An interesting conversation unfolded on Twitter between two distinguished members of our university. It followed the announcement of a Facebook workshop for faculty and staff that seemed less than timely considering the declining trends of high school and college aged Facebook users, our primary market.
I captured this conversation between a director in the IT academic technology unit and a professor with expertise on K-12 school technology leadership, because it demonstrates the conflict many of us confront when introducing new media and technology in higher education.
[This was a ridiculous blog exercise and there must be an easier way to do this than with screenshots and I am now suffering from carpal tunnel from too much point and click, but I didn’t want to lose such great dialogue!]
6 thoughts on “Facebook is not rocket science?”
Deb -Scott and I approach the issue from different angles, but our goal to improve technology use in education is the same. It was a good, hearty debate. My only concern was for those who have been encouraged to only recently dive into social networking — harsh words don't encourage them to continue, and may actually encourage them to disengage. Not everyone is the power user that you and Scott are! :-)Jim
The different approaches are exactly why the discourse was so engaging. Thanks for your efforts to level the playing field, Jim, and thanks for your comment!
I often find myself straddling the digital divide demonstrated in this exchange with my peers and acting as a cheerleader for social media. I try to get to the crux of the issue with people who are afraid by pointing out that the real issue isn't tech, it's social. The tech can be figured out with a little trial and error (that proverbial 14 YO can do it). People are strangers in a strange land in social media because they are deathly afraid of violating some hidden norm, or using words incorrectly and then facing ridicule and scorn. Social Media pundits have themselves to blame for this – think about how many blog posts and conversations and workshops about social media over-focus on someone making a mistake. If we could all talk about the issue as a social/relationship/tribe issue and not a TECH issue, the problems come right up to the surface where they can be dealt with. Also – lay off the horror stories about people making fools out of themselves. People do that in all manner of places including online.
Deb,Seems both sides are right, one side just needs a little help in tactful phrasing! (obviously, I can be of no help in that area.)The truth is, 'tech' and 'social' are rapidly becoming one and the same. Star Trek or the Jetsons… pick one, it's coming. With that said, we need some of what both are prescribing – 'Tech Training for Dummies' and 'Tough Love for the Timid.' (NOTE: Both the words 'dummies' and 'timid' are used with much love.)Whether it's in higher education, student activities, baking cookies or just walking aound, folks of the 'left behind the tech curve' generation better man-up. And when they do, we need adult-learner courses ready to receive them with open arms. And yes, maybe even coddle them a little.PEACE.
Thanks for your comments, Ben. You are exactly right. If we could present social media and networks as the "relationship", perhaps individuals would be less critical or hesitant to put their feet in the water.
I think that you may be right, Rick. It's like the old adage that the only dumb question is the one that isn't asked. If folks are willing to wade into social media, we should be willing to throw a line and hope that they grab on. Thanks for your comments!