Social Networking - "an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks." (Wikipedia)

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"Yes, kids do social media well, but when it comes to the learning...they need us [teachers] for that." Bill Richardson, owner of weblogg-ed (blog) and author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom. OTF 21st Century Learning Conference Panel Discussion, February 2011.

Social Networking in Plain English - Common Craft video to explain social networks and how they operate.

Harnessing the Power of Ning - Danika Barker (O.S.S.T.F. Tools & Toys Technology Conference - October 2010)

"I'm using social media with all my students. It was surprising that not all students were pleased with this less traditional approach, the primary reason being that it was unfamiliar, but it challenges them in a new and meaningful way." Danika Barker, Secondary School Teacher, * Board. OTF 21st Century Learning Conference Panel Discussion, February 2011.

Top Sites Related to Social Networking
  1. Facebook - Connect with others socially in your personal life. Create a page for an organization, business or social event.
  2. Ning - Create your own social network for a fee of $50US/year.
  3. Twitter - Connect with others worldwide for current information on whatever topic is of interest to you. Twitter is the easiest way to get a start on making world-wide connections in an easy, non-threatening way.
  4. Diigo - Online bookmarking system with a tagging system where the lists can be shared with others. There's other tools as well for annotating and highlighting webpages. Annotations can be made public for others to see when they visit that site.
  5. YouTube - The largest worldwide video online sharing site.
  6. Flickr - Upload and organize your photos. Share them with the world.
  7. Google Documents - Create documents collaboratively (text, presentations, forms, spreadsheets), upload your documents from your computer, share your work and access it anywhere.
  8. Wikipedia - Largest collaborative online encyclopedia that has/is gaining reputability.
  9. - Shorten links to post on Twitter, share with orthers, and/or to track their usage.
  10. Screenr - Create instant screen casts that can be posted to Twitter or a blog.
  11. slideshare - A way for sharing documents, presentations and professional videos.
  12. Elluminate - Free online create your own web conference room for live discussion with the whiteboard that can be viewed by all.

Ideas for Using Social Media
  • Homework Discussion Groups
  • Role Playing Exercises
  • Blogging Community
  • Arranging Live Chats, Meetings or Webinars
  • World-wide Connections, i.e. experts, students in other parts of the world
  • Scaffolding Digital Citizenship
  • School Facebook page, Twitter feed and/or Flickr account (positive promotion in the community, advertise events, post event pictures)

Concepts to Remember
  • Nothing posted is ever private.
  • Once you hit 'submit,' you can't take it back.

Articles on Social Media & Education

Films on Social Media
  • Catfish - For Nev Schulman, a 24-year-old New York City photographer who became entangled in a twisted online love affair with the girl of his dreams, it all began innocently enough.
  • The Social Network - A story about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook.

Alternate Perspectives

"Don't give students more tools of mass distraction," Macleans Magazine.

Learning and Teaching in the 21st Century Panel Discussion, OTF Federations' Comments
When asked, "Is there's a moral obligation to use social media and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, to show and teach how to use it?"...
  • The OECTA (Ontario English CatholicTeacher's Association) representative at the panel explained that we need to teach all those involved--teachers, students and parents--how to use social media appropriately. It's important that board's have appropriate policies and that teacher's do not cross professional boundaries that will result in disciplinary action.
  • The ETFO (Elementary Teacher's Federation of Ontario) representative responded that teachers need to know how to use the functions and settings of Facebook and Twitter, so that they use it properly.
  • The OSSTF (Ontario Seconary School Teacher's Federation) rep responded, "Please don't behave badly." He explained that the Education Act, which all teachers are required to know, requires us to teach children safely and appropriately; the walls of the classroom are 'gone' in a sense, and it's important to behave appropriately--to not engage in questionable F2F and online social interaction. As well, Bill 157 requires teachers to report in writing by the end of the day any suspendable student behavior or any behaviour that creates a negative tone in the school. There is a gray area concerning where the teacher's responsibility ends when the classroom is extended outside the time and place of class.

Role of Social Media in Business
Businesses are realizing the importance of social media because people are not listening to their messages in traditional forms; they are recognizing that if they are to market their wares effectively, they must have an effective, proactive social media strategy. Seth Godin, modern marketing guru, describes "The pillars of social media site success":

Why people choose to visit online social sites:
  • Who likes me?
  • Is everything okay?
  • How can I become more popular?
  • What's new?
  • I'm bored, let's make some noise
None of these are new, but in the digital world, they're still magnetic.
If you want to understand why Twitter is so hot, look at those five attributes. They deliver all five, instantly.

Below is the Social Media business model approach for Advanced Human Technologies, an organization that leverages social media using specific strategies to promote their wares:

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