"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Impressing an Invisible Voice

So we were asked who are friends are on social media and you all learned how invisible I am.  My imagined audience is in my classroom from 7:05 until 1:52 each day and they are very lively.  I would guess 90% of them are not invisible on line while my voice stays silent.  This week I have reflected a great deal on my resistance to social media, my perceived fears of being public and the implications of creating an identity.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”… we know this isn’t true, so now I think about “what goes on line, stays on line”, very true and this persistence scares me.  Even now as I post to this blog I think about my words and wonder who might read this blog outside of our classroom.  Thanks to Dr. Boyd’s video I am going to focus on the magical number six and assume they don’t know me.  In case they do I’ve cut and paste my picture into my profile, a newbie to blogging, who didn’t think about putting my dog’s picture there, or changing my name, the very first day instead.  So I’ve already touched on how easily things are replicated on the internet.  Now they know exactly who I am and that I am an invisible newbie, transparent in my own words.  If they were to search for me would they find someone else who has claimed my name?  Maybe it is good that my picture is here to say who I am.  Perhaps I am also vain as I sit here and worry about the scale of my voice.  In the big picture of the internet I am undoubtedly putting more value on my words than someone else would when they went to cut and paste and decided my words weren’t worth the click.

So I think back again to my classroom; my audience.  In this day and age I know teacher student relationships are changing due to social media.  Although warned off Facebook by administrators that do police the site (we’ve had teachers reprimanded for posts), we have been encouraged to use Edmodo (you saw it in class this past week).  Personally, I am not looking to communicate with my students after hours unless by invitation.  Many teachers give out cell numbers and answer questions late at night.  My cell number is mine until you walk across that stage and earn that diploma.  When I go home at the end of the day I try dutifully to draw the line.  My family knows how invested I am in my students, and how the line blurs at times, but that doesn’t mean I will be chatting with anyone besides my family at night.

So I consider myself in the workforce; my colleagues/friends.  In education our professional development has become less “developed” as we are asked to complete modules online.  No longer do we travel to different school and get to pick which professional development sessions may apply to our classrooms, where we can meet and chat, face to face with colleagues.  Instead we are to join “communities” and chat online, share lessons, share resources, and share knowledge.  Where I used to be able to sit and catch up with a human I now communicate with an avatar.  It may sound bitter, but I reflect that I am not bitter, it’s easier in many ways; better on my budget too as I don’t have to spend gas money to travel, nor do I have to eat out on these days.  It keeps me in my safe little world where I follow the directions and isolate myself from the social situations that sometimes stress people. 

So I wonder about how social media would fit into my life.  When and why would I use it?  How often would I access it?  Who would my friends be?  Maybe between Edmodo and this blog I have already begun to establish myself.  Whether I choose to sign on to a social media site for fun in the future is still undecided, but my friends will know when I do. 


  1. Hi Lisa - thanks for sharing your thoughts about online identity. Besides our class, I think there are a few alums--Joann, Nathan, JG--who have posted or commented. You're right, we probably only have 6-7 of us reading it on a regular basis.

    When I first opened my Facebook account, I was acutely aware of audience and what I have come to know as "collapsing contexts" (danah boyd). These days, I have figured out the norms, adjusted, come to feel more natural about posting and lurking. I really enjoy it and consider it an integral part of my social life.

    Anyway, I think you might enjoy social networking, too, and I would certainly enjoy staying in contact with you!


  2. Hi Lisa, I really like your posting, especially when you talkes about how social media blurs boundaries. I agree with you that the boundaries might be one of the major reason why people resist to social media. On one hand, it takes family time or other private time to socialize with people you have been with for a whole day. On the other hand, it may lead to over sharing, which may endanger either one's job or one's social relationships. Honestly, the boundary is where I have problems in terms of social media. I know some instructors regard the number of students who facebook them as a measure of intimacy between teachers and students. But I don't want my students go to my FB page and see my picture of going to a vocation on a beach. Anyway, it is a tricky.

  3. Another excellent conversation on boyd! Thank you Lisa and all for running with her work and applying it so thoughtfully to your own worlds. I think boyd will be required reading next year. I'll blame you guys.

  4. Just a quick note here. I love your photo. I see so many posts of photos and illustrations and while I see a lot in my mind, I'm not very good at finding these to add to my posts. I agree that social media blurs boundaries. I don't Facebook much, in part because I don't think I have that many friends that would follow it. I think I first opened my account to make sure someone else didn't in my name. Interesting that I established my identity to ensure that someone didn't hijack it. I agree that the boundary between student and teacher is necessary, especially when working with adults. I have to blur the line a bit in my classrooms to help create an environment where students feel I am accessible. I always give students my UR e-mail in case they have questions, because I don't want them to feel that they've lost contact with me once they leave the classroom. I teach them the support they receive from the manuals they have (they have online support for a year from the company that makes our manuals) and reassure them that they're not alone out there.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.