Social networking initially is understood to be a network of people who join together and interact with each other to share personally or professionally. It is therefore as successful as those who join the community or network of people who have chosen to participate. Social networking has always existed throughout history but since the inception of Web 2.0 the opportunities and possibility to connect with a much wider global community has meant the ability to expand ideas and thoughts. Many more voices provides much more depth to the dialogue.
Social networking allows individuals or groups to develop connection and increase learning based on their interests and passions. There are so many social networking sites that individual preference, passion and purpose determines which social networking sites are used by the individual (Ishizuka, 2010). Social networking allows people to continue along their quest for knowledge and the importance of concepts such as lifelong learning are another of the benefits of this participatory, collaborative connection between people. It highlights the need for individuals to develop knowledge and skills about recognising fact from fiction, developing their boundaries through critical thinking before contributing or sharing too much. Social networking requires people to be able to bring the digital and the face to face into a one world view rather than a belief that is what happens online is different to what happens offline. The question is, how private? how public? how much is too much? in this ever accessible network of people. Is it really healthy to be connected to the technologies being offered by Web 2.0?
I have used various social network sites but my purpose and experience is quite different for each one. Facebook, Instagram are by far my personal playground. They are where I share anecdotes with family and friends as we live quite some distance from each other. Twitter is where I find useful professional information with links to educational specialists and gurus from around the world and I tried to use Linked In for a while but found it not as effective as Twitter. I have a Pinterest account to curate resources that could be useful for that rainy day, or meals to make for my family. I have a You Tube account, a Google + account and these are new areas for me. Anything that involves me sharing actual footage of myself I tend to not contribute but appreciate and comment on the efforts of others.
Throughout this unit though I hope to learn how to utilise the benefits of social networking in a primary (K – 6) educational setting. What is it that needs to be considered? How can the vision of a primary school library use social networking platforms to serve the needs of the learning community?
Ishizuka, K. (2010). People who need people. School Library Journal, 56(2), 32.