The Facebook Quandary

 

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A couple of weeks ago I received a post on my Facebook timeline from one of my mother’s good friends back in St. Louis. She was sending along best wishes given the crazy amount of snow we’ve received in a very short period of time. Now, my mother has been gone for two and a half decades and I still miss her greatly, so it’s heartwarming that her friend still thinks of me. It’s wonderful to see the friend’s name on my alerts as it reminds me of the 60s and 70s with my Mom. 

There’s much to like about Facebook, still the king of social media. In addition to joyful reminders of days gone by, I am friends with scores of former students from my classroom days and I get to pore over their joys and successes and read their accounts of what they remember from my classroom long ago. (Now there’s probably a research project there.) On Facebook I see vacation pictures of family members and close friends while laughing at the latest exploits of my Goddaughter as she navigates the world of toddler-hood. 

But there’s some silly stuff too.  My calendar is set to document the birthdays of all of my 460 Facebook “friends” and I often receive notices of many whom I have never heard of. Of course, why are they my “friends” anyway? I must have confirmed their “friendship” at some point. 

There’s also plenty of unsettling pieces of Facebook. There’s criticism of people I care about on Facebook by persons with little knowledge of the facts. There’s post by “friends” of mind that have alarming points of view that I don’t want to be associated with. 

It really is a quandary. Your thoughts?

2 comments Add yours
  1. Bill – You bring up a great discussion about the quandary of Facebook and other social media connections, especially in the role of educational leadership. Facebook does have some great benefits in allowing connections to be made in a way that keeps your finger on the pulse without the formality of person to person contact. Your mom’s friend for instance is not someone that you are likely to make a regular connection with, but FB allows for the meaningful connection with someone possibly across the world. My fear is that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Any institution (it is scary to see FB as an institution) will have its pros and cons. Take marriage for instance. There are wonderful marriages and their are not so good marriages, some that last and some that do not. Can we not make a similar argument saying that because some marriages are not valued, because of infidelity and domestic violence, that we should not go down that path? Like anything, FB is an opportunity to make connections and use for positive means. I have seen many schools embrace FB for positive and professional social interactions. I could have used the different example of cell phones in schools. Some schools have banned students from having them and others have embraced the educational enrichment that a cell phone can offer. We live on both ends of the educational paradigm. I prefer to promote what is just, right, and good and not spend as much time trying to limit the things that could be misused. I thank you for your post!

    1. Hi Ryan,

      You are correct. Most institutions, programs, and entities are both positive and negative and typically amoral. The Internet itself fits that moniker. I like your open and positive mindset!

      Bill

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