October 27, 2007

Facebook Friday

First, a costume update: Matt's got done in time, and is, if I do say so, AWESOME. Of course, he has to go as the same thing for every Hallowe'en for the rest of his natural life, but it is nicely done. Someday--maybe next month--more on the tools that made it all possible. Laura's is also done, Emily's is about half way, and mine is ready to cut out. I don't expect to be online all that much before The Day arrives, what with trying to get them done.

But, yesterday, I did do some goofing off. I finally took Facebook for a spin, and I like it. Not least because there is a whole collection of people who are not on MySpace that it's sort of fun to keep track of, i.e., former speechies and former students. Now, there's a fine line that people who work with anyone who's underage have to be careful of--for instance, no matter what social network I was on, I would never ask to connect to a current student. If they came to me, depending on how I felt about it, we could be "friends" or whatever. With graduates, though, the line gets pretty fuzzy. The whole power relationship still comes into play; I wouldn't want people to feel like they had to connect to me because I might still write them a letter of rec someday (or just because I once had their grades in my hands). And I also know that most people don't obsess that much about who is and isn't on their friends list. Whatever. I restrained myself from sending notes to everyone I remember fondly, and just stuck to some of those with whom I spent the most time (besides, I like to think I'm honest enough to realize that just because *I* remember a student fondly, doesn't mean it goes both ways!)

Things that I think are much better than MySpace: layout is not what counts; the interface lends itself to simplicity. There's no "top friends" feature; they are defaulted to show a random smattering anytime anyone looks. There's a "news feed" feature that lets you know what other people have changed/done/added without you having to go to each individual's page. Finally, it's possible to find people with their actual names, and look at who *their* friends to see if you've got the right person....certainly a larger security risk, but also much easier for connecting with folks you haven't seen in 10+ years.

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