Embracing social software

Posted: January 19, 2007 in EVO 2007 Tasks

Since I began blogging with the 2005 EVO blogging session, I have tried blogs, wikis, flickr, delicious, frapper, and I don’t know how many other tools. Some of them, like blogs and wikis, I have really embraced. Others, like Flickr and Frapper, don’t excite me that much. At first I thought it had to do with not wanting to feel so exposed — a concern that Berta and others have expressed. Then I realized that I have been pretty exposed on my blog for two years, so it had to be something more. Finaly I realized that it is something much more basic – I love words. I am not a visual person. I don’t have a lot of pictures in my house, but I have tons of books.

That being said, I love the idea of open, participatory environments. They allow us to get to know each other in ways that we never could otherwise. I have blogging friends from aroud the world. For instance, I live in Louisiana and Bee lives in Brazil. I have “known” Bee for two years. In August, she is going to be speaking at a conference in New Orleans and, barring disaster, I will actually get to meet her in person. How cool is that?

The participatory nature of all of this is critical. I belong to several email discussion lists, for instance, but seldom feel comfortable participating. I don’t know why particularly. Because of that, I wasn’t sure how I would do with blogging, but I found my voice and haven’t looked back. I think the fact that it is open in addition to being participatory makes it less threatening to me in some way.

Of course, the open nature of it all is what concerns many people. Especially when it comes to children. Rather than embracing the positive aspects of openness, we choose to focus on the negative ones. But if we educate young people about appropriate used of these tools, I don’t think they are any more at risk than they would be watching television — maybe even safer than watching TV!

Like others, the 43 People and other 43 sites don’t appeal to me, possibly because of their openness. I was going to say that I don’t really want to meet people online, but that isn’t true. But I don’t want to meet them because we both want to meet the same famous person. Or because we both want to see every state in the US. But that is just me, my personality; I am a fairly private person. But that doesn’t mean they would not be useful or fun. As an ESL teacher, anything that gets my students using English in real ways is worth looking at.

So I will continue try the next cool thing out there and see what happens. Who knows where I’ll end up?

  1. bleiva2003 says:

    Dear OWP friend: You ARE definitely private. I could not find your name anywhere here but that´s fine. You are right, we expose ourselves to the world the moment we publish in our blogs. But like you, I prefer to keep to certain places but will dare to try something new if it gets my students going in their learning of language and culture. Thanks for tagging to mi site. Saludos, Berta

  2. […] 20th, 2007 at 8:52 am (Uncategorized) Well, I was talking about being a private person and Berta pointed out that I didn’t even have my name anywhere on my blog. I certainly didn’t intend to be […]

  3. Dear Nancy and Berta,
    I think that in a way we really can’t get away from exposing ourselves when we blog. There are many levels of exposing yourself. One one level: Just the fact that you are blogging is a way of exposing yourself. Yes, you can make it private and no one will know your address, but when you blog, you expose your thoughts in writing, which is quite a permanent thing. Yes, you can delete it later, but you’ve exposed them already 🙂 On another level: you share your blog with others. Somebody asked me once what happened to ‘a diary with a golden key’ everyone used before blogs. We’ve moved so far from it! You find your own voice and share it with others – that’s empowering. As to sites like 43places/things, I realized a couple of days ago that the reason I don’t want to be exposed there is because that’s not my kind of crowd. However, if we had 43books, definitely, I would be more willing to expose myself because that’s my thing. It depends then…. Truly enjoyed reading your thoughts, Nancy!

  4. I meant: “we really can’t get away from not exposing ourselves”. Sorry, it’s 1 am! 🙂

  5. […] or private? Patricia commented on my previous post, saying I think that in a way we really can’t get away from exposing […]

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