Facebook has opened the world in ways we never imagined twenty years ago. The concept of easily connecting to your friends and being able to send real time updates about our lives was a stroke of genius. From there, we began to connect to our friends’ friends and associates. For those with specialized interests, the connections grew quickly, as people collaborated on many different fronts. There were the music community’s connections, school connections, special interest connections, causes and fan pages that began to link people from all over the world under common interests. The international connections via Facebook have been so big they’ve sparked revolutions and so intimate that they have forged lasting friendships.
As a collaborative learning tool, the website can become a tremendously helpful community. School friends can update, send messages, create notes and even chat through a project or problem. Links to helpful resources can be listed. Someone in India can post a “how to” video that will help a chemistry student in Iowa. From there, these two strangers can engage in collaborative online learning that will be of benefit to both from, not only an education perspective, but from a friendship perspective.
In fact, a student could probably try a shot in the dark with a school problem, by posting a query for help, on their Facebook page and find the solution via other people’s connections. This is an example of how common interests across the globe can form, and become meaningful international connection that can solve big societal problems. Facebook can certainly be vapid, but with the right mix of casual social chatter and meaningful conversation, it is as powerful as the university coffee house where a movement can be sparked over a caffeine buzz and a passionate conversation. The very idea of sharing free information in an online collaborative setting really threatens the whole concept of an establishment, and maybe that’s what the world needs. A quiet, rapid, international revolution via the internet.