Are you Network Nervous? Do you suffer from Web Worry?
Do you have anxiety about privacy in the 21st century in the wake of all the connectivity and collaborative experiences?
And last, but not least, does your decision about what you share on the internet have more to do with your level of technology proficiency or just a natural desire to keep every part of your life as private as possible?
I'm certainly not going to challenge anybody about their beliefs, especially when I'm working with teachers who have different views of collaboration and connections. But I do think it's important to start considering just how "dangerous" being connected is.
The fact is, a lot of what people believe about internet safety is rumor and/or urban legend. While it may be hard to change the minds of the most die hard "island mentalities," the fact remains that publishing a blog, being seen on Twitter or Facebook, or using other Social Tools are not too much of a stretch beyond what is already known about a person. Phone numbers are published, street addresses are published. Without your knowledge, ANYONE can log onto the internet and get turn by turn directions to your house. (And an aerial map!) They can find out virtually any public information that may have been published. In fact, you should "Google" your name in combination with your hometown or address right now and see what's out there!
People are more transparent than they think. The web is making things easier. The more you know, the more you "play" with the available tools, the more apt you are to appreciate the breadth of its usefulness.
That doesn't mean that posting pictures of your car with a blatant license plate square in the front is a good idea. Likewise, you may want to think twice before posting pictures of yourself in a skimpy bikini by the beach or chugging down bottles of Pinot Noir with your friends. Professionalism and good judgment are not meant to be suspended when you decide to become a contributing web citizen.
All I'm saying is Don't Be Afraid. Consider the Pros and Cons.
What do you have to gain by having a strong internet presence?
Classroom ideas? Resources? A Support System? Think all of this and more. Miracles happen in classrooms when we step "outside the box." Remaining an island in a land of interconnected continents can't work for much longer. You can shut the door, but how long will technology stay out of your world before you plug yourself in? How long will the "what-ifs" keep you in the dark? There's a whole universe of positive connections and possibilities and resources and applications right at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is be willing to jump in and try it out!
What do you think about being a contributing member of the Internet at large? What are the roadblocks you deal with when deciding how you'll maintain your web presence? What would help you be more confident about using the internet as a networking tool?