Tomorrow – We Try to Go Viral

For the third year, our high school cancels the regular schedule, in order to have a special event, Diversity Day. This day is student planned and organized with workshops centered around a particular theme. This year’s theme is centered around storytelling and pluralism. As was explained to me, what we are trying to ask studentis to examine stories of themselves and others that show our similarities and differences.  How do we learn about others if not through their stories: visual, oral, written, musical, etc.?

Due to the economy, we were limited to the number of outside people/groups that we were allowed to invite. So after a morning keynote from Robin Bowman who will be sharing her story of creating her book, The American Teenager (see story from NPR’s All Things Considered), faculty will be presenting a series of workshops on a wide range of topics from dance to quilting to hip-hop to poetry to taiko drumming.

While my session on Graphic Novels did not generate enough interest to be accepted, my Around the World in 140 Characters (the session I wanted to do), will have 17 students sharing a conversation about the importance of networking via social networks. In my session, I will try to:

The stories of our lives exist in fragments on the web, through looking at our friends list and seeing the networks and connections that created. How do people use the web to connect to people like them or learn about people not like them? How are stories spread and shared, through the rise of citizen journalism, such as the attacks in Mumbai? Participate in a social experiment where we try to create as many connections as we can during Diversity Day.

My plan, right now, is to begin to have them visualize the networks that they are creating not only from a social aspect, but from the power of those connections. I plan on showing visualizations of my twitter network, talk about the WE ARE SPARTA story from the AP Exam last year, and show Evan William’s TED presentation on the power of Social Networks. I am also going to share the story of how Twitter may have stopped a school shooting.

But then the fun will start. What I have done is created a Google Form which asks four questions:

  1. Who referred you?
  2. What is your city and state?

Using Twitter and Facebook, we will try to collect as many responses as we can in a 24 hour period. We will send the message, ask people to fill out the form, and then pass it along. Once completed, I will try to create a Google Map with the locations of all who respond.

Access the form

It will be interesting to see if between our networks, we can go viral. I am looking forward to see how far we can pass this forward.

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