11 Suggestions for (Social) Networking Heaven – 1

March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

I’ve been enjoying facebook and learning about social networking since Thanksgiving. I think that there are some things that need to happen in facebook and other social networks before we can head over there en masse and use it as the nexus of our life’s network.

(Author’s Note: From this point on, I’ll write (social) network to denote the network of the future because I believe it is about networks for everything not just social.)

Until they fix these things, we will continue to see news articles as people make a melting pot of their work and social lives that was never intended to be and is not what people really want.

1) Multiple connection types

Finding me

On social networks, you’re either unfindable, hidden except for your face, or you’re naked!

What I mean is this:

There are basically 3 flavors of access icecream on facebook:
1) No access (unfindable)
2) Limited Access (just your face)
3) Full Access (you’re naked, well, not literally if you’re smart.)

Additionally, I can remove my picture and name listing from the main facebook search, but then I cannot be found.

I’m either lost or WAY TOO FOUND!

Friend of a Friend, or is it?
Now for me, I’m facebooking professionally but I’m also finding family and friends so here is the inherent problem in this.

I have 100 or so readers of my blog as facebook friends, but I also have my cousins in there. I might really want you to read all of my information, but do I want you to know who my cousins are?

Or my husband?

Or next year, my children?

And I might want to talk to them about some private family stuff, but should that show up for you to read?

You get a window to my family, a window I might not want you to have.

Daughter of a Blogger not Friend of a Friend

For then, you can say,

“Hey, Vicki’s first cousin, Vicki told me to add you.”

And then they add without asking and “Bam!,” there is a link there I might not want. My cousin assumes “any friend of yours is a friend of mine.” However, you’re not my close friend, you’re a reader of my blog. And there is a difference! So, it is not really, friend meet friend. It is blog reader meet cousin. Or blog reader meet child of blog writer. And I have a problem with that!!!

So, for me, I might want something that looks like this:

  • Professional Network
  • Social Network
  • Community Network (my hometown)
  • Classroom Network
  • Family Network

And yours may look totally different. I don’t know why there can’t be a method to set several different connection types. Then, you can add friends to one group, or another, or all of them. I mean what if Leo Laporte or Robert Scoble actually wanted to use facebook to connect with their friends. They can’t! (I mean, can’t famous people really use this stuff to make their lives better?)

I’m not my student’s friend

We’re going to have to use a private group on facebook for me to communicate w/ my students. They don’t want to add me as a “friend” and honestly, I really don’t want to add them as a “friend” either. I’m not their friend, I’m their teacher. There is a professionalism I have when dealing with them and I’m not their friend nor do I want that implication. Plus, there would be something about my daughter’s math teacher being on her myspace friends list.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I enjoy being with them, but I am still an authority figure in their lives and not involved in their social lives.)

However, I do want to communicate with them on facebook (particularly for summer assignments.) And I cannot.

Until social networks realize that we cannot divide our lives up into three or four levels of connection, they will be limited and continue to have criticism from educational groups. (Which is often well intended but misguided.)

One (social) network doesn’t fix all. There are problems when we mix things, however facebook and myspace are simply too popular to say that “Oh, I’ll use facebook for social and then ning for professional.” What if someone is only available on facebook and doesn’t do the “ning thing.”

And what happens when Granny joins myspace and she wants to date!? We need networks!

Note: Now, the Open Social standard is supposed to help us move our profile and settings from place to place, but their remains the fact that if one person we want to connect with professionally is only on Facebook and not Linked in, that we’ll have to connect on facebook even if we use that for family. So, I don’t know that Open Social will solve this problem.


[More to come soon.]

Full article available here.


Entry filed under: ICT, Interaction, Pedagogy, Social Impact, Trends. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The MySpace Effect 11 Suggestions for (Social) Networking Heaven – 2

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The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
Location: UK

Email: info@gamingandlearning.co.uk / alex@gamingandlearning.co.uk



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