Category Archives: social networking

Good Habits Are Hard to Start

My exchange with Sheri Edwards of the What Else blog about our mutual love of crocheting and how we learned was featured as part of Edublog’s round up for week two of the #blogging28 challenge. While I basked in the glory, I also forgot to blog yesterday.

Have I already run out of things to write about? No…but I have moved further into the new year with its work demands and I haven’t quite gotten the habit in place yet. I have thought about potential topics but not made any notes so they die on the vine, as it were. I could expand on the twitter conversation I had with a few folks about our process:

I hope this didn’t sound flippant. I take my audience seriously but as I went on to share on Twitter:

 

The #blogging28 challenge allows time for posts to percolate by suggesting doing one blog post each week. And, by encouraging participants to comment on others’ blogs, connections are made that can lead from comments to full blown posts in the same way these Twitter posts led to this post.

I think I am behind on commenting on blog posts and want to explore some new writers. The Edublogs week two round up has a list of participants at the end of the update.

The Inevitable Let Down Or Taking A Day

Our MyrtleI just needed a day, I think, to do not much after months of doing, doing, doing. I had planned to travel today for a last bit of holiday vacation  but slept badly last night and woke late feeling low, not prepared for a long car drive even with a decent book to listen to. I messaged my old friend who was lovely and supportive; thank goodness for old friends, indeed. We’ll meet up tomorrow at an annual get together of other old friends, mostly women I worked with at my first teaching gig in the late 80s, and then spend a few days recuperating from it all with sales shopping and binge watching and at least one movie theater movie, probably Mary, Queen of Scots. I look forward to this annual trek and know it will be restorative, but I just needed a day to make the transition.

One thing I did do was set up my feed reader as part of my general goal of being better connected. I emptied it completely and decided to just start with the people Jen Orr mentioned in her blog post. I recognized all the names as thoughtful people who were doing good work around creativity and equity. It is a good start, I think, and I am trying to keep things sustainable. I plan to have this group as a core of regular reading because I know they will connect me with a wider community and then I can add others to the core list. I hope it is a better strategy than filling the feed with every person I might possibly read and then being overwhelmed by the number of posts.

My organizational efforts  were immediately rewarded with this beautiful prose poem by Sherri Spelic reflecting on the holiday and the coming year, what we bring with us, what we leave behind, what we look forward to.

Walking the Walk

woman at podiumOn Tuesday, I stood in front of a lot of people and encouraged them to take action to tell their stories and to connect with the larger community. I asked them to tweet, blog, and advocate. I do all of these but not with any consistency so I decided that if I was going to lecture others about what they should be doing, I should do the same.
It is time to organize a consistent twitter and blogging practice. I am an active advocate but could be more connected with my own local legislators.
So…here is my first blog post in that direction…mostly a public commitment to connect more intentionally.
I have written about my commitment to 10,000 steps and one thing I have learned is that you must plan ahead in order to meet the challenge. With the excuse of the conference behind me, it is time to start scheduling these commitments.
And…I have now been doing the steps for 243 days…

Finding Community Through Books

One of the points I made during my talk with librarians was how books help create community, both face to face and online. When I moved to my current home, I tried to get involved in the town but a crazy work schedule kept me from really finding a place.

Now, my schedule is better, but I need an easy way to connect: no committee meetings or event planning. I found it at my local library. A real life book group that meets once a month. Finding time to read is no problem as I average about 75 books a year. We’ve read a few books I already owned and a few I probably would not have read. The latter were often pleasant surprises as I was sure they were the kinds of books I didn’t like.

My virtual community is, as I have written before, LibraryThing. It was started in August 2005 and I had an account by October 13, 2005. I was looking for the same thing the developer was: a way to catalog my books and reading. Now, almost 13 years later, LibraryThing has become my community as well. I belong to one group–75 Books a Year–where we share our reading and love for books even as we challenge each other to reach an annual milestone. As I have become increasingly frustrated with Facebook, I am finding myself spending more time on LT. As I told the librarians, Facebook seems to be about what divides us. LT is about what unites us.

Sometimes we can get lost in the crowd of social media where number of followers and posts and how many people you reached is more important than the quality of the connection. Moving to a smaller, more focused online community has helped me think more about quality.

 

Staging Stories

I’ll start by saying that I am not generally part of the Facebook police. I figure the medium just lends itself to the spreading of misinformation, and I have a limited amount of time and energy to keep people honest. I rarely pursue all the photos and factoids posted by friends.

But, for some reason, the photo of a little girl curled up asleep in the outline of a female figure with the caption indicating she was an Iraqi orphan longing for her mother seemed too heart wrenching to be true. It didn’t take me long to discover that the photo had, indeed, been staged by a professional photographer. The little girl is Iranian and a relative of the photographer who, on her flickr page, has similar photos.

The question asked by Annie at PhD in Parenting is important for all of us to consider: “Does it matter?” She comes down on the side of yes, and so do I. She writes:

I know that in this day and age of the Internet, and especially since I’ve been on the Internet for 22 years now, I should know not to take things at face value. But it grabbed me and then I felt betrayed that it was staged, but presented as photo journalism.

As Annie points out, there are plenty of sad stories of children in war zones. Why make up a story? Maybe because you can? And perhaps the original poster figured it would highlight a tragedy so its verity was not important. But, a quick look at the poster’s public Facebook profile shows a wide variety of posts from silly cats to find the panda so I’m not sure we can give him the benefit of the doubt. I would like to extend that benefit to my friend who shared it…she is a socially conscious individual who really does care about the world.

But, she is also a well-educated woman who should know better. I suspect if I called her on it, she would be apologetic but might also lean towards the side of bringing attention to children in war and be less concerned about what I see as a major digital citizenship problem. If you aren’t willing to check your sources before you post, what other questionable bits of information might you be passing along? Maybe nobody gets hurt…well, except for the photographer whose photo is under standard copyright and the next person who shares it only to find out it’s fake and, honestly, my friend whose reputation is now suspect at least in my mind. These are certainly minor hurts in a larger world of hurting children but scaled up they lead to the kinds of misinformation that make the web the dangerous echo chamber it has become.