How (and why) has my online behaviour changed during my master’s studies? INF537 Assessment 3

This blogpost contains the gist (some bits summarised, sometimes blatantly copied and pasted) ) of my INF537 Assessment item 3.


The Internet is, without a doubt, the most universally important technological invention of my lifetime. This transformative medium, the result of a convergence of developments in digital, communication, and mobile technologies, has allowed for the creation of an online, networked society where we can learn, work, create, play and socially mingle (Brown, 2000, p. 12). For more than two years now, as part of this Master of Education program, I have been immerged in and occupied with studies focussing on aspects of our interaction with this environment. Through my studies my understanding of how knowledge is created and exchanged in online networked environments, and how these different knowledge interactions transform learning, has radically changed and caused conceptual shifts in my online behaviour and relationships – but exactly how and why?

Here is what I did… Early in my studies I created a map of my engagement with online technology, according to White and Le Cornu’s (2011) Visitors and Residents Typology for Online Engagement,

For this assignment I created a second map, this time created at the end of my studies.

The hoped for is a better understanding of how I have developed as a connected learner, knowledge creator and educator. Understanding “how” and “why” I engage with digital resources, tools and spaces will better inform decisions about my online social presence and time spent online. It will also allow me to model exemplary behaviour to my students and colleagues and assist them in being aware of and developing good practice and habits.

All this led me to the question: “How (and why) has my online behaviour changed during my master’s studies?”.

Autoethnography, is a self-focused, intentional and systematic ethnographic approach to collecting, analysing and interpreting data about how the self is influenced and shaped in a specific socio-cultural context (Ngunjiri, Hernandez, & Chang, 2010, p. 2). This approach proved an ideal fit for the purposes of this study, where I needed to collect, analyse and interpret data about how my behaviour is influenced and shaped in the online world. To compensate for the fact that autoethnography concentrates on a single participant, it is essential to include metrics that provide multiple perspectives on the cultural phenomenon being studied and therefor an analytical autoethnographical approach was followed, where data was gathered through self-observation and self-reflection (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011, p. 128; Chang, 2008, p. 115). For self-observation purposes, detailed factual data about online actions and transactions, and related thoughts and emotions, were gathered and recorded systematically in spreadsheet format in a daily log for a designated period of one week. For self-reflection purposes, a “field-journal” was kept in the form of daily blog entries. For four weeks, reflections on my online engagement, this research study, and how it all related to knowledge networking theories, were recorded in these blog posts.

In autoethnographical research, data analysis and interpretation are interwoven processes in which the researcher “zooms in” (analysis) and “zooms out” (interpretation) of the collected data. Analysis allows attention to details, while interpretation allows a holistic view of the data and cultural context under study (p. 162-164). Interpreting the data in terms of the modes of engagement developed by White and De Cornu (2017) allowed me to create a mapping of my current online engagement , as shown in figure 2 above.

The final step in this study was to determine what a comparison of the two mappings would reveal about changes in my online behaviour. Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2011) suggest a narrative as one way of organising and presenting data interpretation, reasoning that a narrative can help the (auto)ethnographer and reader to understand the experiences of both the participant and the cultural phenomena being studied (p. 553). Ellis, Adams, & Bochner (2011) argues that autoethnography is both method and product, validating the fact that the final product of the research process is an autoethnography – a written interpretation of the findings, in which I could relate my online modes of engagement to aspects of the theories I had studied (p. 273).

Did analysis of the data inform my answers, and does the conclusions allow me to answer my inquiry questions?

  • What does a current mapping of my online behaviour look like in terms of the V&R framework? The new V&R map shows clear resident behaviour in both personal and institutional quadrants, with only a few applications in the visitors end of the continuum.
  • How does a map of my online behaviour at the culmination my studies differ from a map created at the beginning of my studies? New social media tools have appeared in both personal and institutional areas with strong resident use. Use of Facebook is more residential, but now almost entirely professional/institutional. The move of Google searches towards the resident end of the continuum is an indication of a better understanding that all transactions executed while being logged in to a Google account, leaves a trace, whether intended or not.
  • What are the possible reasons for the changes in my online behaviour (if any)? A strong belief in the value of a personal learning network and in communities of practice developed during my studies. This is probably responsible for a shift in the use of Facebook, but also in the introduction of Twitter and LinkedIn as professional networking tools. A subsequent general increase in use of mobile technology and online spaces may be responsible for the increased use of personal application in resident mode.

