What is Social Networking?

Social networking is all about making connections and bringing people together. Conversations that take place in social networking contexts are inherently social, and often revolve around shared activities and interests. The heart of social networking is fostering the kinds of deep connections that occur when common pursuits are shared and discussed. Students are tremendously interested in social networking sites because of the community, the content, and the activities they can do there. They can share information about themselves, find out what their peers think about topics of interest to them, share music and playlists, and exchange messages with their friends. Social networking systems have led us to a new understanding of how people connect. Relationships are the currency of these systems, but we are only beginning to realize how valuable a currency they truly are. The next generation of social networking systems will change the way we search for, work with, and understand information by placing people at the center of the network. The first social operating system tools, only just emerging now, understand who we know, how we know them, and how deep our relationships actually are. They can lead us to connections we would otherwise have missed. Early social networking systems already recognize the value of connections and relationships, and as opportunities for virtual collaboration increase, we will rely more on trust-based networks that can interpret and evaluate the depth of a person’s social connections.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Sam Sam Nov 1, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 9, 2011 Social networks are extremely efficient communication channels in which information lives and breathes. When information from a trusted network or person is gathered, the value of the content also increases exponentially. Education is a process through which we learn the necessary skills and abilities to achieve our goals and objectives. The use of efficient channels such as "trusted" social networks can only increase the speed by which we acquire these skills and abilities. Not only can we learn faster, but also better. Information travels faster, and we're not dependent anymore in 1 person's only source of information or experience, but many. The "trust" factor (which I believe still needs to be further developped in specific social networks) will also be decisive in filtering the right information from the unwanted one (some may be junk, other may be just a different point of view, for example). The educational sector must provide the best tools for learners to achieve their goals and maintain their engagement and motivation.
  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 10, 2011Social media provides the tools while social networking produces the results: Deeper levels of connectivity among learners as well as between learners and their instructors in an onsite-online world; the all-important facilitation of social learning (a process documented by many, including Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner in "The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media":
    http://www.amazon.com/New-Social-Learning-Transforming-Organizations/dp/1605097020/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320982400&sr=8-1#reader_1605097020); and an incredible expansion of the sort of creative bursts that come out of the face-to-face and online interactions of people from a variety of settings and backgrounds, as documented by Frans Johansson ("The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cutures":
    http://www.amazon.com/Medici-Effect-Breakthrough-Intersection-Johansson/dp/B0064CKKAS/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320982621&sr=1-6) and others.
  • Agree with much said here, lot of overlaps with Social Media area (where I posted most of my thoughts) - john.cook john.cook Nov 11, 2011
  • Social networking can makes learning more interactive. We already spend a lot of time on our social networks and our social network "friends" are resources we learn from.- Sam Sam Nov 13, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - EvadeLera EvadeLera Nov 9, 2011 Trust appeared only at the end of the description but I think is the actual key. Were at the beginning of google.com the few results appearing helped the user decide which content was more trustfull, at this moment it is almost impossible to know which content is of a trustfull source and may be of use to "me". In social networks, a similar situation occurs. A social network (i.e. Facebook) looses quality as the amount of users/friends increase. When looking for information, the quantity of results or the quantity of friends is not correlated to the quality of results. Trusted sources for a specific issue should filter results in a way that helps, in an efficient way, distinguish non-desired information from desired information. In an educational setting this may mean building social networks that are subject-specific from trusted-specific sources (people I admire in the subject I'm concerned abou - these may or may not be in my friend's or institution circles).
  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Nov 10, 2011I agree with EvadeLera's comments about trust, and would add that social networking inspires and thrives on collaboration rather than competition--another positive trend I'm seeing in the more effective school, university, and staff training programs I've encountered.
  • Adding another vote to this discussion! When we see discussions about Google vs. Facebook regarding the future of the web, trust is what that battle is focused around. Google has a more traditional search approach, focused on what an algorithm suggests you'll want. Facebook's approach is about who you trust and how that shapes what you'll want to read. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • The idea of social network literacy - there's a lot of "bad" information floating around and its important for students to learn how to discern credible information. Many primary and secondary schools have developed social networking policies, similar to acceptable use policies for mobiles. Where do we draw the line?- Sam Sam Nov 13, 2011
  • How social networks may become a mainstream feature of learning management systems e.g. look at the coming Sakai 3.0 - Nick Nick Nov 21, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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