Category Archives: Online

Dear Facebook,

Our relationship started over two years ago. We hit it off and accumulated a few close friends in the pre-Timeline days. More and more people friended me. I felt so liked because of you, Facebook. We celebrated running accomplishments, getting a huge boost from the support of friends liking my run for that day or the race of the month. We got along well especially when you tipped me off on how to block all games and use the unsubscribe button.

But then our relationship got complicated. You became intrusive, weaseling your way into all my pockets of time. You stroked my attention- and approval-seeking soul and I kept coming back for more. You knew I was a writer with lots of time alone with my computer, so certainly I needed to connect and promote and get feedback instantly. I had quips, fabulous lunches, minor irritations and cute kid phrases that I simply had to share and Facebook, you were there for me, 24/7. So dedicated, never was there a more dedicated entity. No email, no blog, no texting could keep me as entwined as you.

I would edit a page, then scroll Facebook, then edit a few sentences, then back to Facebook to scroll down your belly for any new comments. And I would see all the repost posts and the “this is so funny” posts and the anxiety-producing fear and anger posts. One day (actually many days), I stopped mid-scroll, staring into the hairy bellybutton of you Facebook and said, aloud, “What am I looking for?”

In my Facebook haze, I didn’t know how to answer that, but a small, slightly strangled, rational voice inside told me that if I hadn’t found it after two years, it was time to move on from this relationship. No more lingering ads, no more navigating our privacy issues, no more endless scrolls in the park.

I thought I needed you, Facebook. After 39 days, I’m certain that I don’t.

Farewell, Facebook. It’s not you, it’s me.

Online class

Have you ever taken an online class? Would you? Do you think it would be exciting, refreshing, frustrating, difficult, all of the above? How does a sense of community grow in an online class? Do you feel connected to the other students when you can’t see their expressions, hear their laughter, smell their coffee, or bump into them on the way to your seat? Does the subject matter matter? What’s it like for the teacher?

Seems that all I have are questions. Perhaps at the end of the next eight weeks, I’ll have a few answers. Tomorrow, I officially start my first online class, though I’ve already posted a pic, short intro and read others’ introductions. It’s a writing class with a teacher I’ve had before, which is probably what allowed me to take the leap to sign up for the class. I already know the sound of his voice and how he plots a story on the marker board. How does that help for an online class? Familiarity breeds comfort for me.

We have discussion boards, forums they’re called, and a weekly live chat. In a way, it makes a lot of sense to have an online writing class. We will be immersed in each other’s written words, not just the 10 pages we submit for critique, but in every post we write. We will be learning who we are almost solely through our writing.¬†Will we pay closer attention to each other’s words when that’s all we see?

In one online discussion forum I used to frequent, several of the members had such strong (unique? clear? definite?) writing voices, that I would know their posts without needing to see their names or ever having seen their faces. At the time, that online community felt very close-knit. I’m sure that can happen in an online class also, but I’m at a loss to explain how it happens or how to make it happen.

I wonder what the next eight weeks will bring. Lots of reading and writing and maybe a even a little sense of community. I’m eager to find out. What are your experiences in online classes?