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Adding 'friends'

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Started by Toni Twiss 19 May 2011 3:52pm () Replies (16)

Hi All

Just wondering how others are feeling about the idea of adding 'friends' - the term not the concept.  This has been an issue for a number of teachers and there has been confusion around the concept of a friend being more a connection within this context.  I tend to agree.


What do others think?




  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 19 May 2011 5:50pm ()

    I got all excited - and felt like my teenage daughters collecting "friends". 

    On a deeper, more meaningful grown up level, I think it's okay.  We understand the lingo as "friend" is now synonomous with "connection" in social networking, which this is.  Our cluster meeting today commented that we liked the more informal nature of the VLN and the fact that we could be more "friendly."

  • Toni Twiss (View all users posts) 19 May 2011 6:28pm ()

    Thanks Annemarie - it's really good to have a different way of re-framing it :)

  • Dee Reid (View all users posts) 19 May 2011 8:00pm ()

    Kia ora :o)  This thread caught my eye, and Toni has convinced me to contribute to the thread!  Ultimately our different perspectives inform how we interpret the word 'friends' - I like the essence of this thread, and in my true to 'me' style, I will probably stay sitting on the fence, and do so quite happily.  I am happy to 'add friends' when I deem them to be 'my friends', yet in trying to establish relational trust with partcipants I have not yet (and most likely never will) met f2f, I'd hate to make an 'enemy' by denying their request to befriend me!  The informal and casual atmosphere within the VLN is appreciated by me, yet in the context of how I am currently utilising the VLN, I would like it if there were perhaps to be an additonal option to select from (i.e. don't get rid of  adding 'friends')  for the more formal contexts in which we are utilising the VLN for.  Maybe we could select to add someone as an 'online collaborator', or 'associate', or 'networker', or 'VLN fellow'.....there are endless options really!  Again, it could be the language being used or the way in which the term is interpreted that is the issue.  In real life, I can count using the fingers on one hand, how many 'friends' I really consider as friends, yet according to my son's facebook page (and to some extent mine too hehe) he has hundreds...some of whom he doesn't even know their name!  Hehe.   Gen-Ys for ya. 

    Cheers, Dee

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 20 May 2011 12:30pm ()

    Good points, Toni, Annemarie and DeeLaughing

    I think we all know what a real 'friend' is - and the purpose of 'friends' on this site is to connect with colleagues with whom we are comfortable, so that we can learn, develop thinking etc.

    We are the managers of our own networked world online.

    IMO, I tend to accept friend invites from people I know, or at least know of through someone else. If it is a total stranger, or their profile is blank, I do not accept. I sometimes ask them to add a few details so I can find out more about them.

    It's worth noting that, because our networks are public, you are also telling your other friends, that each person you are connected to is OK.

    There are several measures in place to stop spam on this network, but you may still be invited by people you are not sure you know...so...

    Facebook publishes the following guidelines:

    • Make Contact. Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to determine the authenticity of a friend requests is to simply write the person and ask them how they know you .... Ask them what your shared interests are and why they are friending you.
    • View Their Profile. Find out a little bit about the person who is asking to be friends. Does their profile seem genuine and authentic?
    • Shared Friends. Is this person a friend of someone you know? If not, be a bit more leery of accepting the friend request. Even if they are a friend of someone you know, you shouldn’t just accept the friend request without further investigation. Since many people just accept friend requests without any thought, it’s likely the person who appears to be a friend of a friend really isn’t.
  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 20 May 2011 12:50pm ()

    I heartily agree Karen - and say the same to my family.  However, I assume (without being an "ass") that it's a little safer here.

    I spent time yesterday getting four people onto the vln and they were initially happy to rush through and stay as shadows. I encouraged them to be real people so that others would connect with them.

    Even although you may not have been a "friend" or connection before, in this context many of us are looking for people with whom to discuss issues like this current one, to find information or compare experiences in e_learning.  I might find that I enjoy corresponding with you, on this basis; and it's good to know a little more about who you are and where you're coming from. 

    In our classsrooms with blogs or wikis, or forms of social networking like this, we want to reach a global community.  So we want to connect.  And we want to know some more about people here, who we assume, hopefully pretty safely, are here for professional discussions and not to steal my life savings( or sell me handbags or sunglasses, ay Karen....)


