A colleague of mine asked me this question today. Here’s my reply:
I think it is possible to be proactive with technology and social media, because I think the growth of social networking is plateauing. In preparation for our group assignment on games, I have come across this business researcher, Seth Priebatsch, who says:
For those of you still trying to wrap your head around the meteoric rise of social networking over the past decade, this post might hurt a little bit. Because just as you and most of the world were getting a handle on it, the decade of social abruptly ended.
I don’t mean that we will stop using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to share with our friends, colleagues and families. In fact, quite the opposite is true, our combined usage of these social networks will continue to increase. Rather, the decade of constructing the social layer is complete. The frameworks that we’ll use to share socially are built, defined and controlled. Construction on the social layer ended with the launch of Facebook’s Open Graph protocols over the last several months. All the interesting social stuff that will occur over the next decade (and there’ll be lots, I’m sure), will exist within this predefined framework built and controlled by Facebook. In short, the decade of social is over.
What’s taking its place? The decade of games.
I really believe that we are at the end of a cultural infancy with the onset of social networks and that this is as bad as it’s going to get. Anyone anywhere can take a picture of anything with a miniscule camera and have it on the internet in nanoseconds. “Privacy is dead. How can it possibly get any worse?” I heard CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi say those exact words at our library conference a couple of years ago. Here’s one of his podcasts on the topic: http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2012/04/27/is-facebook-watching-you/
Now is our time as parents and educators to take a stand against inappropriate behaviour and to demand that the privacy of each person remains with that person. If I ask you not to take a picture, you stop. (In my case, I don’t allow any pictures of my double-chin or with a drink in my hand to be posted.) If I ask you to remove a picture, you stop. At the same time, we know that this instant fame is also affecting behaviour in a positive way. Remember the Vancouver riots and the consequences for these young people?
With the plateauing of social networks, our school boards, our unions, and the law need to negotiate some very strict cultural and legal guidelines to protect us. To not take this crucial step, leaves us, as I said earlier, unprepared for the consequences of social networking.