What is Social Media?


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Presentation for the Ku-ring-gai Rotary Club, 22 November 2010.
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What is Social Media?

  1. 1. What is Social Media? @malbooth 1
  2. 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpIOClX1jPE 2 This video is now about two years old and new social media networks have been developed since, but the concept still applies. It is also important to recognise that this easily consumed introduction to social media is provided for free on a social network: YouTube.
  3. 3. “We want to be connected to one another, a desire that the social surrogate of television deflects, but one that social media actually engages.” Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Internet_map_1024.jpg 3 TV was one to many, social media provides us with a facility to establish many to many connections.
  4. 4. “. . . media is the connective tissue of society.” “. . . things used to be separated into public media . . . and personal media . . . Now those two modes have fused.” Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus 4 For those who don’t know it this photo is of Millennium Bridge. It is a pedestrian only bridge that connects Southbank (near the Tate Modern) to the north of the Thames near St Paul’s Cathedral, seen here in the background. It isn’t so far removed from the quote above.
  5. 5. “OK Mr Smarty Pants, so what does Social Media allow me to do?” Mal Booth Right here, right now 5
  6. 6. 6 This is a screen shot of Gary Hayes’ Social Media Count for just 10 seconds in mid-November 2010. Pretty impressive statistics. There are any number of ways to present imposing social media statistics, but I guess what really matters is what is being done.
  7. 7. Work 7 Here are two examples of social media being used for work: Twitter (people sharing information about live web conferences) and LinkedIn (a large professional network).
  8. 8. Play 8 People do use social media to play, even for work or more serious purposes. Its playfulness is one of the main attractions. Most tools are not 100% serious all the time. And they are more interesting than some of the older methods they are replacing (like email lists and landline calls). Play is something of an expectation in social media.
  9. 9. 9 I’m not an expert on gaming and I don’t use games online, but I think they do offer us an alternate method to learn new things. Online games are extremely popular, especially so on Facebook. Personally I find those FB games like Farmville very annoying and I hate being updated about them or invited to join in by my friends. Kongregate is another large online games portal. People are not playing in isolation. The experience is shared with others and that is part of the attraction.
  10. 10. Learn 10 There are many, many ways to learn by using social media. You’d be surprised by what you can learn just from your friends and family if you ask them. iTunes University manages, creates, distributes and controls access to educational audio and video content and PDF (text) files for students and the broader internet. Various universities have their own iTunes U site like those shown above. It provides regulated access to curriculum material via a platform that most students are very familiar with because of their music collections. More content is being shared openly in such ways.
  11. 11. “The simple act of creating something with others in mind and then sharing it with them represents, at the very least, an echo of that older culture, now in technological raiment.” Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus 11 The social web has a genuine culture of altruism. I believe that altruism is the pulse that keeps it alive and it is also what distinguishes it from other media.
  12. 12. 12 So we share our photos. And Creative Commons helps us to do so while easily managing our intellectual property.
  13. 13. 13 And Creative Commons helps us to do so while easily managing our intellectual property. The licences are made for all purposes and they are very easily understood.
  14. 14. 14 We share our music tastes and habits. This is last.fm which is a very clever tool that “scrobbles” what you have played recently on an MP3 player and shares that online in your profile.
  15. 15. 15 There are an amazing amount of bloggers around and some a pure gems like 52 Suburbs. In this blog we are treated to some beautiful images of ordinary Sydney suburbs that really make you appreciate the beauty we take for granted every day in our lives. It is being converted into a book due to public demand.
  16. 16. 16 We share our library connections and this social media catalogue has a lot of libraries thinking long and hard about how to match its ability to be social - as it includes tags or folksonomies, recommendations, personalisation, ratings, networking, reviews and commenting. It draws on the wisdom of the crowd really well. A friend of mine has catalogued his whole collection of over 10,000 books and journals.
  17. 17. Discover 17 Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows you and your friends to keep track of discoveries made on the web. You can easily select what you share and with whom you share it and it lets you have access to all your bookmarks or favourites anywhere you have web access: at home, at work, when travelling, etc.
  18. 18. Create 18 This is UTS Library’s YouTube channel. Basically it gives us a very cheap TV channel on which we can share the short videos that we produce ourselves or commission (mostly from UTS students). More great content to be released soon!
  19. 19. Complain 19 So I’ve heard You’e Beautiful a few too many times. Who hasn’t? And let’s face it, the days of authors talking about their writing in dull make-believe TV sets with even duller interviewers is hopefully drawing to a close because there is a lot of much better content to view online. Short outbursts like these from my Twitter friends keep me amused online while watching certain shows. A friend from Melbourne and I even offered a reasonably popular alt.commentary for the winter Olympics ice dancing and for the recent federal election count.
