The Pitfalls of Social Networking

I’m an idiot. I know you’re saying I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but really, I am an idiot. Let me explain. I’m researching social networking because I need to know just what is so special about it and just why is it so damned important to my students.

I get texting. It’s basically the digital version of passing notes in class except you don’t have to be in the same classroom. My wife and I text each other when we are trapped in one of those boring, redundant, stupid professional development classes we are sometimes required to attend as educators. What do we text? Basically how boring, redundant and stupid the meeting is.

I have a MySpace page. That was my first look at social networking. It’s basically advertising to the planet that you are alive. It’s just very high school. As a result, my page says to go away. No wonder I have no friends. But then, I’m not in high school. I have a Facebook page. Which is less high school, it’s college. It was started at Harvard by college students and now is open to anyone. Most the people there are either in college or recent graduates. Since I’m a recent graduate of a masters in secondary education, I feel like I fit in better than I do on MySpace. I have 7 friends on Facebook.

So now to look at the fastest growing social networking site: LinkedIn. This is for people who really want to network to get somewhere. It’s for career advancement. Not like the job search sites that help those looking for a job. This one is for people who have a job, are successful at it, and are looking to advance. Perfect. Something for my age group. So I decide to import my contacts and select a few close friends to invite the way I did on Facebook. Careful exploration and nurturing the perfect online community for me but selectively building my friends. Somehow during the import I hit the wrong button and accidentally sent an invitation to everyone I’ve ever known, whether I liked them or not. My page says I have invited 253 people.

I’m an idiot.