Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's the exchange that counts!

Social networking media offer the promise of easier, more immediate connections, a truly fluid way sharing of ideas, but do they really deliver what they promise?

I’ve recently joined Twitter and although my Facebook “friends” only number in the mid to high 2 digit range, (unlike my niece who claims her network has thousands of friends…. Is this really possible?????), I’m beginning to wonder if I really want to “follow” or even be “followed” by so many. I mean seriously, I’ve read more than enough of the mindless drivel that is posted on these sites. I do want to know what Barak thinks so I signed up to follow him, but I am less interested in the fact that he took Bo out for a piddle around the White House lawn at 11 pm before he called it a day and hunkered down for the night. Do people really believe that anyone out there cares that they are cleaning their bathrooms today?!

While blogs provide us with a wonderful opportunity to share our thinking and to connect in different ways that face to face encounters may not accommodate, what is exchanged counts!

Blogging, facebooking and twittering are in their infancy. Maybe, learning to blog is a skill that needs to be honed. It might be like the first time I tried editing on imovie. I was so excited about all the fancy schmanzy scene transitions and loop-de loop font finkles that I forgot about the real story I was trying to tell. The end product was a whirlpool of fade-to–slide-window-drifting and scrolling madness!
With information as the currency in the new digital highway, critical thinking and fluent communication skills have become more important than ever.

Check out this site, Center for Media Literacy, that proposes a lens through we might approach teaching Reading and Writing. The 5 key elements that advocates of this approach believe are important to instill in our students are as follows:
1. All media messages are constructed.
2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language
with its own rules.
3. Different people experience the same media message
4. Media have embedded values and points of view.
5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or

As we are often swooped in the minutia of daily chores, routines and obligations, we need to consciously and deliberately set aside time in our day to reflect if we want to be open to the “having of wonderful ideas” as Eleanor Duckworth puts it and be valuable contributors to the knowledge pool.

Here then is the challenge: Can we harness the power of this great new medium by offering different perspectives, fresh innovations and deeper understandings or are we going to succumb to the allure that the larger audience out there in cyberspace really want to hear about our belly fluff?