I secretly wanted to call this post “Why I make my Facebook Public”, but ‘Why and How’ posts aren’t my vibe.
I recently revisited my last post “The Year that Was” where I talked openly about how Facebook has evolved into a rich tapestry of the story of Summer. Photos of wonderful times, stories of great events, check-ins to interesting places, links to things I find interesting. It’s the story of me.
I talk with lots of teachers and students about social media, and the “F” word always comes up, as if it is somehow dirty or criminal. I don’t think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc are problematic, it’s in the use. We know this…this is not a new statement.
I love Facebook. There. I said it. I connect with friends I see very little of across the world, it has saved me from the awkwardness that is a school reunion, helped me plan social events, keep up with friends and their babies…all good things. But recently, a discussion with a teacher around how she ‘locks down’ her profile got me thinking about my Social Media portfolio, and use of all spaces online. There’s no doubt I leverage different spaces in different ways; we all should, and we connect with different people in these spaces. I’ve seen over the past 18 months or so, the lines of my Twitter and Facebook blurring as I share more educational stuff on Facebook, and more social things on Twitter; the same people are generally in both spaces in a lot of situations. I connect with people on Pinterest, as I build a picture of my aesthetic. Over on Instagram, I’m finding kids I teach following me, another extension of my story. I think photography is a great way to build empathy and a good way to take a little longer to appreciate a moment. A photo tells a story, and it another way we can connect with others. I’ve been involved in some productive ‘coaching’ of kids in this space regarding their online image. While chatting about Instagram, have a look at how this class uses this social media space to make their learning public.
Kids do understand why, but I think they often don’t understand how. Isn’t it up to us as teachers to show them the way? We can also write amazing resumes for ourselves, but I’ve come to learn that being authentic in life, and online is far more organic and simple. If it’s not the right thing to do, don’t do it. If you don’t want people to know about something, don’t post it online. Here’s my rule; if I put it online, I want you to know about it.
A young man recently said to me “You know your Facebook is open? You know I can see all of your Tweets? You know I found you on Instagram? I can see your resume on LinkedIn”
“So how do you feel about that?”
“You’re the same online as you are in real life”
He then went on to tell me how much more connected and respectful he felt, knowing more about me. He actually shared with me how much he enjoyed seeing me reflecting on and discussing “all of that nerd teacher stuff”. A pretty proud and humbling moment actually.
It’s about who I am, and showing kids what it means to have a digital footprint. There are things online I can’t have control over and mistakes will be made…such as life itself. But I have firmly decided to show what we expect kids to know, and try to model it well.
I welcome your thoughts.