What is social media?


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Presentation given at a social media workshop for community learning and development (CLD) practitioners in Edinburgh on 1 March 2011.

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  • Here’s the word on it from the one of the best known social media sites (the key words there being accessible and interactive) But that’s not the whole story...social media is many things to many people...
  • Technically, it’s all of this stuff...and more...
  • No more top-down, 'let's have a web site and wait for people to come and visit us‘. Users are no longer passive recipients - they are active participants. Users create their own window on the world.
  • It’s at this point in many presentations about social media that you are presented with lots of stats about social media use (600 million Facebook accounts, 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, 4 billion images on Flickr, etc)...to emphasise the fact that social media is a big deal, has become a big deal pretty quickly, and will be a bigger deal in the future. The two stats that really brought the growth of social media home to me were...
  • One word that you will hear SM types bandy about a lot about is disruptive. The term is used to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by reducing costs, increasing revenue, transforming business processes or realigning strategies for a different set of customers or customer expectations.
  • For me, it’s about learning. SM can be one of the most powerful ways to understand what we do and why, learn as we go, and share that learning with others. Learning what is interesting, learning what works and what doesn’t and learning who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t!
  • Take one of the earliest and simplest forms of SM – blogging. Blogging about your job is a simple (and free!) way to improve both your own and your organisations learning. Even if no-one ever reads your blog having the reason to think about what you’re doing and why is a crucial part of being a reflective practitioner. Publishing those reflections (where you can) will make those insights available to others – who might comment on your blog, and those comments might develop and refine your thoughts.
  • I’ve had a blog now for about 4 years. I don’t post to it as much as I’d like to, but it has made me more reflective about my own practice. I have an awful lot of draft posts (some only in my head!) lying around. I don’t have a huge readership – I get maybe 200 views a month, but people do comment sometimes...and read and comment on other blogs...sometimes that leads to conversations...sometimes those conversations lead to more long term professional relationships...and collaborative working
  • SM is all about learning as you experience things through thoughtful observation and shared understanding. Building a network gives you access to their accumulated experience. Your ability to connect and form relationships with these people may be limited in ‘real’ life.
  • If I can give you one message to take away with you today it’s that social media is about more than just the tools. It’s about a mindset/attitude.
  • What is social media?

    1. 1. What is social media?
    2. 2. “ Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media]
    3. 4. social media is the web coming of age Web 2.0
    4. 5. Lies, damned lies and statistics...
    5. 6. social media is bigger than porn
    6. 7. One third of women aged 18-34 check Facebook when they first wake up (even before going to the bathroom)
    7. 8. social media is disruptive
    8. 9. http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/3224877/Social_learning_through_social_media
    9. 10. social media is about learning
    10. 13. http://flavors.me/lelil http://twitter.com/lelil http://mea-mea-culpa.blogspot.com/ http://www.linkedin.com/in/lesleythomson