Thoughts on Global Travel and Facebook

Posted July 29, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

I am in Bitola on the Macedonian border with Greece.  One of the wonderful things that happened my first year teaching in Macedonia was the students asking me if I was on facebook, although I had to tell them I was not.  Then I went home and joined facebook, partly on the advice of my Harvard-educated nephew who lived in a dorm where and when facebook was born.  I remember the Ugly Betty episode where Betty is trying to decide whether or not she is willing to befriend Henry, her ex-boyfriend who has married someone else for complicated reasons, and I wondered at our making the decision between “ignore” and “accept.”  So here is the question.  I know that facebook is making us global, but is it also making us more accepting…even kind and perhaps forgiving.  I know that it says “accept”, not forgive.  What about local as well as global forgiveness?

This Spring the Macedonian teachers and I had global meetings on facebook. We did global craft-shopping. The teachers are already planning for March 2011 facebook meetings. Clicking that “accept” button  rather than “ignore” is not contrition or absolution, in the sacred sense, but, as in Betty’s decision, it is an important decision that people need to  band together to teach their young and that there isn’t all the time in the world to do it.

Merrilee Cunningham, WITS Writer to the Balkans

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