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How to create and manage a study group on Facebook



The internet can be a wonderful place for collaborative work. That is, people are happy to help you if you're in the process of learning, which I'm doing with Phoenix history. The strange thing about it is that human nature being what it is, many times the very best people don't speak up.

When I created my group on Facebook, called Phoenix Arizona Historical Images, I limited the ability to post to just administrators (that's just me) but I encouraged comments. I'm learning, and there are a lot of knowledgeable people who know, for example, which way east and west are.

My goal is to post as confidently as I can. I will write "looking north towards..." and am delighted when someone who has a better sense of direction than I do, or who knows the area, or who remembers where something was, does a correction. I appreciate corrections, and this is what the page is all about. I'm learning, not lecturing. Of course some people are a bit, uh, abrupt with their corrections and it makes me wonder if they talk to people IRL (in real life) like that, and maybe they do. But rude or not, I want the corrections, and I appreciate them. That's what the page is for.

If you'd like to do this, I recommend that you take a deep breath and accept human nature for what it is. Like in a classroom, the very best students tend to be the most quiet. The polite people don't want to speak up and embarrass the teacher, for fear of being humiliated in front of the class. The rude people don't seem to mind blurting out silly stuff, and on the internet they're usually called "trolls". But believe me, they're nothing new.

When I taught software, I presented as confidently as I could, but being human, I would slip up on small stuff, like what day it was, or something like that. When someone corrected me (hopefully politely, but often not), I would thank them. And I watched people who would otherwise have been "trolls" turn into some of the most valuable people in the group. If I said "the project is due on Thursday", and the class only met on Friday, it was good for someone to speak up. Because I knew that a lot of people were thinking, "So we have to be here Thursday then? Thursday?" And of course all that had happened is that I was thinking of the Thursday class, not the Friday class. I'm getting myself all mixed up just thinking about this!

I created the Phoenix page on Facebook as Public. And that means that anyone can see it, but only people who join can comment. I like that idea, because it's nice to let people just see stuff. I myself have always been shy to speak up in class, and I don't always need to be talking, something I just want to look at stuff, and learn.

Like everything I do, I'm experimenting mostly. I like being in a constant world of learning, and I appreciate all of the help I can get!

Image at the top of this post: Downtown Phoenix in the 1940s. You're at the Westward Ho Hotel, looking south. Right?