A Social Media Primer…

Social Media by Eric Schwartzman on Flickr

CC-BY-NC by Eric Schwartzman on Flickr

There has been increased interest on our campus lately in the use of social media for instruction. Some of the discussion has been generated by a growing body of knowledge on how social media can increase learner engagement, as well as a need to leverage social media for marketing programs.

I have been using social media in both my personal and professional life for several years – sharing various media on Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, Twitter, Slideshare, and others. This discussion has me thinking about my own use of social media and networks, how the various aspects connect and blend. It seems to me that social media is becoming more and more complex.

For the next few posts I will attempt to consider different aspects of social media as well as how they contrast and complement one-another. First, I thinks it’s best we have a common language…

What do we mean by  “social media”?

“A term used to describe a variety of Web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another online. Some examples of social media sites and applications include Facebook, YouTubeDel.icio.us, Twitter, Digg, blogs and other sites that have content based on user participation and user-generated content (UGC).” – Webopedia

People often use “social media” and “social networks” interchangeably but there are some who feel strongly the differences are “vast as day and night”.

“…social networking is an act of engagement. Groups of people with common interests, or like-minds, associate together on social networking sites and build relationships through community.” – Social Media Today

I think perhaps the lines have become blurred over time but essentially social media is a medium for publishing user-generated content – could be writing a blog, or posting a video, sharing a presentation, art, photos, or any combination thereof.

Here is a list of the Top 15 Most Popular Social Networks as of December 2013…

I actively post and share on about half of them – mostly to do with educational technology #edtech, but also for topics of personal interest: #leadership, #greenbuilding, #productivity, etc. How do you use social media personally / professionally?

Next up… Social Media in Higher Education.