Hi Barbara and All,
A short time ago I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on a similar topic where it is now suggested that people should Google themselves about one time a week to see what is floating out there on Cyberspace about themselves and how blogs and so forth can be used to negative ways to damage people's reputations. In the article, it also mentioned there was a WalMart web site where people would take random images of people in the store or video clips to post and embarrass others. I find it hard to imagine even wanting to take the time and energy to do such a thoughtless thing to another person!
I have actually been meaning to write an article on a similar topic myself on how technology has been changing and the often casual, careless, and sometimes thoughtless way it is now often used. There is nothing to say that someone can trust their network or an online community any more than any other type of social network. To assume otherwise would probably be unwise in this current day and age. And it is sad in many ways because the very free exchange of information that was so exhilarating in earlier days of the Internet is not the same at this point in time.
There are some rapid fire changes that have been happening in social interactions even as there are rapid fire advances in technology and sometimes that is not all necessarily an improvement. Some skills and nuances that used to be common and second nature are changing as we seem to become more and more voyeuristic in our behaviors. Some of the catty tendencies of human nature appear to become less filtered in an online setting where one may feel they are more anonymous.
How the Internet is used has changed so much in the past decade, and even more in the past few years, that it will be interesting to see how people decide to use the various tools for business, education, as well as personal levels. Each network has different facets to consider as well as drawbacks. I think that is why many people are reconsidering networks like Facebook. Yet in the same way the Internet is now used to connect others. I am sure that all of us now know couples that have met and decided to get married that have met online. It is changing world and the netiquette we talked about even 10 years ago is not the same as it was back then.
Silas Bartsch School/Kings Canyon Unified School District