Tag Archive: Facebook

Got dem Facebook blues

Facebook has its uses but more often than not leaves me feeling dissatisfied with my lot.
I wrote these lines to explain why.


plastic peopleAirbrushed timelines.
Glossy lives,
Sweet as magazines.

I scan the profile updates
of people I’d like to know
who already seem complete
without me.

See them having
flawless fun in closed groups
or perfectly poised in selfies.

In my room,
with no good news to share
I stare at the screen
at smiling faces
not like mine.


In November 2010, Zadie Smith wrote about the movie Social Network for the New York Review of Books.

This was not just a review, but a brilliant critique of the whole communicative, ‘let’s share everything’ propaganda machine which Facebook epitomizes.

Reading it again, makes me think how on the nose she was. Here’s an extract:

“With Facebook, Zuckerberg seems to be trying to create something like a Noosphere, an Internet with one mind, a uniform environment in which it genuinely doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you make “choices” (which means, finally, purchases). If the aim is to be liked by more and more people, whatever is unusual about a person gets flattened out. One nation under a format. To ourselves, we are special people, documented in wonderful photos, and it also happens that we sometimes buy things. This latter fact is an incidental matter, to us. However, the advertising money that will rain down on Facebook—if and when Zuckerberg succeeds in encouraging 500 million people to take their Facebook identities onto the Internet at large—this money thinks of us the other way around. To the advertisers, we are our capacity to buy, attached to a few personal, irrelevant photos”.

You can read the whole article here.


"I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn" - Albert Einstein.
My Wordle for Personal Learning Networks

Wordle for Personal Learning Networks

One of the effects of the abundance of online learning resources is the trend of coming up with new terms to define what we mean by education and even to question what its purpose is.

There are still relics of the Dickensian notion that students are vessels to be filled facts but, thankfully, this is a pedagogy that by and large belongs to the past.

Yet, although we like to think we live in a more enlightened age, the rapid nature of the change over the past two decades continues to be hard to assimilate.

Openness implies accessibility and an accommodating attitude so, all things being equal, these should be good times for teachers and students, life-long or otherwise.

So why do I feel so much doubt and uncertainty? Shouldn’t my mood be more celebratory? Continue reading


Jaron Lanier (photo:Jonathan Sprague)

YOU ARE NOT A GADGET : A MANIFESTO by Jaron Lanier (Knopf,2010)

With his dreadlocks and barrel-shape, Jaron Lanier looks like a cross between Peter Tosh and Jabba The Hut.

Eccentric, nerdy types like him were at the forefront of the first wave of the internet ‘revolution’ and are now being slowly marginalised by the suits with their business models.

This book could be subtitled ‘the geek strikes back’ as he rails against this new breed of web entrepreneurs, warning that these “Lords of the cloud” are taking the soul out of the net by monitoring and controlling how we lowly “peasants” interact online.

The hive mentality (“the hivey league”) which brought us Wikipedia and Facebook is seen as the chief reason why the intellectual potential of the net is being dumbed down, a process Lanier calls “digital flattening”. His central point is that “empowered trolls” and a collectivist mindset has come to supplant individualism with the effect that ideology replaces creative achievement. Continue reading


One of the participants in the  E-Learning & Digital Cultures online course invited people to post the first word they think of to describe Facebook. This is my Wordle of the first replies:

tricky facebook

What word do you think of?

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