Our First “Social Network”

With the movie “The Social Network” recently released (I have yet to see it) I have been thinking about how it started. Even though I have not seen the movie, I have heard from several people that if they knew the history of Facebook then they would not have joined it. However, they still have a profile on there.

Then this past weekend a best friend and best friend got married. I stood up with them and I was very honored to do so. Many would say that eight people on a side is too many. That made the wedding party to be 18 people including the bride and groom. I was a little worried with that many people and how I would fit in. As the date got closer I started to find out who everyone was. Friday night I saw a program to see the names. Every single person, again 16 of us, had the title “Friend of the Couple.” No siblings, no friend of just bride or groom. We were all friends of both of them. I continued to look and as the weekend went on, I realized that all 16 of us were also friends. I never really thought about it until we were all together.

This simple (well, simple for me and not the couple) celebration was to come together to rejoice in these two wonderful people in getting married. However, where did they meet? Where did any of the wedding party meet each other? SCHOOL!!!! We are all friends that we ha met in college. Which got me to thinking. . . . .how many of us have friends BECAUSE of school?

Now I know that many people attend church and you have your social network there, but that is a choice. School, for the most part, is not a choice. So we force students together. So they make friends. If they didn’t have each other then they would have difficulties getting through the work. We force them together, to be social, to get along. . . . yet we hear, “Please be quiet”, “I’ll wait for you to stop talking”, “The weekend is over we need to do school work.”

Do we say these things too often? Think about it. For many people reading this, the internet was not around when we were in school, so that was our first social network. That is where we met people and found others with common interests.

So I guess what I’m saying is, the next time you demand silence in your classroom, or that they can only talk about your topic in your room, think about it. Are you trying to stop those connections that we all have? Are you trying to tell them not to use their networks?

What you should be doing is teach students how to be life-long learners and know how to manage their talking between work and play. We all do it. Use our social networks to live and learn!!!

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About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
This entry was posted in Education, Social Networking. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Our First “Social Network”

  1. I struggle with that concept myself. On one hand, I have a natural aversion to loud noises, as do several of my kids…but I do understand that the reality of the world is that no adult is expected to be perfectly quiet during a presentation. Look at any staff meeting and you’ll see people quietly discussing things here and there. There is also the reality in my school of bullying and sexual harassment, which has occurred on many occasions during these times of relaxed silence.

  2. Excellent thoughts. I loved to have conversation in my classroom, and tried to make sure it was always appropriate. Occasionally I’d have to correct those that went too far. I do believe that school is the number one place to make those connections. In fact, most of my friends on facebook are people I met in school. That includes former students and teachers. The original social network is still there and strong, but now we have more tools to use in making it stronger.

  3. Lisa Read says:

    Excellent post– some of my very best friends are those I met in grad school. And what draws us together? Shared experiences. What keeps us friends? History, mostly, that affinity that brought us together in the first place, and a common or shared experience. Just like the wedding will be a new bond amongst all those friends. Very cool.

  4. Pat says:

    This sounded like a wonderful day and not wasted. I wish our schools could do that. I always wondered why a student who was suspended due to behavior issues couldn’t attend classes this way instead of being rewarded by having a day off to do nothing and watch TV. I also wonder why homebound students (due to medical issues) couldn’t attend classes this way too. Thanks for sharing this day with your readers!

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