Public or private?

Posted: January 21, 2007 in EVO 2007 Tasks

Patricia commented on my previous post, saying

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.

I agree completely. I have blogged quite openly for two years, using most of my name as my username, never intentionally hiding anything about who I am or where I work or what I do. I am very comfortable with that.  I don’t want anonymity; I don’t want to hide.

Somehow or other, though, that seems different from going to a site like 43 People and sharing parts of me that I am not as comfortable sharing. I am not sure what the difference is, but for me there is a difference.

As I think about it more, I don’t really think it is an issue of privacy as much as interest.  I am not interested in “meeting” people on the internet.  I am interested in exchanging  ideas with other educators.  Maybe it isn’t that I am private as much as too serious!

My students in the past have been reluctant to make their blogs public, although they have done so. When a student set up a new blog last week, when we go to the part about whether or not he wanted the blog available in web searches, etc, he laughed nervously and said, “No.” His blog will be public to some extent but not totally. And I am not sure that is a bad thing.  I want him to be comfortable.  From that position of comfort, he will be able to explore and risk more in the future.

  1. Bee says:

    Most of the contacts I have made and developed in the past 4 years was through blogs I have read and commented on. As for 43, well, I do not really use it for networking but for language work. Sometimes I do find friends and comment on their posts, but this is not my main idea in class.

    As I commented on Anne’s blog, these platforms give learners a feel for a variety of informal language no textbook can capture. Recommending or describing places or people, making wishes, narrating stories, explaining, are all functions we use in our everyday lives So instead of practising this inside a closed environment, restricting it to an artificially created situation why not go for the real thing?

  2. patricia9936 says:

    I think we can expect student to say “No”. Some learners dive into it, some are never comfortable with open environments; for other learners, an open environment, if they are not familiar with it, can often be rather intimidating. Their writing in their second language and ideas are exposed to the whole world.

    I always ease them into participating in open environments and see how far they can go, how far they are comfortable going. It varies with each class and each student; let’s not forget that each students is different. However, since I believe there are benefits to it and Bee has nicely pointed out that instead practicing the skills in classrooms, they can do it with a wider audiences, I try to lower their inhibitions by talking and discussing openly about the advantages and disadvantages.

    I think we are heading into a world (school/workplace)where most of learning, networking and other job related communication will be done online and students need to be comfortable in and familiar with these environments.

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