Friday, January 02, 2009

Status Bar as a Learning Tool?

I love Facebook. It is, for the social butterfly in me, the best way to keep up with and connect with folks. Little blurbs of activity plaster the pages of Facebook and through multi-clicking of the mouse I am privy to a snippet into the lives of those I care about or am networked with in some fashion. The idea of the “status bar” fascinates me most. From the “status bar”, I know if Marc is watching football or playing games. I know if Sandra is off to the store or paying bills. I know if Evan is watching “Pinky and the Brain” or studying theology. My question is, do I need to know this? Or perhaps am I looking at this “status” tool totally wrong. Perhaps the “status” bar is really, well—an art form. Stay with me here…

As someone who values “good” writing, I find it challenging to create a succinct, informative, yet voice-filled “status”. It is remarkable what you can learn about a person through his/her “status”. Here are some examples:

A.B - wants to know why a woman in her 30's still loves White Castle cheeseburgers.
C.D. - is glad the holidays are finally over.
E.F.- is praying as I watch our teens ski down the big hill...no ER visits this time...please!
G.H.- wishes just the kids could go back to school on Monday and I still could have a few days by MYSELF!!!!!
I.J- is home. R. is fine. We are telling him "chicks dig scars." All is well.
K.L.- is watching house in japanese videos cuz he's so desperate to see season four.

Each status tells a story or is a window into the personality of its author. It is as if each author is crafting, for his audience, a concise synopsis of his current condition. Isn’t that what writing is all about - creating voice for your reader so that he wants to read on, investigate further or simply care about what you are writing, even if it is written in the vernacular?

Perhaps, as educators, we shouldn’t dismiss unconventional writing forums as rubbish, but instead embrace them as potential learning opportunities. How about a mini-lesson on writing an effective “status” on a social network? Talk about engaging the students—now there’s a topic that would grip their attention.

No one can deny that children are writing more today than any generation before. It may not be the writing of our ancestors (or even our parents), but we must acknowledge, as well as address, all writing forums as opportunities to hone the craft.

3 comments:

anniegirl1138 said...

I think that is one of the things they urge you to do when you are pitching a story - summing it up in a single sentence. There is merit to be found in writing no matter the forum.

Rob said...

Except for text messaging. I would ban that. "ur" does not equal "your" or "you are", for example.

Just my pet peeve, I guess.

Marc Abla said...

It is an incredible learning tool. I have been able to keep up with people I haven't seen in years. Sometimes I know more about them just by their status writings:

I know that a friend of mine from Northern Indiana enjoys her quiet times, but loves it when her husband returns from a long truck drive.

I know that an attorney friend of mine in Michigan (that I haven't spoken with in a very long time) is just crazy enough to sit in the car with his family and sing to David Archeletta (sp?).

I could go on, but I definately learn more about people quickly... and I am drawn to want to spend more time with them. In fact, we are planning a short trip up to Northern Indiana to get with many of our friends for a reunion of sorts. It is an incredible forum of information and writing. It should be encouraged, because whether we want it or not - some form of online social networking is here to stay. This is just the first step to the next tomorrow.