Virtual Trinket

A classmate mused that the majority of her friends on facebook are extras, collections, souvenirs.  SomeDSC00867 of my friends collect friends as well, having easily over 500 friends on their facebook site.  Perhaps I’m only one of their trinkets…   Amid the rising tide of passwords, login codes, updates and commentaries, what is the meaning of all this collecting?

5 thoughts on “Virtual Trinket

  1. I love it, Cori….

    What a powerful post on the changing nature of relationships in a digital world, huh? People are mistaking “connecting”—which is easy in a world full of Facebooks and Twitters—with “connections,” and in the end, we become nothing more than a bunch of virtual trinkets for one another.

    Have you thought about the impact that this has on today’s student? Should classroom teachers be responsible for teaching students who are already connected how to make connections?

    (BTW: I don’t have the answers to these questions, either! They’ve just been rumbling around in my head for awhile.)

    Rock on,

  2. I believe life is defined by relationships. In the digital age, some people may mistakenly believe that means they gain significance by showing how many friends they have. I still believe it is the depth and impact of my relationships that defines my success.

    I’m also interested in hearing your answer to Bill’s questions. Thanks for offering this insite – I wouldn’t have thought of it this way.

  3. Cori,

    Your musings are the core of my unrest with social networking. How much so we really expect to gain from ‘knowing’ 500 friends? Is this just a continuation of high school popularity contests? How many of these people are people you or I can count on, or really call a friend?

    That being said, I think that in the education trade all bets are off. Many professors have repeated the phrase to me – “Why reinvent the wheel?” I think there is tremendous merit in having a large network of colleagues and people in the know who can help us to keep a finger on the pulse of society and the ever-evolving needs of education. This is a gigantic resource with which to draw from, and until this class I had very little idea of where to begin to look to network and share with other teachers.

  4. With mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, or Skype, it is easy to stay connected. These mediums, as I’m discovering, provide new and rich ways to connect both professionally and personally. Though I’ve no doubt connections can be made using these mediums, I need to examine my role in helping my students understand the difference between superficial connections and genuine bonds. I must help my students understand that true bonds are both reciprocal and honouring; I am morally responsible for teaching students how to bond. To my students, I am more than a teacher, I am a friend, a confidant and a parent. For many young adolescents, I may be the only significant adult in their lives. When a trusting adult is present in a students’ life, the student gains a greater capacity for resiliency.

    Many youth do not have the opportunity for being in a secure relationship. Superficial connections, do however, offer a space where youth may feel they risk nothing and find a sense of safety. I must model self-management, teaching my students the difference between deep bonds and superficial connections. If students can learn to self-manage, asking for help and risking others knowing their fears, then they may begin to critically examine their connections as they too, begin to understand themselves.

    Self-care and authentic bonding come through time, from listening, from patience, and from understanding a young person’s story. If I do not teach students how to bond, with themselves, with each other, with their communities, with their histories, with their changing world, and bond well with each other in the process, then what will become of the students who have no choice, or believe they have no choice, but to connect only as someone’s trinket?

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