Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn! Oh my!

I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds. “Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station Raise the roof.” Who gives a rat’s ***?
-Mr. Griffith, Easy A

I love this movie for a number of reasons: it mocks but also pays tribute to my favorite 80s movies, the soundtrack is wicked awesome, Emma Stone is hilarious as Olive but most of all, I love Mr. Griffith. He’s sarcastic but not mean, seems to like his students and his job and doesn’t go overboard in trying to get students to like him. He doesn’t pander like most movie teachers do. Most importantly, he has a point; so much of the documentation and connections we make these days are really just at a surface level. For those of us who aren’t digital natives (a phrase I hate) sometimes it seems like it’s just a lot of noise not a new way of thinking, communicating and creating. 

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m in a social media/networking vortex. Twitter might be making me smarter but it’s also making my brain hurt. As I was watching Easy A, I thought I'd try a little experiment and track my social media activity over the weekend to see if there were any “diamonds.” Here’s what I did:
  • Wrote a new post for this blog (link)
  • Added 2 new contacts on LinkedIn
  • Considered updating my LinkedIn profile but didn’t
  • Received a request to write an endorsement for a connection on LinkedIn; started a draft
  • Started following Hell on Wheels and the Pixies on Twitter
  • Tweeted the link to my new blog post
  • Retweeted a post from a education blogger about creating a blog (and read the article) but did not do any of the things she suggested (not yet anyway)
  • Shared two pictures of my cat on Facebook; also posted a picture of my new shower curtain (it has owls on it)
  • Updated my FB status three times (outside of the photo posts)
  • Shared a link to an article about buying an e-reader
  • Replied to comments on my photos and my status updates
  • Wished 3 people Happy Birthday on their profile pages
  • Commented on a friend's photo of his first tattoo
  • Read several blog posts on Hello Giggles and Edweek

Of all of these activities, I would rate my new blog post as a diamond (maybe a diamond chip) only because I thought it was funny/entertaining. I have no idea if anyone else did. One of the blog posts I read this weekend was about social networking and 21st century skills (another phrase I dislike immensely). The post made me think about my list but focused on the skills I used when participating in the various activities I listed above. I think I used at least three skills well during my weekend experiment (communication, reflection and creativity). 

However, most of what I did this weekend would fall into the “distraction” category not something that reinforces a skill (unless the skill is avoiding packing and cleaning). I’m also wondering if I’m becoming more or less reflective the more I participate in the social media/networking vortex. Maybe this is why people find these tools to be distractions and not opportunities for refining any kind of skills. You start off on the path to creativity and reflection and end up posting pictures of your new shower curtain.

This post was originally written for my work blog. I removed one paragraph that was very work-centric since it has no application here. One of my colleagues thought it would be a good post for this blog as well and I thank him for the suggestion.


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