Tuesday, September 04, 2007

virtual friends are they disconnecting us?

all this talk about tools for networking and being connected in communities leads me to ask the question are people feeling disconnected as they strive to become more connected?

You may be interested in an article I read recently. here are a couple of excerpts:

"Jason Calacanis wishes he could be your Facebook friend, but he just can't. ....Calacanis now has several thousand friends, with more requests streaming in daily. He's tired. So on his blog this summer, Calacanis, 37, declared a Facebook moratorium. In the future he'll outsource his friend management to an intern."

"Ogheneruemu "O.G." Oyiborhoro ....is the George Washington University junior who holds the school's title of most Facebook friends -- 3,456 and counting." BUT who is the friend who helps him find an apartment....not his facebook buddies.
An Unmanageable Circle of Friends Social-Network Web Sites Inundate Us With Connections, and That Can Be Alienating
By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 26, 2007; M10

I have recently decided to spend more time with real flesh and blood, physically accessible friends and to ring fence my virtual networks as the number i belong to is taking up more and more time and impacting on my domestic harmony and peace of mind. I wonder if anyone else is feeling the same?



Debbie said...

It seems that the more 'social' you are online - and that doesn't necessarily mean talking to people, even just the time it takes to lurk, means you can become increasingly antisocial offline. As people post more blogs, articles and so forth, the more time it takes to go through them. This doesn't happen in on-campus courses unless of course, there is an online element. There would then have to be some adjustment for the workload the online element entails - both for the facilitator and the student. Just a thought - if you don't manage to go through them all, what does this do to the student? Is this the expectation that you do, and if you don't, what does this do to your motivation and confidence?

David McQuillan said...

Wow. That's a great article, and so relevant to some thoughts I've been having lately.

I don't completely agree with the argument that online involvement in social networking causes disconnection.

Life's a balancing act. If I allow my work to consume my life that has an effect on my relationships external to my work. If I take on a significant role of service in a cause which I think is important, then the same thing occurs. Involvement in online networks is no different.

My experience is that often when I first experience something that I enjoy I tend to dedicate quite a bit of time to it. After a while this becomes dissatisfying, and I rebalance my life so that this thing/experience/etc. takes up an appropriate amount of time/space.

I definately get a lot of benefit from my online connections. They provide me with different information/learning/experience than my F2F relationships. I wouldn't like to give either of them up. :-)

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Bron, what I have noticed we're doing at home is that we're (my two teenagers who are studying and my husband, who is doing work related to his job) sitting around the table with our individual lap tops/computers and working on personal projects but physically together. We talk to each other as we're working. Sarah

Sarah Stewart said...

The other thing that strikes me is that I have made friends with people initially online, who I now see face-to-face - if I had never had the online relationships, I would have missed out on the real life friendships.

bronwyn said...

In another course I teach, some of the students get quite upset if we
dont comment on their blogs. It is not enough for us as the facilitators to just read - we have to leave a comment otherwise the students think we aren't paying any attention to them. It is similar to a f2f class where the
teacher keeps ignoring the student with their hand up isn't it?

So I believe there is definitely an expectation that the facilitator/teacher reads student blogs and comments. If the student is ignored it may impact on confidence and motivation depending on whether the student is
intrinsically or extrinsically motivated and also on their level of self-efficacy with the mode of communication. also on the belief they have in their own abilities. (attribution) - all these things are interlinked aren't they?

of course this leads us to the concept of teacher presence and how
important it is online. There is debate about this. i believe it is extremely important - what do you think? I put a post on my blog around teacher presence and personal learning environments.

bronwyn said...

David you make a very good point that online and f2f interactions are a balancing act. Yes if we are selective we can get the best of both worlds and I guess that is what skilled facilitation is all about. doing something you enjoy and ensuring others have the opportunity to have an enjoyable time as well.

sarah has the key to helping balance family life. "if you cant beat them join them" and I take your point - online relationships can lead to f2f friendships. its almost as if the online interaction breaks the way for the relationship to develop f2f in some cases.