“How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” – Seth Godin
opinions on the purpose of Social Networks vary greatly from person to person. Some will describe them as a distraction, self-indulgent, pointless or even dangerous. I can see their point. Do I really need to know what dish you made for supper and be forced to look at an Instagram of it? Do I really think that the sporting event I am attending is SO important that I need to share it with the whole world? Does the world really need to know that I’m leaving my house unattended for the weekend while I’m visiting my family out-of-province? I suppose the obvious answer to these questions is ‘no.’ I must admit I use Social Networks in these ways, but there is one more way that I use Social Media that has changed (continues to change) the ways I connect with others.
For the most part, I see Social Networks as a way to ask questions to people who would otherwise not be able to hear them. On the flip side of that, I also see them as a way to hear the questions of other’s and to help where I am able too. I will illustrate my point with a story. The other day, a friend of mine asked on Facebook if anyone had a multi-region DVD player that they would be able to lend him so he could watch DVD’s from England. It just so happened that I did have a multi-region DVD player sitting in my backyard (don’t ask) and I was more than willing to allow this person to have it. This was made possible because: 1. He was able to ask the question; and 2. I was able to hear his question and respond.
I guess this is something people have been doing forever through bulletin boards and the like, but these have a limited range in the people they are able to reach. Social Networks increase the range of my questions AND my ability to see the questions of other’s. As a future teacher, I think one of the most important lessons a student can learn is to ask questions. Student’s need to be taught that their Facebook and Twitter accounts can be used to help with their homework or with questions they have. I think to ignore the usefulness of Social Networks is to disadvantage yourself in a world of collaboration and interconnectedness. Social Networks have allowed me the opportunity to be connected to a number of very smart people related to my fields of study, but have also allowed me the opportunity to hear the needs of others and to respond where I am able too.