The research question was adequately answered in the final autoethnographical narrative, finding a correlation between the study of concepts such as communities of practice, personal learning networks, social networking and connected learning.

All research should have a beneficial or practical application for others and qualitative research methods should help us to better understand a phenomenon in a given community or setting (Méndez, 2013, p. 282). While the goal with the study was of an entirely personal nature, and can be judged as successful as such, the method and techniques can be of value when transferred to other contexts. Individuals, groups and institutions wanting to engage in a process of systematic sociological introspection to better understand personal or organisational online engagement can benefit from implementing the methods developed in this study.

It is clear to me that my online behaviour has changed significantly – and will probably continue to do so, as I have come to believe that learning IS social, it IS a network forming process and knowledge? Well Siemens may be correct: knowledge may be a networked product, but I like Stephen Downes’s explanation that knowledge may consist of a network of connections, formed from experience and interactions with a knowing community better.

More about this in the next, which may well be the last, blog post on Gretha Reflecting…


REFERENCES

Brown, J. S. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/Growing_up_digital.pdf

Chang, H. (2008). Autoethnography as method. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40010651_Autoethnography_as_Method

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. R. B. (2011). Research methods in education (7th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Downes, S. (2006). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In Collective intelligence and elearning. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4.ch001

Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An overview. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

Evaluating digital services: A visitors and residents approach. (2014, February). Retrieved from JISC website: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/full-guide/evaluating-digital-services#

Méndez, M. (2013). Autoethnography as a research method: Advantages, limitations and criticisms. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 15(2). Retrieved from http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0123-46412013000200010

Ngunjiri, F. W., Hernandez, C.-A. C., & Chang, H. (2010). Living autoethnography: Connecting life and research. Journal of Research Practice, 6(11). Retrieved from http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/241

USC: Learning and Teaching. (2014, January 21). Overview of connectivism – Dr George Siemens [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx5VHpaW8sQ

 

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new topology of online engagement. First Monday, 11(6). Retrieved from https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2017). Using ‘Visitors and residents’ to visualise digital practices. First Monday, 22(8). Retrieved from https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7802/6515

 

Digital Visitors and Residents – revising

In a 2011-2013 joint project of Oxford University and OCLC Research, funded by JISC, the researchers (primarily David White, Alison La Cornu and Donna M. Lancos) set out to gain a deeper understanding of:

  • what motivates users to engage with specific aspects of the information environment in a given context;
  • understanding the complex context that surrounds individual engagement with digital resources, spaces and tools;
  • how they acquire information and why they make the choices they do (JISC Guide, p.1-2).

During the project the V&R continuum was developed to map individual and group engagement with digital technology for learning in an attempt to develop better approaches to and understanding of online behaviour.

Visitors use the Internet as a tool to accomplish a task or have a “need” to be find information or use a tool. They do not set out to leave a trace – entering and exiting without actively leaving a trace of their presence or use and not contributing.

Resident users maintain an online persona, and “live” a part of their lives online, often through contributions to social media networks, blogs and uploading images and other digital artefacts. “The web has become a crucial aspect of how they present themselves and how they remain part of networks of friends or colleagues.” (Tallblog).

Visitor and Resident characterisations represent two extremes on a spectrum/continuum of online behaviour. The continuum provides a simplistic way to describe a wide range of online engagements as well as a useful way to understand motivations in different contexts. When this linear continuum is plotted on a two-axis system with another variable – for example professional and personal use – the schematic mapping provides insight into a user’s online engagement.

The initial ideas were put forward in a post on the TALL blog about Online Education at Oxford and was reported to the academic community in an article in First Monday.

