Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Grounds for apology…

Or perhaps an opportunity?

Last Saturday I received an email to tell me that a Russian lady would like to be my friend. Oh ho!

This was not, however, the usual spam item, it came from someone whom I know from the 'Russian' part of my life, a preschool educator for whose practical work and theoretical position I have considerable respect. Yes, the format of the email looked a bit ‘young’ but then, in the nicest possible way, so does she. So out of curiosity and respect, I filled in the form, and promptly forgot it.

Within a few hours I was multiply reminded. Apparently I had triggered Gmail to send a similar be-my-friend email to everyone I have corresponded with since last time my computer got wiped out.


Responses have varied. In some cases mild annoyance, enquiries whether I have gone mad, or concern that I might have been hacked. No doubt there have been others who felt similarly, and just binned my email. But there have been others too who have signed up and are now my email ‘friends’.

My new-found friends (though of course I already know all of them to varying degrees) cover a very wide spectrum, from a highly respected Russian academic, through some long-established figures in Conductive Education around the world, to a lot of just ‘ordinary’ CE folk (as if anyone in CE is ordinary!).

What has been very interesting is that most of these respondents have been what I categorise as ’young people’, in particular young conductors of a number of nationalities. As a general rule, I suspect, young people are a lot more Internet-savvy than their elders. They know the uses and advantages of social networking, and take such matters for granted. So they already know far better than I do what it means to be my ‘friend’ in this context.

Connecting Conductive Education

Conductive World is one product of a long-standing hope to get Conductive Education to link and communicate, both within itself and without. Over the years I have tried most sorts of print media, and broadcast media too. I have made forays into producing serial publications (newsletters, magazines, even a journal), both on paper and latterly on the new-fangled Internet. In the past I have run a website and a fairly successful discussion forum. Now I do Conductive World.

Supervising Ben Foulger’s dissertation a couple of years ago, on Internet use by conductors, made me realise just how little I have explored the fast-evolving world of Internet communication. Since I am far from computer savvy myself, I have fought shy of wading in and trying things out. Iinsted I have rather left this to emerge spontaneously, hoping that the young feople to take this up spontaneously, and use the newest technologies fot the CE part of their lives as they do for other parts.

Social networking

In the most general possible way, I have been aware that social networking might bring enormous advantages to the scattered and disunited conductive movement.

Now, it seems, I have been fallen into a social network, almost by chance. Many of those to whom I sent that unexpected invitation to be my friend, (mostly but not exclusively younger people) have presumably seen advantages in replying in the affirmative. Again presumably, they are doing this in most cases out of their experience of this medium.

So, now that I have it, how might we ‘friends’ exploit this, for our own benefits and for the benefit of Conductive Education? The first and defining test must be whether folk come up with answers to this question.

Answers please, through the Comments at the foot of this posting, elsewhere on the CE blogosphere, via email to conductive,world@gmail.com, or through the social networking site that I have tumbled you into (if that is something that it does):

An apology and a suggestion

My apologies to those who were irritated by my unexpected plea for friendship. I hope that the above explanation is enough to show that I have not gone bonkers.

For the rest, please stick around long enough to see whether there are advantages here… and, if you know about such things, to help the rest of us towards ways in which we might explore them.


1 comment:

  1. Lonely Hearts?
    From Wikipedia: "Although designed as a wider social networking site, [Tagged] has been adopted by most as an online dating tool."
    Best avoided, maybe.

    There are other options for social networking across CE. Google and Facebook have 'groups' functions, to name two. LinkedIn has certain advantages for professionals. Otherwise, Ning and Dolphin, for instance, offer a package of features for forming and running groups online, with the option of being public or private -'members only'. A Ning group can be hosted online by Ning. I am using Ning for three social networks: 2 for parents of disabled children and of adults in Sheffield and 1 for "Paces People". All three are private.

    There's a lot more to be said than is possible in a brief comment here.