Mightybell: Being Public Online

12 Jan

Today’s Mightybell deals with online behavior and possible obstacles to having a personal web presence.  One of the concepts mentioned was the idea of habits and attitudes, which was coined by Angela Maiers as “habitudes.”  So I wrote a brief comment on the Mightybell’s site and decided to post it here with a link or two and extend it a bit.

I have enjoyed contributing online and for the most part have enjoyed my fellow travellers.  The biggest hurdle I have faced, and still face, is administrators who are scared to death of content that they can not control.   Add a few stories like the ones about Ashley Payne and Dr. Talvatie-Siple and it  puts a real chill on social networking and sharing anything!  And this is where the habitudes kick in.

As content creators we have to own what we put out.  This takes a lot of courage.  When I was blogging anonymously, I was able to write much more honestly but I was not able to really help the people that mattered most to me.  Or help anyone outside of the blog.  So now I write with more sensitivity and more responsibly.  As an anonymous blogger I could hurl out ideas, even some very good ideas, but I didn’t take as much responsibility for what I was saying as I do today.

The best example of the worst sort of online habitutes cultivated by anonymity is Youtube comments.  Dial up any popular video and read the comments.  That sucking sound you hear is civility being being sucked out of the universe as people leave stupid and hateful comments.  And this happens as well in the blogging world,but for some reason Youtube had a bigger population of degenerate haters.  However, sometimes the feedback is brutally honest.  When I have posted a video that was kind of crappy, people did not hesitate to tell me exactly how crappy is was.

As a professional, I can’t afford that same level of honesty without being willing to back it up in some way.  But I am also more conscious of the person on the other side of the screen.  They had the courage to put something out there for others to see and comment and even if it isn’t the best, they did create something original.

And that is something that we need to do with our students; all of them.  Encourage some risk taking and creativity, while at the same time making sure that the feedback we offer is constructive and honest.

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