Disclaimer: If you’re short on time or do not even take a look at the blog until late Sunday night (in hopes of grabbing a “C” this week), skip this entry. In fact, run from with it with all of your youthful passion. Grab your iPod. Find a happy space. Open a bag of super-hot Cheetos. IM some buddies. And forget you ever saw this. Caveat emptor, and all that intellectual blogging jazz.
Set-Up: My strange blog post title aside (until you figure out what it means — wink), this entire entry is all about Facebook.
[insert stunned adolescent expression here]
Yup…he went there. Facebook. Said it again. Might say it a few more times, too.
So, this one is all about Facebook?
- Or at least something kind of intriguing about what FB’s founder Mark Zuckerberg (and his team) has done to our modern social brains through a certain updating feature they’ve added to Facebook in the last 2 years (which has become quite well-received since allowing the masses to join the FB realm).
- Or at least something that Facebook, Twitter (huh?) and a dozen other Internet-based ‘micro-blogging’/social media applications (huh, again?) like them that are re-wiring the way we relate to ourselves, our friends and our world.
Did some teacher-dude just hint that we get to talk about Facebook…for a grade? And what is this Twitter thing? I thought this was English class with dusty books and stuff? We actually get credit for being FB experts? Really?
Yes. Sort of. But I think you guessed that little catch-22.
Will Richardson — a mentor/buddy of mine who happens to be an author and one of the leading experts/speakers on the ‘future of learning” and “emerging educational technology’ in the world — grabbed my radar this afternoon. While spending a little time on his education blog (note: you might want to hang out there a bit and see if anything grabs your attention over time), I ran across a cool piece of writing of his entitled “Ambient Awareness” (see, I didn’t make my title up entirely — wink) which supposedly talked about how Facebook is re-wiring our brains. Along with this Twitter-thing, too.
And you just know I just had to follow his breadcrumbs and see where his rabbit hole took me.
Where it took me — besides to a cool part of my brain that likes to learn — was to a New York Times Magazine article entitled, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” (aka “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You”) by Clive Thompson.
That’s where I found the following lovely gems I just had to share with all y’all:
“Having an audience can make the self-reflection even more acute, since, as my interviewees noted, they’re trying to describe their activities in a way that is not only accurate but also interesting to others: the status update as a literary form.”
“Yet it is also why it can be extremely hard to understand the phenomenon until you’ve experienced it. Merely looking at a stranger’s Twitter or Facebook feed isn’t interesting, because it seems like blather. Follow it for a day, though, and it begins to feel like a short story; follow it for a month, and it’s a novel.”
“Boyd sighed. ‘They can observe you, but it’s not the same as knowing you.'”
“Yet Ahan knows that she cannot simply walk away from her online life, because the people she knows online won’t stop talking about her, or posting unflattering photos. She needs to stay on Facebook just to monitor what’s being said about her. This is a common complaint I heard, particularly from people in their 20s who were in college when Facebook appeared and have never lived as adults without online awareness. For them, participation isn’t optional. If you don’t dive in, other people will define who you are. So you constantly stream your pictures, your thoughts, your relationship status and what you’re doing — right now! — if only to ensure the virtual version of you is accurate, or at least the one you want to present to the world.”
“’It’s just like living in a village, where it’s actually hard to lie because everybody knows the truth already,” Tufekci said. ‘The current generation is never unconnected. They’re never losing touch with their friends. So we’re going back to a more normal place, historically. If you look at human history, the idea that you would drift through life, going from new relation to new relation, that’s very new. It’s just the 20th century.’”
“Or, as Leisa Reichelt, a consultant in London who writes regularly about ambient tools, put it to me: ‘Can you imagine a Facebook for children in kindergarten, and they never lose touch with those kids for the rest of their lives? What’s that going to do to them?’”
Phew. Now that’s a brain-full.
Oh, and we haven’t even gotten to the ‘challenge’ yet, sportsfans!
- Read the original New York Times Magazine article.
- Say something utterly profound and eye-catching. Not just in a cute, off-the-cuff, skimming sort of way. Go deep. Connect the article to your real life. But don’t forget to really analyze the article.
- If you’re really curious, do some hunting to see what Twitter is all about.
- If you’re even more curious, spend some time with Will’s blog. Heck, even subscribe to it.
- If you’re even more curious squared, see if you can find (2 or more) unexpected literary allusions I made in this post. (wink)
- And if you’re really, really, really madly curious, maybe you can ask me to introduce you to the guy who started Facebook with Mark back at Harvard when they were just a few years older than you are now. He has an interesting story or two about what it was like ‘back in the day’ and what ‘went wrong’ once it went public.
Length: Far more than 140 characters [insert laugh track here — LOL, ROFL], although that would be very meta of you.
Instead, let’s go with 7+ sentences (’cause I’m crazy that way).
Seems expected, although I suspect we’ll see a few students push way past this minimal requirement in a blink of an micro-blogging, IM’ing blink of an eye.