  20. 20. Celebrate! 20 I just could not think of an image more appropriate to illustrate social media celebration. I guess this has now become a party political broadcast!
  21. 21. Mourn 21 In this post I shared the eulogy I delivered at my brother’s funeral. Many people heard it at his service, but there were many who knew him, but could not come to the service. It has attracted over 400 views and many have shared their thoughts with me.
  22. 22. Applaud 22 The ACO amazes me.
  23. 23. Influence 23 There are many more politicians who use social networks to extend their influence and to connect with their communities. Some employ full-time social media staff to ensure their presence is kept up to date and is responsive.
  24. 24. Advertise 24 Craigslist was founded as a local events listing for San Francisco in the mid-1990s by Craig Newmark. Althought it has expanded well beyond the US now it has changed little ever since and the founder says that it works because it gives people a voice, a sense of community trust and even intimacy (through personals). Craigslist has significantly eroded the classifieds income of many newspapers.
  25. 25. Connect, socially 25 Facebook is probably the best known of the social networks, but others like Twitter and Foursquare are now growing strongly. They allow for social connections and networks to flourish and connect you with people of like interests. Foursquare is indicative of a move connected with the rise of smart phones like iPhones that encourages the use of geo-location software (like GPS) that lets your contacts know ehere you are or where you have been (when you want them to know). Thus, the hardware of mobile computing has extended the reach of social networks and others like Facebook have followed suit. At the Google offices a couple of weeks ago I heard a developer quoting a senior Google executive who believes that 8% of all data can be mapped in some way. This gives us a start in organising it without imposing artificial and out-of-date ontologies like Dewey.
  26. 26. Evaluate 26 These are reviews on the Expedia travel booking site from other people who have stayed at the venues or used the services you are researching. I believe they give you a much richer source of ratings than any hotel industry star rating.
  27. 27. Curate 27 I’ve said for a number of years now that Brooklyn Museum are the leaders in terms of online community engagement and the intelligent use of social media in the cultural sector. We used them as a model and exemplar when I was the the Australian War Memorial.
  28. 28. Yes, but is it a game-changer? 28
  29. 29. 29 So I asked my online contacts whether they thought social media was a game changer in any industries. These are their responses on Twitter.
  30. 30. 30 Perhaps the most interesting tweet here is that about the health industry (bottom right). Social media is heavily used, at least by patrons, in the medical world, so the industry itself must follow suit because they will fast lose their voice of authority and credibility if they fail to engage. I have seen many hospitals and other parts of the health industry trying t engage seriously with social media in response to the trend over the last couple of years. Government has certainly responded seriously encouraging departments to open up their data offerings online to enable social engagement and more open, visible government. In part this has been led by the Obama government in the US.
  31. 31. Benefits Connections Engagement Inclusion Interactivity Communications Instantaneous Extends reach Learning 31 This is just my own quick & dirty list. The benefits vary from an organisation and individual perspective, so I’ve tried to be generic here. I’ve also avoided the marketing benefits because if social media turns into marketing media, people will flock away from it in droves. Connections means that social media encourages and facilitates connections online and I think that can only be a good thing, whether they be for work, family, social or even intimate personal purposes. Engagement refers to the chance to engage with others whether they be individuals or organisations in subjects of mutual interest. It is possible that such engagement simply was not possible or feasible before social media - well at least not as broadly and easily. Interactivity refers to the fact that social media has changed communications in the media from one-to-many to many-to-many and from a one-way to a two-way process. So Communications have been broadened and now almost everyone has an endless list of possibilities for communicating. Social media can offer you an Instantaneous outlet and sometimes an instantaneous response to questions, observations, invitations, etc. The extension of reach is a huge benefit. It works that way for both organisations and individuals through the sheer global scale of the web. The web doesn’t really care when you are online or where you are - you can connect regardless of those factors. Social media has offered me major benefits in terms of my own learning in many different areas and on many different subjects. Of course you still need to sort the cheese from the chalk, but you probably do that already in traditional media anyway, so all it takes is a bit of time getting familiar with the networks you select and it also helps to have list of trusted advisers you can run to when confused or in need or advice.
  32. 32. Is social media reflected elsewhere? 32 The following examples come from my world and experience: that of cultural institutions and education.
  33. 33. UTS Library L3 Learning Commons 33 Both of these photos show our Learning Commons. When the library is busy every piece of furniture in this space is used. I believe the space reflects the way many of our students have grown up in the digital age being constantly connected to their friends using a social network or by SMS. In this space they also maintain connections to various social media sites, but they share the space with many others they probably do not know, but with whom they share a common purpose: learning. A level of chat is tolerated, the open window provides a connection to the outside world. UTS Library images by Dianne Garvan.
