Your Autobiography in 140 Characters!

Whenever I was going to write as a kid I did not like it. Who was going to read it? Who wanted to read it? And what would anyone want to read my written work? With these questions in mind it was extremely hard to write about anything without a passion to do so. Writing became a difficult task for me, a chore almost and it took some time to get out of that funk.

After this week’s readings I think the 10-18 year old Adam of the past would have enjoyed his written assignments a lot more. Utilizing a blog would have opened up a new door for me and given my written work some meaning. Someone, out there, on the internet would have liked to have read what I had written.

Clive Thompson states in his article: Why even the worst bloggers are making us smarter.

“Having an audience can clarify thinking. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face a real audience, you have to be truly convincing.”

I agree whole heartedly with his statement and I would add that if you are utilizing connectivism and backing up your opinions with legitimate information from multiple sources and connections made through networking you will be taking the steps to becoming an expert blogger with a valued and informed opinion.

I have to admit I greatly dislike casual debate. I think when we partake in it we see two sides that have valid points, in most cases. The aspect about it that I do not like about debate is that it triggers the fight or flight switch in our brains. What I have observed in past debates is people get really emotional and either walk away or become overly defensive and aggressive. The only way I want to engage in debate or opinion based chat is through writing. Sure you will run into some of the same tendencies BUT you have the opportunity to mull over arguments, research and come up with an intelligent way to respond in a constructive manner.

I also thought it was really neat how blogging can lead to collaboration. I thought it was really intriguing how Ory Okolloh had wanted a “mash-up” program that used Google Earth to show where destruction was happening and was connected to David Kobia who then created the program that many now still utilize. These kinds of connections that are made through blogging are creating points of collaboration that would have been difficult to make without the use of the Web and blogging.

The Non-Fiction Collage That Is You Online

“Social media is a bit like a high school locker but turned inside out. This is what I love, this is what I want others to see about me, this is what I’m feeling.” -Terry Heick

What struck me about the article When Student Writers Learn That They Must Make Their Audience Care by Terry Heick I realized I had been writing for quite some time. Postings on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has been a fairly regular occurrence but what I never really realized is the fact that I had been writing a point form biography for a good ten years.

I have shared a number of things on Facebook in particular: videos, articles, and updates. Everyone that I am friends with can see what I am posting so I am pretty picky about what I am posting, liking, and saying online. I do this because of some of the ways I see people utilizing their social media. If I looked into their public “lockers” I see some great things. I have also seen some not so great things that people have posted slandering other races, posting uneducated opinions about the political climate of Canada, and overall and abuse of “freedom of speech”.

These are the types of things that we as digital citizens need to all be aware of when we post. The internet is not a private diary where you can air your dirty laundry. We need to educate the future generation about positive digital citizenship so that they are aware that many people will come across their postings. If they are posting in an educated and considerate way their online persona will be taken seriously by others.

In my first year of teaching I had a student come up to me at lunch hour, she had her phone out and said to me, “Mr. Williams, Look at what (a certain student) posted about you on facebook.” I took a glimpse and the posting said “Mr. Williams please get hit by a bus” I wasn’t bothered personally by the post but what really bothered me was the fact that if the student was utilizing this kind of language about me online, what were they saying about some of their peers? Comments like that can be damaging for a kid that is 11-18 when it is shared on a public forum. So I did manage the situation in a positive manner in which I had a chat about what was posted with the student and we talked about positive digital citizenship. The student was very uncomfortable with the whole situation and realized what they did was wrong but if it was not talked about it may have continued. In the same breath there were a number of likes on the post and when I the previously mentioned student showed me all of the likes I was pleasantly surprised that only 1 student of 33 in my class that year liked it, a couple students that had not known me very well from the other class liked it, and a number of other people who had no idea who I was liked the posting. I found that really interesting. I thought that this story was a good example of digital citizenship and how it is utilized in a negative light.

It is an intimidating responsibility that students have to maintain a positive identity online but if we, as educators, help to harness the ability to post constructively and positively I believe that future generations will be able to utilize the Web in a great way! At least those are my hopes for my sons and their online citizenship’s!

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