Here are links to other sources relevant to the project:

In their research quantitative evaluation tools such as surveys and compiled statistics were used but found to create a “narrow picture of performance”. They then further employed qualitative research methods (diaries and interviews) to gain insights into the “how” and “why” of user engagement with technology. For the INF537 research project I plan to investigate another angle: by using autoethnography methods, I will add a personal touch when using the V&R framework to gather and analyse data and map my online behaviour. Through this investigation I hope to gain insight into how and why and my online behaviour has changed during the two years of my Med KN&DI studies. I predict a shift towards the Resident behaviour pattern and believe that this will be explainable in terms of my increased understanding of and commitment to connected open learning practices.

I first blogged about Visitors or Residents in an online world in June 2017 and undertook to return to this at a later date – as promised, I am back now…

Reflecting on INF506

Assessment 3 Part 2: REFLECTIVE STATEMENT

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

Let me start this reflection with a very honest disclosure: I chose INF506 as the 6th module in my MEd studies because I was looking for a potentially “easy” module at an extremely busy time, both personally and professionally. After all, I have had an (evolving) presence on Facebook for the last 12 years, have been tweeting (sparsely) since 2012, have been blogging (first reluctantly and now enthusiastically) since the start of my studies in 2017, am presenting myself (admittedly half-heartedly) on LinkedIn, had my (dormant) Instagram account hacked, etc. etc. “I know about social media, I thought. To be fair to myself, I at least I had a specific goal, as I wrote in my first blogpost, namely to explore development of a social media presence for our school library (Wocke, 2019c). What I did NOT anticipate, however, was for this subject to fundamentally and conceptually bring together so much of what I have already learnt during the past two years. It is as if the penny finally dropped, let me explain…

SOCIAL NETWORK THEORY

I used to see social networking as the use of Internet-based social media platforms to connect with people with whom I have something in common (Nations, 2019a). On these platforms I not only connect, but create and publish digital content, share and disseminate information and collaborate in groups. This was my understanding before INF506, as I used Facebook to connect with other teacher librarians through Facebook groups. During research for the charity project, however, I learnt that social network theory emphasises the fact that the links (ties) between members of social networks are of greater importance than the attributes of the members (nodes) of the network. This social capital is the integral value derived from the relationships among members of a social network and is gained through the strong ties AND the weak ties in the network (Wade, 2014; Utz & Muscanell, 2015, p. 421). This concept was clearly illustrated to me through the INF506 201930 Facebook group: In a comment to my post, a member of our cohort – not known to me and therefor a weak tie – introduced me to inTLlead.org, a grassroots leadership network of international school teacher librarians, which has now become an important part of my personal learning network – therefor a strong tie. This insight has positively changed my view of an extended presence on a platform such as LinkedIn, of the importance of forming and utilising weak ties AND of being a weak tie in someone else’s network. It is vital for individuals and organisations to cultivate and maintain accurate online identities and networks to be successful participants in the connected Information Society. Similarly, my perception of “knowledge creation and “learning” in the Digital Era has also undergone significant conceptual changes during my INF506 studies.

SITUATED LEARNING, KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND SOCIAL NETWORKING

Brown (2000) predicted the development of a social, online learning ecology comprising of a vast number of authors, virtual communities of interest groups, that can develop into a “powerful fabric for learning” (p. 19). He further described learning in situ, or situated learning, where learning happens socially, through participation and collective knowledge creation and the WWW becomes “not only an informational and social source but a learning medium” (p. 14). This incredibly powerful insight from 2000 already, is illustrated in Siemens’s anecdote (see below), where he explains that through his early attempts at blogging that he first realised that learning is a network forming process; that the social systems and technology systems that are part of human knowledge have become part of our capacity to know (USC: Learning and Teaching, 2014). His partner in formulating Connectivism as learning theory, Downes, states that knowledge consists of the network of connections formed from experience and interactions with a knowing community (Downes, 2010). Wow. It is during my INF506 studies that all these theories started to make sense. We ALL learn in the social networked environment. Learning – as an action – is changing, becoming increasingly less isolated and more social as a result of our participation in social networks. This is incredibly important for us as educators to keep in mind. The distinction between formal and informal learning is disappearing in this connected environment and MOOCs provide affordable and flexible ways to learn collaboratively in a social networking environment (MOOC, n.d.). Our students learn as much from watching YouTube videos as they do from being in our classes. Learning can increasingly happen on-demand and is more self-directed, because of the ubiquitous nature of information technology. Ohler (2010), explains that this ubiquity has changed our relationship with time and space and created an infrastructure that surrounds us in a continuous, “familiar stream of experience” (p. 78), that we find difficult to unplug from (p. 85). This technology is now so embedded in our environment that it is becoming invisible to us (p. 91).

