Posted by: arieliondotcom | November 16, 2008

Open Mouth…Insert Internet

The topic for last week in our CCK08 course was “Openness” in education and I got a jolt of openness this morning, the way a man feels when his zipper is open or a woman feels when her slip is showing.

Being new to Twitter I didn’t realize that even the simplest replies are posted ALL OVER the Internet. I mean ALL OVER…EVERYWHERE…EVERYTHING…(hysterical laughter, crying, slapping self)….I’ll be okay…ahem…

As part of my final project for the course I’m asking folks I know to leave a “breadcrumb trail” of references to the course wherever they go online and as comments on my site. I hadn’t heard anything back yet so I thought I’d do a web search for “arieliondotcom”…That’s when I saw my stuff used far beyond being quoted by them or by other members of the course, both of which I expected.

This made me wonder whether complete openness was such a great idea. I mean, I can’t remember anything I said that’s really embarrassing. But that’s the point. I just can’t remember it. It is probably out there, though. And you can’t take it back. So as we introduce students, especially children, to social media, let’s be careful that we make that very clear and keep them from posting anything that can put them in danger.

This openness is nothing new, though. We teach children from infancy that they’d “better watch out, better not cry, better not pout” because Santa Claus “knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake; he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.” Get out of line and you forfeit Christmas presents.

And long before that, JESUS warns that there is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed (Mark 4:22). And in Matthew 12:36 and 37 He warns that we will give an account for every word we have uttered, because “out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 2:34)

That’s why I don’t believe that the statement that Stephen Downes makes that openness is required in networks is correct. Because in GOD’s relationship to us, we often are not open to Him (though He knows everything anyway). Also, a person may have affection for another person without telling them, thus making them part of his or her network of affections without the other person being open or aware and without revealing it to the person or anyone else. A seperated or divorced spouse may be dating people that are now part of the children’s networks without one of the parents being told though the children are part of their network and now the date is, too.

JESUS is the epitome of openness. He was constantly saying “If it were not so, I would have told you.” But there is no threat with JESUS. Because even though you will give an account for whatever you said, He has already accounted for it. In keeping with full disclosure, John 3:16 (yeah, that one) says that whatever you have said (or done for that matter) is covered by Christ’s death to pay for it and bring you back to the Father, if you believe Him for it. If you truly “get that”, you won’t scoff and say, “Well, hell, I’ll just go on living like I want to then!” The realization that His resurrection was through a path of extreme agony and death we can’t even imagine will cause a spiritual transformation within and we will cry out for Him to take over as our Savior and LORD.

We need to protect children from themselves and being too open too soon to too many in public. And anything on the Internet should be considered public.

But…and here comes my quota for using the word “ironic” for today…How ironic that, as adults, we are desperate to share our lives with strangers, to connect on some level with people we don’t know beyond lighted dots on a computer screen. But we will not trust GOD Himself, in Christ, who loves us so much. He has given us forgiveness and eternal Life for the asking. If it were not so, He would have told us. How long will we close our hearts and minds to Him?



  1. Just wanted to let you know that I have enjoyed your Christian perspective in this discussion, though I’ve been more of a lurker than a contributor. It is rare to find someone with your Christian perspective who also has deep understanding of Web 2.0 culture. I appreciate your posts. They have helped me but some of these issues into proper perspective.

  2. You always offer a unique, refreshing perspective. I agree that we must be very careful about complete openness with K12 students, especially younger ones. I believe this includes teaching students the meaning of open. My high school students recently started their own blogs. We spent a good deal of time talking about whether they should use their real name. Most of my students are 18, so I leave that decision up to them. I think it is important that they are informed before they make it. Anonymous is good if you’re not comfortable associating your writing with your real identity. On the other hand, if you want to take credit and begin to build your Web identity with quality content, using your name is a good idea. Tough choices for young students who haven’t really considered the implications one way or another.

  3. Thanks! Your encouragement is a blessing!

  4. […] read more of Michele Martin’s work. WordPress Tag Surfer brought me Mark’s Wordle post, Ariel’s discussion of Openness and Twitter, two posts by ulop (one on freedom and one on […]

  5. I was similarly surprised upon finding all the chats I’d participated in at the EdTechTalk website, just in attending a few sessions. It never even occurred to me that they were being recorded at the time. I too am having trouble with the context of speaking to the *entire* web instead of to the small group I believe I’m connecting with. The implications are staggering. A few weeks ago I thought that one of my new “followers” in Twitter was one of my students, and I found myself unconsciously censoring before I posted. I tell people over and over it’s all on the web, but it took expanding my connections to discover how true, and how worrisome, that is.

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