Social Networking Session Highlights

This session from TETC is titled, “Social Networking: It’s More Than MySpace.” Online social networking differs from non-online in that the boundaries of time and space are removed. Common features of social network sites include:

  • A profile feature
  • A list of friends that are identified as part of your online social network
  • Some type of “wall” for friends to post comments on your site
  • Ability to post photos, movies, videos, and other media
  • Some type of communication tools (blogs or IMs)
  • Sub-group availability within the network itself

Who is using social networking, and how are they using it? USA Today was one example given. You have the ability to login and create a social network around the types of news in which you are interested.

In addition, political candidates are using social sites to connect to people and to coordinate activities related to campaigns. The Obama site is probably ahead of the curve because one of the Facebook founders took a leave of absence to design the site. If you join the network, you will be connected to others in your local area who are also supporters. Ron Paul used his site effectively to raise $5 million in one day online. On the other hand, Fred Thompson had a misstep when he planned his big day the day before Thanksgiving. The entire nation travels that day! Interesting.

Journalism and media are using social networking, and it is transforming the way they do business. Through social networking, journalism has left “telling a story” to being a dialog. People can share in the news story. They can even correct errors and refute facts. Looking again at USA Today, like nearly any other major news source online, those who are logged in have the ability to comment on news stories. Again, the dialog extends beyond the news story.

IBM has 400,000 employees on an internal MySpace-like social networking system.  They have 20,000 internal blogs and 20,000 wikis; including an internal social bookmarking site.  How many are at your school?

Remember, these are not MTV-type sites that attract the young, hip, up-to-date youngsters of today. These are standard, flagship sites that are changing the way all of us interact with the web.

There was more from the session, but here are the pertinent questions:

  • Kids today are interacting with their world online. How are they interacting with their world of learning? How are you driving that interaction?
  • Kids today are social in ways we never thought possible (I was born in the 50’s). Are you allowing them to be technologically social at school? Is your network designed to let them do that?
  • Kids today are exposed to all types of information. Do they know how to critically analyze what they read or hear online? Are you taking steps to train them in being better online consumers of information?

Post any and all answers to this blog. Let’s keep the dialog going…


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