Hashtag This Facebook!

Yes, yes, yes, I learned that Hashtag is not something for one's pipe nor is it a code used in Facebook language. On Thursday, March 23, I attended "Your Online Presence" as part of the Queens Art Express Boot Camp Series in coordination with the LEAP program.  In a nut shell, best practices for social media.

My first sentence in my notes was "funny how a workshop on my online presence is about teaching us to become more human!" I heard the words collaborate, connect, and be personal. I walked in and out an ironic skeptic who blogs, uses facebook, occasionally tweets, and at the same time feels that "social media" outlets creates a super fast human connection without the tactile human part. I had to marinate in this one for a few days and I realized that I actually left this workshop better informed and inspired to bump up my tweets and add more meaningful friends. I started to re-examine my blogging skills and compare them to the archaic art of writing. Both hopefully get better with more practice. I heard there is a blogging etiquette and I was advised against long paragraphs so it's time for me to punch the 'enter' key.

During this workshop, I facebook 'friended' the person sitting next to me (fellow LEAPer), followed one of the panelist on twitter and began to tweet with him as I wrote out my notes in my binder. I was multitasking. Feeling more connected, but less like a fully listening human. I was confused, afraid, and feeling like I was betraying humanity as I was becoming submerged in this online community. I am a part of an online cultural phenomena which is becoming more of our reality. As an NYC Dept. of Education Teacher, I learned that all the right money is in technology. My students are able to FB, BBM, and practice pirouettes all at the same time.

The last bit of information I heard was about building connections online or virtually, but then we were encouraged to go meet people in order to make these connections more meaningful. Feeling like I should proceed this route with caution. I had simultaneous visions of craigslists killers and the 1960's free love hippie communes. The wheels started turning and I couldn't help but think about our human obsession with colonization. The earth, unclaimed land, the moon, outer space, and now the infinite cyberspace. Is this an itch for us to lay claim? Can I resist the urge? Should I resist?

Three digested days later and some extra work that I have done to my facebook and twitter accounts helped me realize that I need to shut up and get on board. I am now able to reach a whole group of people that I never met. I realized that I have already made some valuable connections through my online accounts and I will continue to figure out how to make this experience more personal for me