Learning Spaces: Social Technology, Social Networks, and Multi-User Virtual Environments
Social technology include a range of tools and resources that facilitate human interaction and connections. These dynamic environments may involved sharing text, audio, video, images, or animation. While some networks emphasize building authentic, real-world connections for family or employment purposes, others encourage the creation of avatars and alter-egos for use in world exploration or gaming.
A 2011 PEW Internet study titled Social Networking Sites and Our Lives found that "the number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of Social Network Sites (SNS) users has gotten older". They found that 92% of SNS users are on Facebook.
Social media are social technology used for developing social connections that may be related to commerce or sharing of user-generated content. They are used to build connections among people with similar interests. This sharing can take place in many ways including social networks and virtual worlds.
Watch Social Media in Plain English from CommonCraft at YouTube (shown on right).
Social networks are virtual spaces where people of all ages can make contacts, share information and ideas, and build a sense of community. Like all technologies, they are built with tools that can serve many purposes. Although some tools such as Facebook are designed for the general public, others have specific audiences and purposes. For instance, Footnote is a social network for people interested in sharing primary source materials and Flickr focuses on sharing images.
Well-constructed social environments provide an excellent opportunity to model high tech learning in a safe online environment. In other words, experienced learners can share their experience with new learners.
If you'd like to search social networks, try IceRocket. It allows you to search Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Images, and BigBuzz.
This section has been divided into two areas. Be sure to check out each page:
Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the Learning Spaces: Social Technology: Social Networks page.