4/22/2007 05:24:00 pm

I've recently joined (and created) a few ning social networks; mostly as a result of different projects I'm involved in. The networks are typically small; made up of people I know or people whose work I'm familiar with. In most cases we've been invited by a third party to collaborate.

Anyway, shortly after becoming part of these networks I started getting "friend requests" from different people on the network. Now in these small groups that we're working in, where some of us are meeting for the first time, working together on a larger project, it sort of makes sense to me that everyone is just being friendly and wants to be friends with everyone else. I like that. I like working in collegial environments.

Some of these invitations to friendship are from people I've never come across which is kind of flattering. The thing is, one of the invitations came from a person who, in their profile, said that they know nothing about the network they had joined. They just wanted to see what develops in the space. When I look at the profiles of some of the folks inviting me to friendship I see 500, 600+ friends in their personal network. 500 friends? Who has 500 friends? Maybe my definition of "friend" is too restrictive but, as a friend of mine pointed out the other day, these folks may just be building mailing lists. (Smells like spam.)

I suspect this is the sort of group Graham was talking about a while back. There's also a distant echo here from Bud's recent post.

... are these meaningful, two-way partnerships, or are we lowly teachers being taken advantage of a little bit?

Photo source: IMG_8118.

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  1. Anonymous27/4/07 22:22

    Huh. I hadn't thought about the parallel between my comments and my potential over-friending on Ning. But you're right -- I certainly can't meaningfully keep up with everyone that I've friended.
    And yet, I think I want to keep fiddling around in the space, mostly as a listener -- there're lots of new voices there.

  2. Darren, I'd love to find ways to get involved in collaboratively developing something on a ning social site. So far I've been primarily involved in Library 2.0 and Classroom 2.0 and even those involvements are limited. It might be a lot of fun to start a project and see it through to completion instead of just "chatting." I don't mind having a lot of friends; it's more than I've ever had in real life. But thanks for alerting me to the possibility of spamming.

  3. Anonymous28/4/07 14:31

    Like I said, I may just have a very restrictive definition of "friend."

    I think ning provides an opportunity for like minded people to get together around a common interest or to work together on a common project. I don't see being part of a ning network in itself as being valuable or beneficial for me.

    I do see potential in ning for building a community around a common interest. I can see it playing a role in this year's K12 Online conference. That might be a project in line with what you're thinking of Andrew.

    As far as "over friending" goes Bud, I declined two requests because their unbelievably large group of "friends" made me think befriending them would bring on spam for me. Now, I may be wrong about that, but that's the impression it made on me.

  4. Be judicious who you befriend - be it MSN or on twitter. I have had a few followers that I have had to block. Just like in meatspace we just don't get along with everybody.

  5. Anonymous29/4/07 23:57

    Good advice Quentin. I'm thinking the same thing. ;-)

  6. I followed your links to Bud's post and left a comment there too. The SoCal Google Academy just ended.It was a great experience on a lot of levels. It is about sustaining learning, connections with educators, great ideas and staying inspired.
    But at least for me there is another idea...Bud question's the certification concept..I ask where else do we turn for 2.0 education and putting some kind of legitimacy to what we are doing. The University programs I have looked into are not up to goes back to a post from will quite a while ago...What paths are there to receiving knowledge and how do we recognize them...I am a private school principal and I want to move 2.0 education ahead in my putting "google certified" after my name opens doors or more specifically people's minds. Could it be more rigorous...yes but it is a good start.