Thursday, January 10, 2008

Idiots redux

I have discovered FaceBook.

Now, my students have discovered me. My policy is simple: I will not initiate by "friending" them, but if they choose to "friend" me I will accept. A number of them think this is very funny, and have chosen to do so. I spent a fascinating hour surfing their photo albums, walls, and quotes.

The amount I can learn about them is amazing. In what is perhaps the scariest example of this, the student hasn't Friended me, but I can see his prom photos (through one mutual friend) and his end-of-school-party photos (through another mutual friend.) I now know what his house and pool look like, whom he took to the prom, the names of his non-school friends, and what his parents look like. I can deduce many of the people he considers his close friends, based on proximity in photos.

In another example, I know (from reading his Wall) exactly what one of my students did for his 18th birthday. I wish I didn't know. It won't get him into any official trouble with me, but I can't help but let it color my perception of him. Perhaps disillusionment is good; I tend to be overly optimistic and a little naive about my students. Still, I think I was happier that way.

So are they being idiots when they allow me this much access to their lives? That's what I've been pondering all evening. More on this tomorrow.

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