I haven't written here in a long time, and I don't usually cross-post. But this time, it's different. Here goes:
Unless you live in a vacuum, you know what happened at Ft. Hood, Texas yesterday. Tragedy for those there, tragedy for all our military forces everywhere, as they are, truly, a band of brothers and sisters who normally trust each other with their very lives. Yesterday, that trust was betrayed.
News reports were as chaotic as the scene, as the networks struggled to fill the on-air time with every detail and rumor they thought confirmed. Telephone lines were jammed and cell phones could not get calls through. I tried to contact my family there and continually got the message, “No routes found,” spoken by a solemn robotic voice.
But the social networks did not fail. Twitter and Facebook lit up with messages, texting got through and the simple text, “ r u ok” was soon returned with a “yes”. Our daughter, our son-in-law soldier, their three children, all safe and accounted for. Our other family members, some also in the military far away, connected up and passed the news. Families across the country who were glued to the news and worried beyond understanding I am sure found the same thing – the Internet and the technologies that we sometimes condemn as being intrusive or not trustworthy, can provide us with the information we desperately need at the time we need it.
And so I have added another point to my growing list of reasons why I believe we have gone way overboard with our concerns on filtering, and are blocking our students and their parents from understanding exactly what is good and right about social communication tools. Sometimes, you just need to be able to go to the source and get the information you need, when you need it. It may be as simple as the response to the question, “r u ok”.