone is Danah Boyd, and her observations appear on The Knowledge Tree, an “e-journal of learning innovation” published in Australia.
Boyd emphasizes several characteristics of social networks that differ from ways that young people have interacted in the past:
- Persistence (what you say or show can hang around for a long time)
- Searchability (people can find information about you more easily than ever)
- Replicability (and its troubling cousin, modifiability — what you say in one place can appear in another, as can what you appear to have said but didn’t)
- Invisible audience (you’re not just talking to the people you think you’re talking to)
Boyd says at one point that the issue goes beyond the obvious (and, I think, sometimes sensationalized) one of internet safety.
It is about setting norms and considering how different actions will be interpreted. Itâ€™s important to approach this conversation with an open mind and without condescension because, often, there are no right or wrong answers.
She encourages educators to open themselves to interacting with students — for example, by having a profile on social sites popular at their schools. “Keep your profile public and responsible, but not lame.” (That windbag Polonius was right: to thine own self be true. The students already know pretty much how you are, anyway. )
Don’t go surfing for your students, she suggests; if they invite you to be a Friend, though, accept. Join the conversation — appropriately. “Social network sites are not classrooms and they should not be treated as such…”
In other words, it’s not the social network your mother (or grandmother) knew.