Friday, June 19, 2009

Online Personality Cleanup: Goodbye MySpace.

Contrary to what most people think, summer can be the busiest time for teachers. Aside from taking care of all the personal tasks we neglect during the school year, it’s often a time for reorganizing, cleaning, prepping and planning for the school year. I’m taking a few moments this month to clean up my online personality; to organize all the virtual clutter in my life. First item thrown off my boxcar- MySpace.

I’ve had my MySpace account for about 3 years. I hoped on board the idea of social networking as a way of easily communicating with people I couldn’t very well hang out with when I lived away from home. As more of my friends and family members set up their pages it did become more exciting, but then Facebook came on the scene. When all my MySpace contacts were on Facebook, plus some, it became evident it was no longer necessary to keep two social sites; I opted for the more popular (and much more user-friendly) one. Goodbye MySpace, off the train you go.

I’m glad I had one though; any teacher who wants to have a thorough understanding of social networking needs to really dive in and explore it for himself. I remember the awe and sudden respect my middle school students gave me when they found out I had a MySpace account. (Of course this was always followed with the inevitable question, “Will you be my friend?”….but that’s for another post…) Readers if you have not yet created a MySpace account I encourage you too…but then chuck it and go to Facebook.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Online Personality: Admittance is the first step....

If you only have an engine with no cars you’re likely to go so fast you might miss something- something important, humorous, or inspiring. But too many cars on your train will slow you down, and then you’re left wanting, never able to completely catch up.

I MySpace, I Facebook, I Twitter under two names, I blog, I Ning, I have over 300 messages from 30 various feeds on my Google reader a day….and I still feel like I’m not keeping up. I know to keep up with the world you have to keep up with technology. To keep your job, to even get a job these days one has to understand the innovation of what’s on the web and how to manipulate it for your own personal or corporate gain.

But I’ve come to believe that I have too many cars on my virtual train. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I realize it isn’t healthy for my family to have me glued to the computer all the time, but I feel guilty not keeping up with all my rss feeds, I feel like if I don’t check my email several times an hour, or read every critically perceptive tweet, I might miss something crucial to my existence….or at least crucial to my next day.

I have 82 friends on my Facebook. Eighty-two. I’m not sure there are 82 people who care about me enough to want to know what I’m doing everyday; and I certainly know that I don’t care what 82 people are doing on a daily basis. Why do I have it? It is because of the convenience of an online address book? Or is it because it’s a sure fire way of getting a hold of someone and keeping in touch without having to put forth any effort of a real relationship.

When does too much online personality begin to overshadow your real self, the authentic you; the one who closely guards (or used to) her privacy with discretion? Has our society embraced this social media circus because we genuinely care about others?

Or is to further our own ego with, “Here look at this! Look what I have, look what I did!”

Haley from high school- I didn’t like you back then, you never paid attention to me and I don’t care how talented your children are now, what you ate for dinner, or when you started your last menstrual cycle.

Katie from work- we had so much fun last year, I call you and you never answer, we never meet for coffee anymore, but you update your status three times a day. What gives?

I have a huge online personality, and all these nifty tools meant to enhance my life and make things easier are in fact slowing my train down.

.....I need a makeover.