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.
“We want to be connected to
one another, a desire that the
social surrogate of television
deﬂects, but one that social media
Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus
TV was one to many, social media provides us with a facility to establish many to many connections.
“. . . 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
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.
“OK Mr Smarty Pants, so
what does Social Media allow
me to do?”
Mal Booth Right here, right now
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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
Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus
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.
So we share our photos. And Creative Commons helps us to do so while easily managing our intellectual property.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So I asked my online contacts whether they thought social media was a game changer in any industries. These are their responses on Twitter.
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.
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.
Is social media reflected
The following examples come from my world and experience: that of cultural institutions and education.
UTS Library L3
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.
UTS Library Create Space
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.
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.
The Commons is a social web site for cultural institutions to share their photographs that have no known Copyright restrictions.
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.
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!
oh my god by LucyVader
For using social media.
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.
Scale from the tool colour group by Robert MacPherson
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.
hello mate by Stephen King
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.
Engaging in social media is probably one of the main things: just be involved.
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.
Respect for others is key. The social web is multi-cultural and it generally isn’t popular to be intolerant, ignorant or abusive.
Audrey Hepburn by Douglas
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.
Be careful how
much you revealsitting hen by Tae-GeunYang
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.
Don’t feed the trolls
jolly giants by Steve Croquett
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.
Everything is Miscellaneous,
Cognitive Surplus &