Do you ever get the feeling that there’s just not enough time to do all the things you “need” to do?
Social networking through sites like Facebook and Twitter is seductive. Online social networking may be one of the most profound sociological developments of the twenty first century – but it can also be a terrible waste of time! In an already busy world it has made our lives even busier! ICT brings with it so many possibilities that it can be difficult to choose what to pursue and what to ignore. There’s simply not enough time to do all that we want to do because we are spoilt for choice!
This miriad of possibilities also brings into focus the distinction between “life online” and “life offline”. The term “In Real Life” or “IRL” is used, sometimes ironically, to refer to life “in the real world” as opposed to “life on the Internet”. This distinction makes sense to us because “life online” is a relatively new experience. But for children and future generations with no experience of the world before Twitter and Facebook, the disctinction, if it lasts, may seem a little quaint. More and more people form close friendships with people they never meet “offline”. More and more people begin relationships from a distance “online” that end in physical intimacy “offline”. At a recent DEECD PD session (PLP ConnectU) Will Richardson urged teachers to tell their students, “DO talk to strangers.” (Safely, of course!) He said that most of his best teachers were people he’d never met.
“You spend too much time on Twitter,” is a fair criticism for many of us. But it’s not because we’re ignoring “Real Life”. Twitter has become part of my real life – but it can play havoc with my time management, just like a good book. More importantly – even more than a good book – Twitter and all kinds of other ICT tools create entirely new and powerful possibilities that I never had before. That’s what makes them so exciting. Gutenberg helped change the world. It’s now the turn of a five year old – Twitter. Here’s some interesting writing on the topic:
Of course Facebook and Twitter, powerful and seductive as they are, must be balanced with our many other real life priorities.
There’s nothing more wonderful for me than time spent with my family. That’s an easy “offline” activity, but it happens “online” too.
I don’t like weeding the garden. That’s strictly “offline”, but I’ve still got to do it.