Gliffy and Facebook

The week’s quasi-experiment in WRT302 blended Facebook and Gliffy. In the
session dedicated to Facebook (what of it?), I wanted to prime our upcoming
discussion of networks when we read a few chapters from Critical Mass.
But reading about Facebook didn’t seem to me to be enough. I was mildly
bored with the idea of reading about Facebook. Next, pose as if critical.
Next, rehearse the cautions about visibility and decorum. Thorny! It’s a fairly
reliable pattern that when I’m bored, my students are doubly bored. And

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Today I was invited to join the Facebook group "Muellers of the World
Unite." After excitedly accepting, I read "the wall" (Facebook’s discussion
board feature) and learned that I am not alone in being mocked by the clever
many who have launched into full-blown impromptu renditions of the gone
scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: "Bueller, Bueller?"
Yeah, I know. Horrifying or hillarious, it remains a don’t-choke-on-your-tongue laugh riot
after twenty friggin’ years.

That’s right, "Muellers of the World Unite" is an invitation-only group
(still in its infancy, mind you, with merely 140 more than 200 members) largely concerned with
mispronunciation: as often mill-er or mull-er as the preferred
. The seventh cousins and other kin-folk are outraged by such
egregious treatments of the surname.

I kept on reading the fourteen wall-posts, and than, feeling good about being
surrounded by like-named people, I found this treasure in the "Recent News":
"This just in: Muellers are better then you."

No, I haven’t been invited to take a leadership role in the group. I
only ask that next time you are tempted to let fly with your impersonation of a
nasally teacher uncomprehending of delinquency from school–"Mueller?
Mueller"–tune the pronunciation.


Some prankster from one of my alma maters just invited me to a group called "Facebook
Over 30!"

Um, no thanks.

To my mind, the only activity apropos for an "over 30" tag is basketball. 
At everything else, I’m better now than I was at 29 (unless you consider my time
in the mile, which is likely remains nine and a half minutes, just like always,
even if there is no evidence that I’m slower than I once was). Hmph.

No need to remind me that "shenanigans" is so rarely uttered by anyone under

Next: Disciplinary Facebook

I’m intrigued by the Facebook’s expansion beyond colleges, as reported

Like any social networking app, the euphoria surrounding it is offset (too often
in extremes) by abuses, missteps, skepticism, and lags in the adaptation of
institutional policies to respond to the activity at the site. Yet recent
shift–ten corporations signing on–gets at the spreading recognition of the
value of social networking apps beyond mere friend-making, beyond
"poking" strangers as a casual gesture of interest. Prepared to engage social
networking as something more than trivial?

I’ll watch with interest as more reactions to the latest expansion crop up.
And those reactions will vary, of course, from
jeering to the more serious.
The announcement brings me all the way back to the earliest
announcements of
the Facebook
in 2004. If they’re expanding to workplaces, maybe it
won’t be long before leadership in the discipline starts weighing the
possibilities of the Facebook for an entire field, such as composition and
rhetoric. Granted, it wouldn’t be perfect, but the way I see it, it’d be a
marked improvement on the existing means for building and locating profiles,
tracing interests through those who’ve written on such things, and so on.
Imagine a use of Facebook with a professional orientation whereby disciplinary
bibliographies, institutional affiliations (and histories), and linked tags for
research and interests. I know it’s a wild, data-based fantasy, and it
would require us to see Facebook as more than forum for delinquency, but here’s
hoping. What, maybe five or ten years from now?


This morning, I thought I’d have time for three blog entries.  I told
myself that today would be the day I posted thrice.  Hmph.  Never
written thrice before.  I’m having a bit of "dogfish in the
dissection pan" with hyper-consciousness about post-literacy, studying the
network, tweening the EWM-style blogging I know and love with more academicky
smelting–dutifully dumping into whatever contrivance, as assigned.  Of
course it is my own sense of what happens that flattens all of this out, rolls
over it again and again.  Scalpel, glassine envelope….

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Booking Social Nostalgia

Thursday’s Daily Orange ran a feature story on the steady decline in
sales of yearbooks to Syracuse seniors. SU students tend to live in campus
dormitories; fraternities and sororities, academic and social clubs, and a
relatively compact campus (among other factors, I suppose) combine to make the
social patterns of each year’s undergraduate cohort more encapsulable, as has
long been the case in the annual memento of the yearbook, which, I’d say, works
well at some colleges and universities and less well at others.  FWIW, I
held off on posting these few notes about the fade of yearbooks and the
coincident emergence of, social software, and other
network-enabling mobile technologies because I thought there was a slim chance
the story, "Shelved books," would pop up on DO’s web site.  So far, it
hasn’t.  But I was impressed to find that the DO offers an
RSS feed.  When I
didn’t find one a few months ago, I sent the editor a quick email.  Never
heard back, but at least the RSS feed is available now, even if many of the
stories are late to filter to the web site or the syndication channel.

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