  34. 34. UTS Library Create Space 34 This space is also a bit of an experiment inspired by the way people work using social networks and the same collaborative technologies. We usually just leave the room open; it isn’t bookable; and usually there are several groups using different facilities in the same room. It just works. UTS Library images by Dianne Garvan.
  35. 35. British Library & BIPC 35 This is just my observation, but I think the British Library definitely reflects the influence of social media in its Business & Intellectual Property Centre. The Centre’s furnishings reflect a need for connections both between people and also to the web. Media streams into a lounge designed to encourage social contact and networking between different people using the centre: entrepreneurs, inventors, staff, researchers, marketers and others. The Growing Knowledge exhibition similarly reflects the growing influence of social media by featuring state-of-the-art collaborative technology for both games and the creation of what we might recognise as more traditional knowledge. The “steam punk” dials (bottom right) show real time activity on the social web (primarily Twitter from memory) in major cities around the globe.
  36. 36. 36 The Commons is a social web site for cultural institutions to share their photographs that have no known Copyright restrictions.
  37. 37. 37 Here are the sets of photos with no known Copyright restrictions shared by the Library of Congress. Really though, even though there are several thousand here, it is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the large collections that exist in most national cultural institutions. Nevertheless, this is an opening and the institutions involved so far are showing a willingness to seek input from outside the authority of their institutions. This simply was not possible before social media.
  38. 38. 38 This now famous image of an unknown WW1 digger illustrates the great benefits of social media to cultural institutions. On its own website this image has had 510 views over the last two years, vice 37,000+ on Flickr Commons! In the top right hand corner an arrow points to a set of statistics you can see how much that is extended by access on Flickr (because it has so much more reach: almost 37,467 views (not hits); it has attracted over 350 comments; is favourited by over 1,600 Flickr users; and appears in 60 galleries. And still it seems, he is unknown!
  39. 39. My suggestions oh my god by LucyVader 39 For using social media.
  40. 40. Start with your own tribe 40 It is probably best to start within your own “tribe” as Seth Godin would say. Then branch out when you feel more comfortable. Networks can be funny things and a bit tribal to begin with so it is easier to stay on familiar ground. Don’t just be happy with family members and close friends on Facebook. You know your interests, so maybe try another platform that seems appropriate.
  41. 41. Perspective Scale from the tool colour group by Robert MacPherson 41 Keep what you do in social media in perspective with the rest of your life. It isn’t everything. Try to remember that not everyone is going to be hanging on everything you do or say, so you cannot expect instant responses al the time.
  42. 42. Listen hello mate by Stephen King 42 Listen to what is said online and try to understand why. You don’t need to react to everything. Sometimes people are just letting off steam.
  43. 43. Engage 43 Engaging in social media is probably one of the main things: just be involved.
  44. 44. Play, fail, learn 44 It really is OK to try some different new things and make mistakes. You won’t be punished or kicked out. Listen to feedback and if in doubt ask someone what the form is, but experiment and play.
  45. 45. Respect 45 Respect for others is key. The social web is multi-cultural and it generally isn’t popular to be intolerant, ignorant or abusive.
  46. 46. Be real Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland 46 Some people say that anonymity is OK, but I don’t agree. I think that you need to be as real as possible to have any real impact. You don’t need to give everything away, but the social web can be really generous with you if you make genuine contributions.
  47. 47. Be careful how much you revealsitting hen by Tae-GeunYang 47 There are many ways to make sure you do not give everything away. Just read the guidelines and learn how to adjust the settings of the applications or tools you are using to suit your own interests.
  48. 48. Don’t feed the trolls jolly giants by Steve Croquett 48 You can read what the trolls are doing on the blog posts of any major newspaper or media enterprise. They enjoy being abusive and hurling insults in ongoing arguments, usually from the safety of their own anonymity. Don’t encourage them with a response.
  49. 49. Readings Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger The LongTail, Chris Anderson Tribes, Seth Godin TheWisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki Cognitive Surplus & Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky TheWealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler 49
  50. 50. Acknowledgements Collaborators: @myleesjoseph @MissSophieMac @jackslack @dpgreen @morfaine @flexnib @camcd @petahopkins @ellenforsyth @zaana @restructuregirl @katiedavis @libsmatter @naomidoessel @haikugirlOz @katclancy @Markfchris @lizholcombe @bella1609 Ongoing influence: @paulhagon @michaelstephens7 @pennyhagen @cathstyles 50 All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.