After reading a post by Kathy Schrock about trying out Facebok, I decided to give it a whirl myself. I had thought that it was only available to high school and college students and teachers, but I was surprised to find that they have over 1,000 work networks registered as well, Discovery being one of them.
I registered a new account at Facebook and found it much easier to get rolling than Xanga and MySpace. For lack of a better term, it’s much cleaner. Doesn’t feel so chaotic. It took me a few minutes to update my profile, upload a photo and start exploring.
After spending some time browsing through the Discovery network, I decided to go exploring. It seems as though you can only browse through your own network (the network you initially registered with), but you can search through any network on the site. I looked up my high school, but didn’t have any specific names to search for. I quickly discovered that the minimum you can search for is two characters. So by typing in "st", I was able to browse through profiles for every person at my high school with "st" in their name (94 people). This gave me an idea of what kinds of ways students are presenting themselves.
This brings up one nice safety feature that Facebook has. While I was able to figure out a way to browse through those users in a limited way, all I was able to see was their username, profile photo, and a list of who their friends were. I couldn’t see the rest of their profile unless I requested that they add me as a friend first. So as I was browsing through the list of users, I was blocked from getting any other information about them. Their name, photo and school does give away plenty of information, but at least people were prevented from seeing other photos, IM information, phone numbers and blog entries.
I did spend a little time exploring groups, but haven’t seen any that inspired me yet. So I created my own group. There’s now a Discovery Educator Network group available in Facebook. If you create a profile on the site, you should look it up.
If you haven’t explored social networking sites like MySpace, Xanga or Facebook yet, I think Facebook would be a great place to start. Head over there, create a profile, and join the DEN group. Get some first hand experience and see what all the hype and concerns are about for yourself.
BTW, don’t worry if you aren’t at a college or high school. It says in their help section:
If you are a college alum, and you have access to a school alumni email
address, then you can easily register for and use Facebook. We accept alumni
forwarding accounts, available at many schools (usually for free) through their
school or alumni association. Check out your school’s website to see if they
offer alumni email addresses. Also, if you now work for a network that we
support, you can register with your work email address. This, however, will
affiliate you with your work network rather than your old school.
Sounds like it isn’t hard to get a college email and get registered. So give it a shot, and if you do, send me a poke!