Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

social media – sometimes a lens darkly?

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Social media as a platform, supports communication and connectivity and is fairly instantaneous and generally public. It has become a popular avenue for individuals to share news, ideas, resources, and spruik their personal opinions. For reasons explained below, I’ve felt compelled to pen a few words regarding a (darker?) side of social media that I find rather sad. In so doing I may just be suggesting that social media exposes the darker side of human nature in a more public way. All the more reason to provide guidelines and models of best practice for people in the workplace and our educational institutions.

Social media apps

There’s been plenty of mainstream media coverage of recent Skype, Twitter, and Facebook controversies in Australia, where people have made inappropriate and immature comments about others that are disappointing and embarrassing. While I find aspects of this unfortunate and disturbing, I understand that it may be simply reflecting what may often happen in a smaller sphere, and not out in public. What surprises me is that the people getting up to this sort of behaviour should know better. Are people more inclined to act this way because they can hide behind their social networking software and not have to say things to someone’s face?

I admire that TV shows such as Q&A invite the participation of social media into the program and allow the audience and viewers to comment. I believe this can be a good thing, but I find that it also encourages and provides a platform for people to take a cheap shot, or be critical without backing up their position. Maybe I’m being naive, but I wonder why there seems to be too much of a willingness to slag off and polarise. I’m not sure if the motivation is to express an alternate view, seeing how clever they can sound, or just to draw attention to themselves. This bothers me enough to the extent that I don’t even want to watch the program, let alone follow the #qanda hashtag. I’m not for a moment suggesting that there are no useful, thoughtful questions and comments that people do make, it’s just the other stuff detracts from the conversation/discussion and often isn’t funny.

I suppose my point is that it can be difficult (but not impossible) to have useful & wholesome debate using social media, it’s just that it often seems to be a bunch of people making noise that irritates, like a dog barking away behind a fence. I’m thankful that at least I can choose not to listen… What do you think?

Oh, and if you’re after some guidance on how to use social media and participate in social networks there’s no excuse as there’s plenty of resources…

Telstra’s 3 Rs of Social Media Engagement

Intel Social Media Guidelines

Framework Social Media Guidelines | Australian Flexible Learning Framework

Enterprise: A List of 40 Social media Staff Guidelines (Laurel Papworth)

it’s only because of twitter that…

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I gave a presentation last week at the ARK Group, “eLearning and Instructional Design” conference. My talk was focused on the capacities of Web 2.0 and I spent some time on the topic, The world at you door, tools for developing your Personal Learning Network (PLN). The areas I covered included social networking/forum websites, blogging and micro-blogging. I mentioned applications/services such as Twitter, Yammer, Ning, Elluminate, Wikispaces, Wetpaint, WordPress & Blogger.

I told my own story with regard to the way particular technologies and applications had supported the development of my PLN (while I’m calling it a Network, the term Environment is also appropriate – check out Britt Watwood’s blog post where he reflects on his notion of a PLN and provides a nice graphic to explain it). To demonstrate the value and power of the Twitter aspect/component of my PLN, it was fun (and surprising to myself) to be able to say;

“It’s only because of Twitter that …

    • I’m here talking with you
    • I have an international network to draw on (immediately)
    • I have become part of communities of practice
    • I know @AnneBB (and others)
    • I found a place to eat last night
    • I’m having dinner with some tweeps tonight”

      Some members of the audience may have thought to themselves that to be able to give these examples was all a bit sad, and that Twitter was running my life. It may seem that way, but Twitter has provided me with many opportunities to meet people face to face and enabled friendships to grow as well as develop my professional understanding of the way we might use the affordances of tool like Twitter for learning and teaching.

      After all, I recognise that Twitter is still only one dimension of my PLN, but it is a very valuable one. I haven’t done the exercise, but with the traditional tools such as email, academic journals, and conferences etc. I’m sure my PLN would have taken years to develop, rather than months.

      Now to do some evangelising and convince some colleagues to ‘get on board’. Any suggestions from you as to how I might do that?