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Archive for January, 2008

                  friendliest-face-in-facebook.gif                           

It’s pretty hard not to follow the campaign activities this winter. Sure you may be tired of the media blast already and it isn’t even Super Tuesday. But being committed to my political hopes for change, I’m anxious to see the unfolding results, even if the media analyses and conjecturing pundits offer a daily dose of tedium and minutia.

What has caught my attention this election season is whether or not the use of networking technologies (i.e., MySpace or Facebook) can impact election results. Will there be a correlation between election success and the use of these technologies? Will those using them capture more of the voting power of some 100 million Facebook and MySpace users? And finally, does having more friends in your network translate to more votes? What a great doctoral thesis this would make for someone, I think.

Look at what was noted in a PBS story 6 months ago: “Obama has more Facebook and MySpace “friends” than the other presidential contenders: 250,000, which is about 100,000 more than his main Democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton, N.Y., who leads in traditional voter polls. Almost every major Democratic and Republican candidate has personalized Facebook and MySpace profiles, adding information ranging from lists of their favorite books to campaign promises.”

–from PBS Newshour Extra, with Jim Lehrer, for students, 7-25-07

Even more interesting is a very current 4+ minute audio clip from Minnesota Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” evening program, by Curtis Gilbert, from January 24, 2008. I heard it last night on the way home from work, and decided it would be the basis of my blog post today. If you don’t exactly understand what MySpace and Facebook are about, this will get you quite filled in.

audio-icon.jpg Senate Candidates Learn the Pitfalls of Online Politics.”  Or you can read the transcript.

It’s not all a huge love fest when it comes to using these sites though. Remember that these sites are a two-way send. That means that anyone can post a response, adding a layer of screening efforts on the part of campaign staffers. If the post is accepted, the whole world can see it. It becomes a question of screening, if not censoring, vs. allowing appropriate/acceptable Web language/etiquette. Some candidates encourage the open, free debate, even if the comments are deleterious. Additionally, with the use of these online technologies, candidates have to decide which friends to add. Just because someone requests to be added, it doesn’t mean they are a “friend,” or even a person at all. Enter SPAM, particularly with MySpace, which is why so many candidates (and people) are choosing Facebook instead.As for me, I did set up a MySpace account two years ago. However I wasn’t prepared to be connected to pages of people who had content racier than my Baby Boom sensibilities would permit. For example, I accepted my (then) 27 year old nephew, whom I adore and respect,  as a friend. But then I went visiting his friends, and after just one additional degree of separation, I was viewing pics and getting links to themes beyond my personal comfort zone. Thinking if anyone linked to these pages off of mine, it would be a reflection of me and I promptly discontinued having an active account.

Well, now I’m showing my age and am ready to get back on the horse again because it’s time to abandon (not completely) that old way of thinking. If Al Franken can do it, by God, why can’t I? He and I grew up in the same hood, after all. And besides, like him, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. :)

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Phil Ice posts on PLE applications 

Just yesterday, an individual named Phil Ice posted a comment on a Sloan-C wiki, which I think repesents the best explanation of what a true PLE (personal learning environment) would or could be. He thinks it may be 2-3 years before anyone truly gets there.

PLEs will be an perpetual topic of this blog, as I continue to scan the Web for good information contributed by our own peers in education.

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Good golly, miss Molly…a teen turned an $8 investment into a million dollar empire providing custom layouts to users of MySpace. The importance of personal networking space inspired this teen to develop a Web site for MySpace users where they can purchase all sorts of fun and colorful custom widgets and layouts, without knowing any tech code. The site, Whateverlife.com, offers “add me” buttons, “message me” buttons, welcome banners, contact tables, and a whole lot more, in addition to the array of customized MySpace layouts.

I know I’m lurking more than participating in many of the social technologies lately (they are coming at us so fast), but I’m amazed at how smart many of these young users are (this one in particular). Their know-how with networking technology is most definitely teaching us a thing or two as we decide on the merits of these tools for academic applications. 

Check out the now 17 year-old teen’s rags-to-riches story.  And check out the her Web site at whateverlife.com.

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                                        Image of moving truck

Well, my first bout of guilt has hit me knowing that I haven’t posted for a while and time just keeps passing by. So here’s my bonafide excuse. Besides having the holidays upon us, I moved on December 27th. I took a few weeks off to get the job done and my blog posting went to back burner status in favor of packing and unpacking activities. I’m back at work in full swing now, so hopefully I can get past the catch-up hump (how many hundred emails), and return to posting. Don’t lose hope. And Happy New Year!

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