Mindful Social Media (via Beth Kanter)

Came across this, this morning courtesy of a Google+ share from George Brett, a person who I’ve kept in contact with since the early twitter days and I’ve been following Beth Kanter off and on for a while too. I’m including this Slideshare from Beth’s Blog and then will make a few comments afterwards.

Mindful Social Media

View more presentations from Beth Kanter

The message is simple – or so it seems to me; don’t let technology drive your life. We all know that is good advice, but increasingly find it hard to resist or avoid. The cases of how disruptive technology can really disrupt relationships and real-life are plentiful, So, we need assistance in getting back to real and meaningful engagement with social media, and with life itself, and also the place our work time effects that relationship with both our friends and colleagues.

So … we grab for our mobile devices at any time we don’t appear to be doing anything else, on the bus, on the loo, before we go to sleep; but the act of doing this is a replacement for doing something else – observing, reflecting, relaxing! Take the test that Beth sets you and you may be upset, or disturbed. I certainly didn’t end-up at the Mindful end of the scale! In addressing this (if you perceive you then have a problem) I particularly like Howard Rheingold’s Mindfulness cartoon, reproduced in this slideset. I was introduced to the idea of nine calming breaths by my sister and certainly the awareness of one’s breathing could be a useful antidote to anxiety-raising constant connectivity, having objectives and re-viewing and re-prioritising them, and re-focusing are things we know we should always be doing, but sometimes the social media trap gets in the way and drags us down into doing things just because they’re presented to us. The lesson again – don’t get driven by the technology.

The penultimate slide is both instructional and frightening. Ponder for a moment and consider the coping mechansims that you could put in place; and then finally, the feedback loop to enhance attention and hopefully to improve both state of mind and productivity is both simple and achievable – you can change behaviour!

Finally, and a personal comment with absolutely no rigorous scientific basis … could there be a link to Learned helplessness here. Is our coping mechanism to bombardment from social media streams an introduced self-imposed control, a process we put in place to protect us – “I do, therefore I am, and therefore I am in touch”. Just a thought!

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How Facebook threatens “the social network” [UPDATED]

It won’t have gone un-noticed to any readers of this blog that I’ve been quite impressed at Google+ – what it can do, and more important what it could be possible of doing to our use of social networks. I’m particularly impressed at the implied movement away from the “social graph” to what has been described as the “interest graph” and the focus on task-related posting rather than people-focussed posting. In fact the demise of Google+ which has been trumpeted by the tech media press is almost certainly the result of posts disappearing from the “public stream” with more selective posting to Circles. A success story therefore you might argue for anyone who values their privacy.

Copying is said to be an indication of success too, and we’ve seen a “re-launch” of Posterous, trumpeting a feature that was always there which looks very similar to Circles, and of course there’s been the changes to Facebook. These have been thick and fast over the past few weeks, culminating in the announcements last week. First of all, I have to hold my hand-up … I’m not a great, nor active, Facebook user. It’s just too complicated to get the privacy controls correct, and as they keep on changing things, there’s just that nagging doubt always present in my mind that I might inadvertently be sharing something with people I don’t want to share with. So what goes on Facebook (from me) is generally of little interest to my “followers”, or it is factual and not likely to cause me any concern. But all that’s just changed because Facebook wants to change “the social network”, hold even more information about you – which you can’t get out without deleting your account, and wants to share that information with even more people that you don’t want to share it with.

Every time Facebook changes the timeline, or your profile, or whatever, a groundswell of complaint can be heard “from those in the know”. Of course Facebook probably doesn’t care about them (us) anyway – they’re more interested in the information they’ve trapped inside the Facebook firewall provided by the far greater number of users who don’t know, or who prefer not to know, what they’re doing. However, this time there’s been an up-welling of comment that beats most previous announcements and I thought I’d share some of that comment with you.

First of all take a look at the summary of features listed here. [If you want a sickening few minutes (you won’t want to stay to the end) watch the video of Mark Zuckerburg’s launch address.] “Is Facebook trying to kill privacy” – well yes it is, and this is seen by their view that “the social graph” should be open, so that everything you do can be made visible to just about anyone – read a review from Wired here. All those apps that you’ve allowed access to your Facebook profile, well now they will be following you, and what you do, even though you’ve not given them permission to do so – read Phil Bradley’s excellent post here, and as he and others have commented – it’s shameful that The Guardian has signed-up to this invasion of our private lives, and I’ll be even more worried if The Independent follows suit.

Two more links I ought to share with you as well are this one, detailing how the social reading apps will work, and this one which gives very wise advice – never leave your browser logged into Facebook, the cookies may be tracking everything you do.

[UPDATE: The storm doesn’t seem to be abating – @briankelly this morning (26/09/2011) tackles some of us who were tweeting that Fb is a walled garden with a riposte that suggests Russell Group (and presumably all Universities) can not afford to ignore it as there are so many fans using Fb Groups and suggests its not a walled garden anyway. However, my doubts are beginning to firm up even more and you ought to read “Facebook’s New Features Might Not Be as Private as You Think” and some of the comments that follow to help you come to your own conclusions.]

So … I’ll be reviewing my applications on Facebook again. I won’t be taking any of the new features and if I’m forced to change I’ll be deleting my account. My “followers” will always be able to find me on Google+ where I can then decide whether I want to follow them, or more importantly, post updates to them. I suspect The Force will remain undisturbed by any actions I take!

Thinking the network

I may be on sick leave at the moment but I cannot stay on a duck within this blog for another day. So here goes…

Perhaps I’m too ambitious. I want to get everyone in my school (Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies) networked learning. I am often pondering new ways of bringing the unwilling to the table. I’m not talking about the ‘digital natives’ (oh how I dislike the term, but you know what I mean). There are plenty of students for whom meaningful use of ICT in University is very limited and asking them to do more results in the familiar ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look.

So here’s a thing: what does networked learning activity look like?

It’s a bit easier because we’re not talking about what happens inside people’s heads. To be networked learning, it must include something that happens viz someone or something outside of the individual. If you would like to suggest something or comment, I’ve posited this question over on my networkedlearning.blogspot.com but I really dont mind where you end up. Thanks for reading – er… yes that ‘counts’… 😉