' I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder how we could have tolerated anything so primitive.' John W Gardner
It is no secret that I spend a lot of time online. I teach and develop online courses so a lot of my day requires I have an online presence. I also enjoy tinkering around with different digital tools which means spending time online. I enjoy browsing different websites just because I can. I like to look at clothing, travel, and cooking sites. (Ten years ago I would have been spending this time doing this same thing, but with a magazine.) I also enjoy spending time on Facebook and Twitter. Contrary to popular belief I do not actually live online, but I do spend a considerable amount of time here. Most of the time it is for work, but some of the time it is for pleasure.
In February 2009 my husband gave me a Blackberry for Valentine’s Day. In hindsight he will tell you it was the biggest mistake he ever made because it allowed me to turn my laptop off yet remain connected. He hated me being so connected, but I loved it.
I often read posts that talk about the importance of maintaining balance. In fact, I have written about that on at least two occasions in the past. But this post is not about balance. Looming in the background of many of those posts are thoughts that are never publicly shared because they are so personal. We never discuss the impact that our online friendships have had on our relationships with our spouses or significant. This topic is still taboo because it is so personal.
Over the last two years I have had conversations with a handful of close friends who are either in marriages or serious relationships that have suffered because of the friendships they have formed online. Technology has changed the way in which we communicate and interact. It has forever changed who we call our friends and colleagues.
When those who love us the most see us developing trusting friendships with people we might only know online, it can be scary for them. There are still so many who do not believe that true friendships can exist online. It has been extremely difficult for me to convince my husband that the friends in my personal learning network are really friends and not just random people I know online. My husband is so supportive, but it isn’t always easy for him since so many of my friends are people he doesn’t know.
I don’t want people leaving personal stories here about their experiences with this topic. This is a very sensitive topic and it needs to be treated in a delicate manner. If you can relate to this topic and you have a desire to talk about it let me know. If there is enough interest I would like to get a small group of us together during ISTE to discuss different strategies we have used to make life easier on our loved ones. This might be a discussion that is had over a cup of coffee, not at the convention center in front of everyone. If you don’t want to put a public reply on here then send me an email or DM to let me know you’d like to be part of the conversation. It isn’t something that is easy to talk about, but it is something that I think we need to talk about!