What is Social Media?


No longer satisfied to be consumers of content, today’s audience creates content as well, and is uploading photographs, audio, and video to the cloud by the billions. Producing, commenting, and classifying these media have become just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening. Sites like Flickr, Odeo, YouTube, Google Video, and Ourmedia make it easy to find images, videos, and audio clips, but the real value of these sites lies in the way that users can classify, evaluate, comment upon, and add to the content that is there. Using simple interfaces, visitors can build shared collections of resources, whether they be links, photos, videos, documents, or almost any other kind of media. They can find and comment on items in other people’s lists, sharing not only the resources themselves but information and descriptive details about them. As a result, over the past few years, the ways we produce, use and even think about our media have undergone a profound transformation. Literally billions of videos, podcasts, and other forms of social media are just a click away for any Internet-connected user. As the numbers and quality of user-produced clips have increased, our notions of what constitutes useful or engaging media have been redefined — and more and more, it is a two- to three-minute piece designed for viewing inside a browser or on a mobile phone. That same phone is often the device used to create the media in the first place, with surprisingly high quality when viewed on a small screen. Tools for assembling and editing clips are free or extremely low cost and make it easy for amateurs to get good results without investing in expensive equipment, software, or training.

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: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

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

  • I think social media can be used in a number of subjects, e.g. the use of blogs in collaborative writing of multi-modal texts.- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 7, 2010
  • Many visual collections of media are being curated by museums, libraries, and other organisations around the world and made available for all on the web. In more recent moves, the additional facility of social interaction with this media has made these collections more interactive. While tagging by individuals adds value and draws on the power of anyone to enhance the information in a collection, the possibility of socially connecting is also very strong e.g. in genealogy, or medical issues to mention a couple. Therefore understanding social media beyond 'friend' connections, or personal learning network concepts is important for the educational sector to understand and capture for authentic learning opportunities. Opportunities for participatory knowledge aggregation are a more maneagable extension of wikipedia-like activities. The concept can also be used within a school community to build relationships as well as visual/document/movie resources and historical archives. Community projects led by students would also be very relevant. For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project. Long Tail: Why Participate Online Australian War Memorial uses social media - understanding the value of this approach, incorporating it in school settings, and actually getting students involved in a project is empowering for all. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2010
  • another response here

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

  • I don't se anything missing, but I think social media and social networking should be closer interrelated and not treated as two separate technologies. Their development and impact are probably intertwined.- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 7, 2010
  • Need an explanation of the relationship between social media and our responsibility as educators to engender a balanced use of this media to build society and human knowledge and understanding. Including a reference to open source/open learning/creative commons as foundational to social media would be beneficial. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2010
  • another response here

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

  • The impact is above related to a shift in the equilibrium between the learner as a consumer of pre-packaged content on the one hand to a more active, content- and meaning-producing learner. - oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Feb 7, 2010
  • Great opportunity for creative production of new things and creative curation of multimodal repositories - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2010
  • Promote deep engagement through flexibility and creativity. Approaches to social media should underpin Blooms digital taxonomy - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2010.- jan.morrison jan.morrison Feb 9, 2010

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.