This week we take a look at social networks. They are like the Glee Club, only different. As with the Glee Club or Chess Club, some require membership to participate, others are open to all who are willing. Like the Chess Club, there is a purpose. Like the Glee Club there is singing. Ah, well, maybe not singing, but there might be audio clips available?
Anyway, whether we call it a network of friends or an online social network of auto glass installers, the purpose is to share ideas, resources, and time. We will use Ning in our class, but you will be looking at others. Blogs and wikis are potentially social networks. I guess it depends on how each user participates and uses them. A blog could be for family members to communicate with one another. A wiki could be a place for the 4H club to share ideas and pictures.
Microblogging is the newest form of social networking. Twitter is the flagship of the microblogging sphere. Twitter is a group of people. It is just like the grade school playground. There are those kids you associate with, and then there are all the rest. Twitter allows you to hang out and play with the people you want to. I play with other instructional designers, educators, technology junkies, and futurists. Then they post their 140 word insights, it is often in the form of a link to a recent report, a recent article in a trade journal, or a recent blog post by someone. So, what I get in real time are a whole bunch of pretty smart people directing me to recent things they find useful. It is pretty useful for me because I like to try to learn things. Twitter narrows the internet down to a few bite size websites. The media has portrayed Twitter as being full of, “I had oatmeal for breakfast” type of content. While that is certainly true in some cases, it all depends on who you hang out with. But ain’t that the truth with any group?