Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Sometimes I worry that the internet is creating a culture of meanness. One only has to look at the comments of just about any newspaper article to see horrifying meanness happening because it can. For example, I made the mistake of reading the comments under the story about the dad who stopped a bat from hitting his son in the head at a minor league baseball game. Commenters were ripping into the 9 year old boy because he was looking at a phone. Turns out, it was the boy's first baseball game, and he was texting his mom a picture to show her how much fun he was having.
Why would grown people feel the need to hate on a 9 year old boy celebrating his birthday with a day at the ballpark with his dad? What do people get out of that?
I have found, however, that the internet has made it possible for me to make connections with people across the country that I would have otherwise never known. Many of these connections were forged way back when on the English Companion Ning when it was a much smaller community, then migrated to Twitter where I had conversations and chats, and then, after meeting face to face at conferences, also ended up on Facebook.
These connections have made me a better teacher. They have shown me different viewpoints and ideas and help me to see the world in a new way. They have offered support when I needed it and celebrated with me as well.
I hesitate to list all of the connections I've made as a result of my social media use. I'd be too afraid to leave anyone off the list! These people know who they are. I hope.
Maybe I should tell them. :-)