Getting to Know Somebody on Fakebook

Building Fictional and Historical Bios- Great Exercise In Banking Knowledge

While Facebook isn’t a great place for children to spend time online, imposter site Fakebook totally is! Instead of being centered around a profile that reflects the user’s true self, Fakebook is meant to be used for creating profiles based upon historical figures or fictional characters – people who either no longer exist, or who have never existed (except within the pages of a book).

Using a profile structure that is very similar to Facebook, Fakebook provides students with a web-based creative outlet that can help them develop characters of their own, deepen their understanding of characters they’ve read about, or create a biographical profile of an important historical figure. Just like the Facebook profiles that many adults are familiar with, a Fakebook profile is centered around an image, lists of interests, and other biographical information like birthdate and birthplace, family members, education, employment, and friends. However, while Facebook allows users to join networks that represent the places, institutions, employers, friends, and family members that they are connected to, Fakebook allows students to input this information for themselves – meaning that the profile that they create doesn’t connect them to any larger network outside of the page that they create. No matter what information is entered in the fictional character or historical figure’s profile, no connections will be made to other users, helping to keep young users safe and their work private, educational and fun.

In addition to gathering biographical information for a profile, users can add posts from their character too! Historical figures might add updates chronicling significant historical happenings that they were part of, characters from books could post updates about things that take place in the book – walking a reader through the story from their perspective, and a character that a user has created on their own could add updates that create a brand new story of their very own. Posts can be text or photographs, and can include links to videos and webpages too, making the possibilities endless! Imagine, a profile for painter Claude Monet could include links to online galleries and photographs of paintings, while a profile of Revolutionary War spy Nathan Hale could read like a journal, telling the story of Hale’s role in the colonists’ fight against Britain. Literary-themed profiles might focus on a single character – like Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl – and include not only posts based on events that take place within a book, but a friend list that includes characters from a book, as well as the user’s own artistic interpretation of what that character might look like instead of a photograph as a profile picture!

Young students will likely need help with navigating the ins and outs of the website, successful use of which will require them to copy and paste, save and upload images, etc. Of course, children should be given close supervision while using the internet, but thanks to the non-networking nature of Fakebook, it’s a fairly private and safe online space!

[Photo credit: (cc) Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones]

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