Learning new questions socially

I've known about Facebook for a long while without being curious about it. When I read last month that outside developers could now create new widgets/API's for Facebook subscribers, I still had no questions. When I read recently that nearly all college students are now on Facebook, I got a sense I would be looking into this soon. Then some of the bloggers I subscribe to started exploring Facebook last week. Now I have new questions to explore. Particular people were investigating personal questions. I learned my new questions socially.

First, Cammie Bean wrote Getting Psyched for Facebook which got me wondering about the differences between Facebook and blogging for professional development. Then Michele Martin wrote Facebook, MySpace and Class Divisions. She gave me questions about the harm of the digital divide, depriving others of access and benefits, and elitism inherent in the enrollment. Dan Roddy added to my questions with Facebook How? Why?. Dan's satisfaction and amazement with connecting to his established friends in this new way -- made me more curious about the value of Facebook to those who are getting into it without hesitation. Dan also asked some fabulous questions about "so-net" software getting applied to the development and dissemination of training. Dan linked to a zdnet article which clarified some questions in my mind about the entrepreneurs launching ventures through widgets in Facebook. 

Wendy Wickham then shared her anxieties in Fiddling with Facebook. Wendy helped me question how Facebook serves those in college, and recently graduated, differently from mid career professionals. She also raised questions in my mind about the differences with LinkedIn and the concept of "friends" that Facebook is based upon. Yesterday Jon at Education Revolution posted  SLDS: An Acronym this time which exuded his excitement about the viral potential of Facebook to disseminate education, to equalize access and to make educators scalable. Cammie then posted links to her podcast interview with Kineo's Stephen Walsh.

All this is an example of "life is my PLE". Not much value occurs to me by learning about announcements of products, changes and data. Lots comes from people who are pondering personal questions. I'm thrilled that the questions I'm using are changing, improving, and evolving from this process. I'm not focused on the sources of expertise in my PLE, I'm dwelling on the benefits that emerge from them. I'm not locked into a long term exploration of "Facebook" that would set up subscribed searches, a wiki of resources or even a blog category. I'm exploring Facebook provisionally. The impromptu nature of this is as appealing to me as the learning that's emerging from the social fabric of us.

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  1. I like linked in but its really not that useful. Its a static directory of names which I cannot even access without paying them. I like and facebook for contacting people free. I like congoo because of the industry news too. My two cents.

  2. The most revolutionary way of contacting people that I use is email. Even the social networking sites which I am sick and tired of update me by...


  3. Facebook seems kinda' scary to me. Here is an excerpt from their terms and conditions:

    "By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

    The last sentence seems to be in conflict with the "perpetual" nature of the license.

    This came to my attention by way of a presentation called "Does What Happens in the Facebook Stay in the Facebook?" The link is here:

    On the other hand, I like NING. It is built to be extended from the start and allows users to create their own "Facebooks" or "MySpaces".


  4. Richard and Taran: Thanks for your comments.

    Roger: Thanks for the excerpt of Facebooks TOS. I agree its scarry when we value our content as intellectual property. You got me thinking about the possible reasoning behind this "violation", which gave me the idea that Facebook's mission may be "helping every subscriber keep in touch more easily". In that case, content is a means to an end, not an end in itself like it is with blogs and wiki. The content cannot be protected as is it passed through newsfeeds to friends of friends of friends. So their lawyers probably posed the challenge "Which is more important: protect the content or facilitate the networking?"

  5. The truth is, I haven't seen much "content" on FaceBook. Perhaps the potential is there, but no one is yet executing it. I see the value more in the networking. So -- is there any real content to protect?

  6. Great question Cammie! The more I understand Facebook, the more I would expect there to be no content, on connecting, relating, keeping an eye on, and keeping in touch. Your observations are confirming what I've begun to expect. If anyone started putting content up in there, I suspect it would be a blogger with our predilection to benefit from content.