  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 20 May 2011 12:58pm ()

    Hahah...agree, Annemarie (and you had me laughing out loud, too!!Laughing

    You make a great point that we will make connections - friends - through engaging with content/discussions that we value. The learning first, then the connection. So it works in a couple of ways. Well put.

  • Toni Twiss (View all users posts) 20 May 2011 4:37pm ()

    Hey some great food for thought here!  I personally get the whole 'friend' thing in the context of this online space.  Initially I was surprised when people I didn't know at all wanted to 'friend' me - but as you said, Karen in the Facebook guidelines I went back and found what the connection was and realised we had a connection and we joined up.  Also, the term friend initially put me off connecting with people who I didn't know but did have a connection with as I felt that I was coming on a bit strong wanting to be their 'friend' - but I got over it pretty quickly - interesting I guess to acknowledge those initial feelings and note that the initial response is different for different people.

    My experience when introducing new people to this site is that I am hearing loud and clear that the term adding 'friends' is a major off-put for some.  I can see where they are coming from - many are new to online spaces and often don't have facebook or connect online with others so this is all new territory.  

    I will use this discussion forum as a resource to share :)

    Keen to hear others' experiences also.

  • Florence Lyons (View all users posts) 25 May 2011 8:32am ()



    this morning I got this in my inbox, it might be interesting to read





  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 25 May 2011 9:42am ()

    I saw the same post, Florence, and thoiught of this thread, too:-) Thanks for sharing.

    I think it makes the sensible point that language changes, as times change. The focus seems to be on defining what 'friendship' is, and possibly mourning the loss of clarity from years gone by (although language has always been an evolving medium...).

    I think we all know what a real 'friend' is, and understand that, in a virtual space like this network, that the term is more akin to 'colleague' (although some of our colleagues are also our friends!Laughing

    Or maybe, to some, it's not that clearcut?Undecided

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 25 May 2011 10:16am ()

    Great comments to think about in this thread everyone and thanks for the link Florence, very timely. As a Facebook user, I don't think I had an issue with the term 'friends' in here. I like Zimmer's comments when he says, "...inherent flexibility of language taking on new guises over time."  I think I just transferred my thinking here.

    I've 'friended' people I know (in the real world), actually friends or people with whom I've got something in common - ICT PD. I wanted people to be aware of the activity in the ICT PD group and in turn wanted to connect with people to engage in discussions, share ideas, find and on-share gems, get inspired with new ways of thinking and new ways of working - having friends made this easier. So in this context, I consider people to me my educational friends and colleagues.

    I've never thought having multitudes of friends is natural or manageable, hence there are still several people (most I don't know) 'pending' friendship invites in my Facebook account. I hope they're ok in their suspended state of animation. Maybe it's a generation thing - the 'look at me' generation would be excited to get past the 200 mark.

    Tess Smile

  • Florence Lyons (View all users posts) 25 May 2011 11:18am ()

    I think as you both said that languages evolved, in here  the word "friends" does not mean anymore "the person I will share my secrets with" .


    When I think about languages evolving I always think about the word "gay". When I grew up the word gay meant "homosexuel" so I will never tell someone that I had a gay time last night - However, my grandmother could say that as for her it meant she had a great time.

    Nowadays "it's gay" means "it's lame". What I found very funny is that the people of around my age cannot comprehend that the meaning of the word has changed for the younger generation and found the use of "gay" offensive; when themselves would not use the word gay with its firts meaning (=happy). I wonder why people do not accept this shift!!!???


    Also about the friends, I think it is cultural. As a French (sorry about that !!!), I do not have the same meaning for friend as other people do here in NZ. But because of teh inernet and social networks (globalisation of languages), the word friend  has now the same meaning online in French and english.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 01 Jun 2011 12:39pm ()

    As I have just started a new group ot would be good if I could have the option of inviting my friends from one screen rather than having to go through each letter of the alphabet one at a time.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 01 Jun 2011 1:54pm ()

    And also- seeing I just started a new group today on Collaboration it would be really handy if there was a widget that shows so is actually in the group with their little icons or eggs showing on the home page of the group.

  • Hayden Shaw (View all users posts) 01 Jun 2011 3:13pm ()

    There is an area underneath all the links on the left on your group home page that shows the members of the group :)

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 01 Jun 2011 5:18pm ()

    Cool- I see that now. Is there any way of making it so you can more than the first few people who have joined up apart from clicking more??

    It would give people more of an idea who was in the group.

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