Social networking is not a passing fad of personal egocentric feeds on Facebook and Instagram, it is a very fundamental part of how we now find information and learn. Conole (2011) argues that to make effective use of the affordances of open, social and participatory media and the networked information environment of the WWW, learners and teachers need the necessary digital skills, guidance and support (p. 305). As teacher librarian in the library of a secondary school, I see this support, as well as leadership in terms of information seeking and knowledge creation, as part of my responsibility and mission. We have easy and free access to Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs and wikis, but because of issues surrounding data and identity security and safety we need to create and choose safe environments for our students in which to develop the necessary digital skills needed to harness the stream of new technologies that keep appearing and create their digital identities (pp. 306-307).  Teacher librarians need to take a leading role in educating students and teachers about intellectual property, academic honesty, copyright and creative commons licenses, as teacher librarians we also need to ensure that our school libraries, its resources and services facilitate collaborative and creative learning. Hirsch’s (2013) advice (which I have blogged about here): to create physical and virtual environments that foster and encourage learning, mentoring, collaborating, creativity and knowledge creating (p. 7); that facilitate and support the use of new technologies (p. 13); that seek ways to reach out and deliver service into the community (p. 8), will support learning in the connected environment.

AN OPEN APPROACH TO ACADEMIC DISCOURSE
The changes in academic discourse is the last fundamental insight that I would like to reflect on, because it is important for me as a student, social networker and information professional, but also for our teachers, as life-long learners, and our students who are preparing for further academic study. The new open, social and participatory media clearly have potential to radically transform teaching and learning, where “open” refers to the practice of sharing content as a default (Conole, 2011, p. 205). Social networking facilitates many ways to connect, communicate, collaborate and learn with and from an “open” network of peers, teachers, mentors and resources. Digital scholarship is emerging as an increasingly important way for academics to disseminate their teaching, learning and research (p. 307).  The social networking environment enables this to happen in an “open” way. As librarians we need to advocate for and educate about the virtues and vices of important initiatives such as the Open Access Movement and Open Educational Resources (Eisen, 2105; Beall, 2015; “Open Access,” n.d.; “Open Educational,” n.d.).

OTHER STUFF I DID AND DIDN’T LEARN
Having listed my main conceptual and theoretical insights from this module does not really leave me room to reflect on practical learning. My personal practice with and evaluation of social media tools did not change much during these months. I did, however, learn a lot about how incredibly well charities use social media. I also learnt how important it is to choose social media platforms well, according to your audience and purpose, and to tailor content for the particular market and audience. I came across enterprise social networks for the first time and do NOT understand why we as a school “make do” with a one-way communication such as email, when Yammer & company is around.

I thought that through INF506 I would learn how to create an Instagram account for our school library. This sadly did not happen, in part due to the cancellation of the social media project, in part because my creation of a social media strategy for our school library did not entirely convince me of its purpose that (Wocke, 2019c). My gain as a social networker and information professional, in terms of a much stronger conceptual understanding of the information dissemination, knowledge creation and of learning in our social networking world makes up for this in spades.


