Do you know that moment when you realise that you have made a complete turnaround and you do not regret it? That you are far away from your original intentions and it doesn’t do you any harm?
I have to admit, I used to be a bit conservative. Just that bit, you know, that lets digital natives shake their heads… I used to be a Facebook user with only real „friends“. Not that I would call all my original Facebook contacts friends. But at least I had met them in real life. I added only people who I knew. Former work colleagues, school friends, relatives living far, far away, friends living abroad, people from my home village (and there it practically impossible to deny that you know them. Them and their parents. And sometimes even their parents‘ parents). Now, how has that changed?
Two major things happened:
1) I am a member of a discussion board. Within that board, a small group had repeatedly problems with the owners and administrators of the board, for various reasons. I never haf experienced any trouble with them. So, after a while, this group decided to leave the discussion board and find a new and better place. But where should they go? Setting up a board on their own would have been a lot of effort. They founded a Facebook group and that’s where they still are and are quite happy together. I had gotten to know them a bit and wanted to stay in contact with them. So, I joined the Facebook group.
But, this meant that we went from nicknames and avatars to real names and real faces. A bit scary for the average German 🙂 Former anonymous exchange grew into a really good team. In the meanwhile, they are planning to meet in real life.
What made me change my mind? Self-check! Before making my profile viewable to „so many“ people, I thoroughly checked it myself. And, oh surprise, there were no pictures of expensive fancy gadgets. No address, no hints when I would not be at home, no duckface pictures with a lot of „female qualities“ which could give wrong ideas to some people. Seems I already had a responsible way of dealing with social media. So, why would it be a problem?
2) I came to this new thinking not a minute too late. About the same time, I had started the first online courses. In the Crash Course on CreativityI had worked together with people from around the world. With complete strangers I had worked in a team and we created presentations. And right now, for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures coming up in less than 1 week, the university highly recommended to get connected to other participants even before the course to benefit from the exchange of experiences. They also had sent a pretty long list of platforms to register with (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Youtube,…). And it was recommended to blog as well. The course is one of the reasons I am blogging here 🙂 Some course colleagues founded a Facebook and a Google+ group, listed all twitter accounts and started sharing inspiring content. Soon I had the first friend requests. Also I wanted to try Quadblogging which means you cooperate with other bloggers in a team of four and for one week, one individual blog will get some attention and feedback. Which means something in a course as big as the E-Learning and Digital Cultures, latest numbers say it is over 200,000 participants.
So, again, more and more contacts coming and as they are mainly from the USA, the chances to meet them in real life are little. But after all, they are co-students and in a real lief course you would talk about the one or other private topic, too. So it’s a good thing that I befriend them, even if it is „just“ online.
I now have loads of online friends. And I am fine with it! What’s the use of being friend with people you only know online? You mean, beside the information, inspiration, the getting-to-know other cultures? I could list many more things but the main issue for me was to leave some old principles behind. You know, Facebook does not necessarily bring envy in your life, it can be quite enriching.
How would you deal with it? For you, does it come naturally or is it worth a thought? Is it unimaginable or indispensable?
You might also like: Ary Aranguiz‘ post about „Fraingers“ (= worldplay: Friends + Strangers)