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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise


I have been explaining why people "Facebook". Notice I am using this as a verb now. For everyone who isn’t part of the facebook phenom I want to remind you that according to Mark Zuckerberg  "More than 175 million people use Facebook. If it were a country, it would be the sixth most populated country in the world." 

When Facebook administrators attempted to change their Terms of Use (TOU) recently, people reacted hysterically with some absurd claims amidst the reality of legitimate concerns. It became a bandwagon to join to decry Facebook’s stealing your information and claiming that what you created was now theirs – bwahaha. 

A good thing about this instant reaction was that Facebook is offering an unparalled opportunity to help re-examine their TOU to revise them to more easily explain the purpose and intentions. I hope you will join the group to thoughtfully consider new issues in web2.0 connectivity. When someone states something that seems ridiculous, why don’t you do as I do and go back to the original source and specificially ask them if this is what they intended? Instead of disseminating mayhew and madness, let’s participate in the groups that are revising and clarifying.

From the group Facebook Bill of Rights & Responsibilities, Here are responses to some of the things you’ve written below:

1.  You own your information. Facebook does not. This includes your photos and all other content.

2. Facebook doesn’t claim rights to any of your photos or other content. We need a license in order to help you share information with your friends, but we don’t claim to own your information.

3. We won’t use the information you share on Facebook for anything you haven’t asked us to. We realize our current terms are too broad here and they make it seem like we might share information in ways you don’t want, but this isn’t what we’re doing.

4. We will not share your information with anyone if you deactivate your account. If you’ve already sent a friend a message, they’ll still have that message. However, when you deactivate your account, all of your photos and other content are removed.

5. We apologize for the confusion around these issues. We never intended to claim ownership over people’s content even though that’s what it seems like to many people. This was a mistake and we apologize for the confusion.

That is pretty straightforward. Now they need to go find a way to incorporate this in their TOU. You can help. Why would you want to? Some of you are still telling me that "I’m too busy to join" LM_NET, ALA, aaslforum, nings, wikis, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc.  How could you possibily incorporate it into your life? 
One of the ways I’ve explained it is to compare my life activities at various stages in the past. When I was growing up in a small town, we’d go to school, gossip on the bus home, and then call each other from the one phone in the house. Mine was in the kitchen on a long cord, but everyone in the family would walk in to eavesdrop while they were getting food, making dinner, cleaning, going in and out of the house, etc. There was limited privacy and opportunity. If Dad was on the phone talking racing and cars, we’d never get a chance to talk to friends. The next morning we’d wait for the bus huddled in groups and update everyone on our evening. 

In college at Buena Vista, we had mainframe computers and suddenly IM’ing networks where we could work on our projects all hours of the day and still be connected. We could even play interactive networked games – I chased Romulans many a late night. Then the custodians would kick us out to clean the lab a couple hours each night (3-5am) and we’d anxiously wait for the chance to reconnect. While we were working on the computers, we’d sometimes stand on chairs and yell over the partitions or surprise someone by running over to talk to them personally. We’d organize study groups by going to tell people in various buildings on campus and hope they got the message. 

When online companies like aol, compuserv, etc. came out, we joined so we could develop new networks of friends and email buddies. We’d rush home to reconnect. We developed online listserv’s like LM_NET so we could create groups of interest and connect. We kept updating the way we connected so we could be part of a community.

When I lived overseas in Europe the second time, I had less access but I developed more face-to-face groups with other military spouses and families. We’d gather on the playground and at meetings of homeschool parents or parents of DoDDS school groups to share. When something bad would happen to one of our military families, a child would run from apartment to apartment letting us know we needed to go meet in say,  Ms Celeste’s room. Then we’d plan how to help or organize responses. We had phones, but face to face was best. We’d lose contact with our friends as they were deployed to other places. 

Then we tried programs like, but these cost money and not all of our friends would pay for the same levels of access so we could openly communicate.

Now we have our email and internet access on our phones, schools, work, and home computers so we can stay connected as much as we want. I still immediately check out my email, messages, blogs, RSS feeds, etc. to see who is doing what so I can feel like I am still an active part of my friends and families even though I’m far away and not on the same time schedule with them. I have more opportunities to share because I am not dependent upon a single phone line or access point and someone else’s schedule. 

If I want to know how my cousin Denise’s date went, I can check in with her by leaving a quick note on Facebook. If I want to know how a piece of legislation is going to affect my school, I can visit that group and read updates asynchronomously. I can get the information I want WHEN I want it. I determine how connected I want to be. I do not have to befriend anyone or allow them access to my content on Facebook. I can create groups within my friends so the close family members posts are foremost and my library buddies may be a little lower in priority.

I do not befriend everyone who asks – particularly students. Yet, everyone with computer access can read my blog and track my activities. People can google me to read everything I create on the internet (note I am not the Diane Chen who was recently arrested in Taipei). 

On Facebook, I can create mini communities of my friends and share information with them almost like we were huddling on the bus stop again. I may return home to an emptier house each evening, but I can log on to Facebook and feel a little bit closer to the rest of humanity. Sometimes I post homey things. Sometimes I post something for a reaction. Sometimes I just respond to my friends post. It’s like being in the group and nodding your head, or chiming in. Only you don’t have to wait for the popular people to stop hogging the conversation. You can chime in at any time. 

If you haven’t tried Facebook, it really is easy to begin. I’d suggest you create an account, search for one of your friends who is on Facebook and send a friend request. Take it slow and don’t start clicking on every application and "request" for games, etc. that comes your way. I’m sorry but I just won’t play the Mafia game with you because I have determined I’m too busy for that.

Begin by simply joining the conversation and the community and make decisions about how you want to be involved. If the only thing you want to do is log on, click on a friend’s name and see what they posted on their status line, start there. 

If you want to be connected to a huge number of school librarians, send a personal message with your request and we’ll recommend some other friends for you. Explore who your friend has befriended and you might realize you know others. Then click to add them to your network. They will have to decide if they know you, also, so it might take a couple days for them to log on.

If you just aren’t that excited, simply don’t log on every day. If you only want to check in once a month, you have the control to do that. I do get the monthly "Mommy!" message from #1 son when he gets out of the field and just wants to say hi. You can receive messages in your inbox, you can receive status updates, and you can control how much of your information others see. What would it hurt to try?


  1. Intriguing Books Present African-American Heroes
    by Lee Littlewood

    Black History Month is an excellent time to introduce children to heroes, who helped abolish oppression for many African-Americans. These books are not only informative, but absorbing and entertaining as well.