REFERENCES

Beall, J. (2015, May/June). What the Open-Access Movement doesn’t want you to know. Academe. Retrieved from https://www.aaup.org/article/what-open-access-movement-doesn%E2%80%99t-want-you-know#.XPJGC9MzYdU

Brookes, M. (2016, August 15). Connectivism – A learning theory for the digital age [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/vauFOd6XU_Q

Brown, J. S. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091380009601719

Conole, G. (2011). Designing for learning in an open world. New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-8517-0

Downes, S. (2010). Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge. In H. H. Yang & S. C.-Y. Yuen (Eds.), Collective intelligence and e-learning 2.0: Implications of web-based communities and networking.

Eisen, M. (n.d.). Emerging Visions for Access in the Twenty-first Century Library: Vol. 119. The Open Access Movement in scholarly communication. Retrieved from Council on Library and Information Resources website: https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub119/eisen/

Hirsh, S. (2013, October). The global transformation of libraries, LIS education, and LIS professionals. Paper presented at Library 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference, San Jose, CA, USA. Retrieved from https://rikkyo.repo.nii.ac.jp/index.php?action=pages_view_main&active_action=repository_action_common_download&item_id=16425&item_no=1&attribute_id=22&file_no=1&page_id=13&block_id=49

Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 9(3), 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/9.3.4

MOOC. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2019, from http://mooc.org/

Nations, D. (2019, May 23). What is social networking? Retrieved May 31, 2019, from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-social-networking-3486513

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452219448

Open access movement. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2019, from Science Direct website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/open-access-movement

Open educational resources. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2019, from UNESCO website: https://en.unesco.org/themes/building-knowledge-societies/oer

USC: Learning and Teaching. (2014, January 21). Overview of connectivism – Dr George Siemens [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx5VHpaW8sQ

Utz, S., & Muscanell, N. (2015). Social media and social capital: Introduction to the special issue. Societies, (5), 420-424. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020420

Wade, M. (2014, December 4). Social network theory. Retrieved May 31, 2019, from Theories Used in IS Research Wiki website: https://is.theorizeit.org/wiki/Social_network_theory

Wocke, G. (2019a, May 14). How our school library can do social [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/05/14/how-our-school-library-can-social/

Wocke, G. (2019b, May 16). Is it a dinosaur, or is it a … library? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/05/16/is-it-a-dinosaur-or-is-it-a-library/

Wocke, G. (2019c, February 27). Learning about social media [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/02/27/learning-about-social-networking/

Lessons from the project that did not happen

Following our first INF506 online meeting I came up with what I thought would be an easy social networking project:

At school we have a monthly-meeting book club, the members of which are all staff or faculty members (current and past) of our school. The club is informally led by one of the school librarians. Communication between members happen by email. Newly motivated by the workings of the INF506 Facebook group I wanted to explore the possibility of moving the book club’s communication and interactions from the email format to a closed Facebook group.

Initial investigations seemed positive. I found Facebook profiles for 49 of the 52 members of the email mailing list on the first try. With the agreement of the librarian organiser of the group, I sent out an email message to inquire about the interest in moving the communication to Facebook. I explained my proposal, listed some pros and cons and waited only seconds before the first positive response came…

The NO said: No, I do not want this.

The YES, BUTs should really count as NOs. Both respondents indicated that they will go along with a Facebook group, but…

… I really try to stay away from Facebook as it “sucks me in”.

… I really try to keep work and private lives apart and book club is school-related and Facebook is private.

The YESs were just that: YES!

I was surprised by the large number on NO RESPONSEs, since almost all of these have Facebook accounts. I have to reason that these are

mostly “WHATEVERs” and probably some that did want to seem negative by saying NO.

On reflection, here is what I learnt:

  • Email is a ubiquitous part of our school community, there is no way you can NOT open your email account multiple times a day. You do not have to go look for the messages, they find you. Even taking into account the huge rise in social media communication, email is still our most used format for digital communication channel – best for transactional information, broadcast communications an passive notification according to Becker (2016), Kallas (2018) and Canhoto (2017) provides similar arguments.
  • Because of Facebook’s ranking, it decides for you which posts you will see first, and the book club messages may go unnoticed. Finding these messages will need active and timely participation, and you may still miss the message if you do not scroll down far enough or if you get distracted along the way.
  • People choose which platforms serve which purposes intentionally, for example to keep different parts of their lives separate.
  • Don’t fix something that is not broken.

