From the Juxtapose This! department:
Two meditations surfaced in the past few days on the ethics and issues of putting yourself "out there"—in the cyber-limelight, so to speak. These are two radically different sides of the same Web 2.0 coin.
Will Richardson posted about a New York Magazine article called "Say Anything." It delves into how growing up with the internet has shaped a new understanding of privacy, personal history, and sense of self for the current generation of young adults. Their sense is that the world is a stage; and they’re not only the players, but playwrights and audience members as well—simultaneously acting and writing and documenting and cheering and booing and building up and breaking down in a great messy, creative, collaborative maelstrom. Or feast? Lines between public and personal get blurrier every moment. This worldview is far removed from the careful, measured approach to privacy typical of the "adult" generation of teachers. As Will says:
This is one of THE big disconnects that I think we are just starting to wrap our brains around. It’s absolutely what most teachers I talk to find so incredibly difficult about using these tools, the “putting myself out there for other people to see” part.
The article identifies three shifts in how today’s young adults parse public vs. private:
They think of themselves as having an audience.
They have archived their adolescence.
Their skin is thicker than yours.
An aside: These insights should find their way into the various iterations of Christian Long’s great Future of Learning manifesto that are happily dopplegangering around.
Kimberly Moritz recently wrote a pair of posts on her G-Town Talks blog about the unexpected byproducts of having a blogosphere audience, of putting yourself out there. As a thoughtful voice with solid insights on being in the principal’s seat, she’s starting to get noticed. . . and to get invitations. She writes in "Does Blogging Lead to Other Opportunties?"
Something interesting is starting to occur and I’m not sure how to handle it. I’m beginning to receive invitations to participate in things outside of my normal realm. For example, I’ve been invited to present at an upcoming technology conference, to participate in teacher candidate development at a local university, to write monthly on another blog, and to participate in a couple of surveys and studies. These invitations have all come about because someone noticed me through this blog.
As she tangles with the thorny question of how to handle these opportunties, these surprise out-of-town guests banging on her door, she doesn’t come up with a definitive answer. But, in her next-day’s post, she does boil it down to what for her is the essential consideration:
The only other direction I can imagine traveling is one that can impact even greater numbers of kids. But I don’t know what that would be and maybe that’s back to the readers’ comments on the previous post. Perhaps accepting invitations outside of my normal, comfortable work life leads in those directions.
It’ll be interesting to see where she goes with this, and to watch her model a balanced approach to the unexpected fruits and pitfills of life in the blogosphere. If you’re a lingering skeptic who thinks that blogging is a sterile venture, an exercise in solipsism, check out the interplay in these two posts between Kimberly and a spontaneous, supportive community of commenters offering reflective listening, gentle advice, perspective, and encouragement. Especially note how her thinking changed between posts, and how her readers’ comments helped her identify the essential underlying principle that will guide her decisionmaking.