Hi, I’m Kathleen Gradel a professor from the College of Education from SUNY Fredonia. A social media network is an online community. In social networks, people share information of all types. Members have mixed goals…the big idea, though, is to connect with others, including friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers who may share common interests or activities.
Social networks can include people who interact in more traditional online and offline ways or people who interact purely in the online world.
Social media networks consist of built-in communication channels. Depending on the network, channels may include status updates, posts, or instant messaging. You can share information, make announcements, or post media about upcoming events.
Social media is made up of a large, diverse pool of cloud-based tools connecting social networks. Underlying each tool is the idea of community. The knowledge and information that you create and post, both influences and is influenced by others in the community. This typically stimulates ideas and connections.
Multimedia are a regular part of almost all communication. Photos and videos are commonly shared through social media channels, along with text.
Increasingly, social media networks are being used by billions of people to connect and communicate with people across the globe.
Almost all social media networks require membership. What this means is that you typically cannot search the community’s information without joining. Even if you are able to search community content without joining, it is rare that you can post as a non-member.
Some social media networks allow you to alter your privacy settings and have a lot of control over who sees your posts. Knowing what is public and private is important to consider when joining a social media network.
Social media can benefit you by its convenience and its ease of use. Most popular networks have a short learning curve, are free, and give you easy access to people near and far.
Social media gives you ways to communicate with people without meeting face-to-face. Many social networks allow members to post status updates and pictures, to broadcast their activities, opinions, and accomplishments. Beyond broadcasting, social media networks can facilitate quality interactions and information exchange.
People use different networks for different reasons…for staying in touch, for being up-to-date with events and trends…for learning new things…and for even for managing work-related information.
Staying active on social media networks can help you keep up with family, friends, and colleagues. Social media networks are also beneficial when trying to build, expand, and maintain connections and relationships.
How exciting that we all have so many choices for using networks to meet our own social needs and professional interests!
Finally…I wanted to mention just a brief “PS.” You know that famous sci-fi series where the catchphrase involves “the force”? Well, that’s the segue to my final thought.
Social media has the potential for tons of “force”…good and evil. I am not trying to be melodramatic here, just smart.
Social media tools – in of themselves – are just tools. In the hands of learners and teachers and constructive interactors, social media helps us all win.
When social media interfaces with less positive elements and intents, it helps us lose.
Coupled with the human intent is this: Social media (as with any technology) must be tempered. It can be addicting or a balanced add-on. Using social media strategically, balanced, and for good intentions…that’s the ticket!