With all this in mind, I do not think that the closed Facebook group is in fact the best solution for the book club,
which does not even have a problem…


References

Becker, M. (2016, June 27). Facebook vs. email: Why email reigns supreme (and always will). Retrieved March 15, 2019, from The Business Journals website: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2016/06/facebook-vs-email-why-email-reigns-supreme.html

Canhoto, A. (2017, July 20). Mailing list vs Facebook group crib sheet [Blog post]. Retrieved from Ana Canhoto website: https://anacanhoto.com/2017/07/20/mailing-list-vs-facebook-group-crib-sheet/

Kallas, P. (2018, July 14). 11 Reasons Why Your Email List Beats Social Media. Retrieved March 15, 2019, from Dreamgrow website: https://www.dreamgrow.com/11-reasons-why-newsletter-beats-social-media/

Representativeness of social media platforms in GB

 

OLJ Task 1: American Behavioural Scientist – article analysis

Read one of the articles in this special issue and provide your thoughts and analysis of your chosen article.


Blank, G., & Lutz, C. (2017). Representativeness of Social Media in Great Britain: Investigating Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(7), 741-756. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217717559


With this article Blank and Lutz add to the statistical evidence that describe the social characteristics of notable social media platforms. They analyse demographical user characteristics (such as age, gender, income, education and life circumstances), as well as antecedent factors (such as self-efficacy, skills, privacy concerns, and mobile or non-mobile devices), of six popular social media platforms among their users in Great Britain.

The research focused on two specific questions:

  • What are the user characteristics?
  • Which potential biases can arise for platform-specific social media research from these user characteristics (Blank & Lutz, 2017, p. 743)?

image by mohamed_hassan, downloaded from pixabay

The authors conclude that the factors influencing each of the platforms differ and that no single social media platform is representative of the general population (p. 742). Of the 12 predictors used, age seem to be the strongest and most significant (p. 744). They report that their data show social media users are younger and better educated, with higher income than the average Brit (p. 747). While “younger users are more likely to use participatory media” (p. 745). Gender, socioeconomic status and life circumstances play smaller roles in the adoption of social media platforms, while device (mobile vs. non-mobile) seem to affect which platforms users adopt.

I wonder why the authors do not inform us of how they decided on the six specific social media platforms to investigate? Similar recent studies by Pew (users in the US) and Hootsuite/We Are Social (users world-wide) confirm the top popularity of Facebook (“Social Media,” 2018; Kemp, 2018, p.59). These studies also include Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Google+ is mentioned by neither and its user numbers were deemed so insignificant by Google that it recently closed the platform (Schwarz, 2018). Globally significant social media platforms, such as Whatsapp (50% of UK social media users claim use) and Snapchat (25% of UK social media users claim use) are strangely absent (Kemp, 2018, p.140).

Through research following the reading of this article I have learnt to take careful note of the social media usage “numbers” so widely reported on. I agree with Pearce (2015) that “Counting social media site users is popular yet fraught with challenges (p.1).

On a practical level, I have learnt from this article to take careful note of the age groups to which I direct a social media campaign. What works for parents (probably Facebook) may not work for students (rather Instagram or Snapchat). Teachers may respond well to Twitter, but before making decisions my specific audience must be polled to determine preference.

A bonus from the article is the depth of the bibliography, which will provide interesting reading as I become immersed in INF506.


