Monthly Archives: November 2011

Expose The Real World With Social Software

Readings this week gives me a lot of thoughts and leads me think about my students in Thailand.

Summer 2010: My Students in Boarding Areas Between Thailand and Burma.

Summer 2010: My Students in Boarding Areas Between Thailand and Burma.

In summer 2010, before I started my program at Teachers College, I had spent three months as a volunteer, teaching economically disadvantage students at a public school in the north of Thailand – boarding area between Thailand and Burma. Due to the fact that those students’ families were distant from school, it was impossible for most of them to commute to school every day. As a result those students need to stay in the school. Teachers are responsible for raising the children full-time from grade 1 to grade 12. Geographically, students here do not really have a chance to be exposed to the real world outside. Teachers were the most influencers for their development.

As discussed with the principal, students did have low exposure to the real world. The school was not successful in academic achievement. No one was admitted into colleges. In addition, the students did not feel that they are ready to workers after the graduation. In a nutshell, they did not feel confident about their lives in the future.

While everything seems to be insufficient, the school had two computer labs with over 100 PCs for students and WIFI Internet.

The Students in The Computer Lab, A Promising Educational Resource in The School.

The Students in The Computer Lab, A Promising Educational Resource in The School.

The readings this week pointed out many promising opportunities for my students. According to Schroeder, Minocha, and Schneidert (2010) “Social software can build social relationship, improve learning, enhance communication between students and educators, create and maintain communities, and exploit opportunities.”

I believe that the use of social software in the school would be able to help those children to be able to expose to the real world that they are missing. In addition, it can prepare the students to be ready for their future after graduation. For example, they would be able to express their thoughts (with anonymous or identified conditions), work as a team (collaborative learning and working), and practice authorship (writing their literatures and reflecting others’ works).

One concern, we need to take into account is the risk of computer use in school. Due to a high student-teacher ratio, there might not be sufficient number of teachers to monitors computer use outside the classes. This might become a big challenge for the principal to make a consideration to allow students to use computers. Software to help teachers to monitor must be deployed before implementation.


Shall We Meet?

You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

In 1998, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks appear in a romantic comedy movie: You’ve Got Mail. He’s the owner of a bookstore chain. She’s the woman he falls for online. Both are reluctant to meet in person in the beginning. They are are unaware that she runs the little shop his company is trying to shut down.  Nevertheless, the story turns to be a romantic story at the end. They finally meet in person – Happy Ending!

In 2006, one of my friends (from Thailand) came to the U.S. She studied at NYU and also worked as a manager at a bakery chain. Because of her work and study, she did not have free time for herself. She had been single and felt lonely in this hectic city. One of her friends suggested to her. She met a nice American gentleman from the site. After establishing online relationship for a while, they finally met face-to-face. Two years later, they got married. They have been together for 4 years. – Happy Ending!

According to Hancock, Toma and Ellison (2007), “Online daters appear to intentionally take advantage of the profile features that afford the enhancement of their self-presentation (e.g. editability, asynchronicity), while bearing in mind the socio-technical constraints of online dating profiles (e.g. recordability and anticipated face-to-face interaction)” (p.452).

Certain deceptions are about to be spotted when they ask each other “Shall We Meet?”

1998 – In You’ve Got Mail, they spent months to make decision that they will meet in person.

2006 – My friend spent weeks to decide that they would in face-to-face first encounters.

How about 2011? When will daters first meet?

Based on Nielsen Report , 40% of adult US mobile phone owners have a smartphone as of July 2011, and expect smartphones to become the majority by the end of 2011. With smartphone, we can know where the 0bjects or persons are by using “Geolocation”. Geolocation also has great potential for online dating. One famous mobile dating application for gay men, is Grindr. It lets we know details of nearby men, whose pictures and personal information are displayed in order of proximity, based on their phone’s GPS location (Euromonitor, 2011).

Grindr launched in 2009. Now, there are 2 million users in over 190 countries. Grindr plans to launch a straight version in August 2011

Grindr launched in 2009. Now, there are 2 million users in over 190 countries. Grindr plans to launch a straight version in August 2011

People intentionally create inaccurate profiles in order to attract their potential daters. On the other hand, mobile technology strengthens socio-technical constraints. – Geolocation makes people quickly build online relationship and make them easy to meet face-to-face.

Is it a good idea to spend time creating inaccurate profiles in 2011?


Hancock, J., Toma, C., & Ellison, N. (2007). The truth about lying in online dating profiles. In B. Begole, S. Payne, E. Churchill, R. St. Amant, D. Gilmore, & M.B. Rosson (Eds.), Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing sy

Euromonitor (2011, August 29). I Can See You! Smartphone Use Drives Boom in the Use of Geolocation Software. Euromonitor Global Market Research Blog. Retrieved from


Will You Impose Sanction?

Facebook, a leading social networking service (SNS) encourages users to use real identities on their profiles in order to create trust relationship, connect with more people and expand networking. On the other hand, online users also see connections as a tool to verify personal identity. But it does not mean that it will be totally reliable.

Verifying personal identity consists of that person shows real identity, know the subject and would impose sanction (Donath & boyd, 2004). This is a strong social mechanic to protect personal identities on SNSs. And it possibly makes us believe that identity thief seems to be impossible, because our friends would detect those questionable/wrong identities and they will impose sanction.  At the end, we would know who are trying to steal our identities.

It might be true, but from the class discussion on Nov 3, 2011, we seem to ignore about questionable/wrong identities and we tend not to impose sanction.

Will you Impose sanction?

Will you Impose sanction?

In the class discussion on Thursday November 3, 2011, I asked the class about “Fame, your colleague claims that she was a cheerleader in a college. You were her classmate. You know that she was not a cheerleader. Will you impose sanction?”. As you may remember, most of us say, “No, I will not impose sanction.” Even, I dramatized the situation, “Fame is a new girlfriend of your ex.”. Most of our classmates insisted that we do not want to impose sanctions.

The result of class discussion pointed out that wrong identities are possibly presented without sanctions (from friends) in SNSs.  This leads us to rethink about social mechanic to protect identity thief. I believe hackers would love to hear this piece of information, since it will be easy for them to say anything on SNSs (after they can hack your identity). For example, they can ask for the money/help on SNSs and no one will impose sanction on what they are saying.

There is an interesting case: Hackers changed status on victim’s Facebook profile. Then hackers sent email to victim’s friends, asking for help and money.  Enjoy the clip and be careful on your identity.


Donath, J., & boyd, d. (2004). Public displays of connection. BT Technology Journal, 22(4), 71-82.