References

Blank, G., & Lutz, C. (2017). Representativeness of Social Media in Great Britain: Investigating Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(7), 741-756. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217717559

Chaffey, D. (2018, March 28). Global social media research summary 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Smart Insights website: https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/

Digital in 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Hootsuite website: file:///Users/grethawocke/Downloads/Digital-in-2018-001-Global-Overview-Report-v1.02-L%20(1).pdf

Greenwood, S., Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2016, November 11). Social media use in 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Pew Research Centre website: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/

Kemp, S. (2018, January). Digital in 2018. Retrieved from We Are Social/Hootsuite website: https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018

Pearce, K. E. (2013). Counting to nowhere: Social media adoption and use as an opportunity for public scholarship and engagement. Social Media + Society, 1(1), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115578672

Rainie, L. (2018, March 27). Americans’ complicated feelings about social media in an era of privacy concerns. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Pew Research Centre website: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/27/americans-complicated-feelings-about-social-media-in-an-era-of-privacy-concerns/

Schwarz, B. (2018, October 8). Google to close Google+ after 7 years: A look back at the impact it once had on Google search. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Search Engine Land website: https://searchengineland.com/google-to-close-google-after-7-years-a-look-back-at-the-impact-it-once-had-on-google-search-306360

Sehl, K. (2018, April 25). 100+ Social media demographics that matter to marketers. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Hootsuite website: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-demographics/

Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2018, March 1). Social media use in 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Pew Research Centre website: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Social media analytics: A cheat sheet of everything you can measure. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Spredfast website: https://www.spredfast.com/social-media-tips/social-media-analytics-cheat-sheet-everything-you-can-measure

Social media use fact sheet. (2018, February 5). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Pew Research Centre website: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/

The 2018 social audience guide. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from Spredfast website: https://www.spredfast.com/social-media-tips/social-media-demographics-current

Learning about Social Networking

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

Assessment item 1: OLJ creation and first entryDefine social networking in your own words

a.) Define Social Networking in your own words:

Social networking is the use of online platforms to connect and communicate with other users with a common interest.

b.) List what social networking technologies and sites you already use:

Social networking and social media form an important part of how I stay informed and grow as a school librarian. My use of Facebook has moved from purely personal use, to primarily conversations with groups of school librarians and international educators. These conversations are enriching, inspiring and where I go if I need input and advice.  Twitter is an easy way to learn from and interact with the “great” educators of our day! Facebook and Twitter are the social networks where I interact with my Personal Learning Network.

I use Pinterest to keep inspired and engaged in personal interests and hobbies. WhatsApp is my preferred tool to keep in contact with family and friends, near and far. Goodreads provides me with a diverse community of readers to support my personal and professional reading as well as that of our school library. I plan to explore Instagram during this module.

I was a very reluctant blogger, forced to start blogging for my studies, but my CSU ThinkSpace blog, Gretha Reflecting, has been one of the most valuable learning experiences this far in my Masters’ studies. It is also the only social networking interaction that requires me to produce and contribute to social media and not only to consume.

c.) Describe what you expect to learn from INF506:

The connected world of the Internet has enabled me to connect and network with others and to access almost any information anywhere, it has changed when, where and how I learn. I believe in connected learning and in the role libraries can play to facilitate authentic, student-centred learning experiences and self-directed learning. Social networking is a crucial component needed to make this happen. I hope that this module will provide me with the knowledge and opportunities to develop the skills needed to develop this aspect of our library’s services.


References

About Connected Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Connected Learning Alliance website: https://clalliance.org/about-connected-learning/

About Goodreads. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Goodreads website: https://www.goodreads.com/about/us

Gil, P. (2018, February 5). What is Twitter and how does it work? Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Lifewire website: https://www.lifewire.com/what-exactly-is-twitter-2483331

Moreau, E. (2018, September 5). What is Instagram, anyway? Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Lifewire website: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-instagram-3486316

Moreau, E. (2018, September 10). What is Pinterest? Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Lifewire website: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-use-pinterest-3486578

Morris, K. (2013, January 5). 10 reasons every educator should start blogging. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from The Edublogger website: https://www.theedublogger.com/ten-reasons-every-educator-should-start-blogging/

Rouse, M. (2013, June). WhatsApp. Retrieved November 3, 2018, from SearchMobileComputing website: https://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/WhatsApp

Social networking. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from TechTerms website: https://techterms.com/definition/socialnetworking

What is a personal learning network? (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Teachthought website: https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/

What is Facebook? (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2018, from Lifewire website: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-facebook-3486391

Wocke, G. (n.d.). Learning about social networking [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/