Still Interested? How Interesting….

The world of social media interests me in the way it is ever evolving; the continuous changes and additions to social media tools, what the purpose of all of these tools are, how we recognize them and in turn access them.  Who uses them and how?  And most importantly, are these social media tools being utilized effectively and appropriately?

Social media in how it relates to business.  Super cool.  From seeing first hand in my previous career of how social media has grown in the work place and business community as a whole the past decade is absolutely astounding.  Businesses (old and new) rely on social media as much as they rely on their employees.  It is this reliance that interests me and digging around in social media’s backyard this term has given me some added perspective in what I can expect when I re-join the working masses in a few short months.

Social media in how it relates to education.  HOT topic.  How it is used inside the classroom and outside for learning purposes.  Social media is so integrated into our society at every turn; it only makes sense the education system be yet another branch of the social media tree of life.   Students, faculty, administration, programs, course content, communication and the knowledge itself in how social media can affect this joint venture to help in producing intelligent, well informed and a socially savvy online population of new professionals who will hit the ground running after graduation.  From elementary school to high school and post-secondary, social media in education in not only necessary to discuss it is imperative to teach at all levels.

I will graduate in less than 1year and I believe that social media will not change drastically in this short span of time.  New social media tools will continue to emerge and new social media fads will continue to take hold of the younger generation.

I do believe that social media in the next year for businesses will continue to be an integral part of the business blueprint for any company who want to be ‘seen’, to be recognized and to stay competitive in whatever market or industry they are a part of.

Social media changes the role of student / teacher by providing auxiliary communication,  giving students access to teachers 24hrs a day by way of direct emails, chats, online assignment submission, discussion groups…I feel this puts teacher and student on a level playing field so to speak.  A field where a student isn’t waiting to be acknowledged in some capacity, waiting for an opportunity to ask questions or address concerns, waiting for answers when time is as important to the student as it is to the teacher.  It creates respect and understanding between student and teacher when there is open communication and social media provides the outlet for just that.  Social media used in this capacity between student and teacher can be empowering for all involved.

Social media is as interesting as we make it.  As with anything in life, if you are passionate, informed and involved, you will be successful.  Social media can be a huge part of your success in business, education or personal life.  We dictate how much of a part social media will involved these aspects of our lives.

As much as we think (or want) social media to be it’s own entity, don’t let it fool you.

We control IT, we are responsible for IT and all outcomes of IT.

Not the other way around.

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Critical College Critique

Say that 10 times fast!  Seriously try it, I just did.

Today will be a self-reflection; an analysis (if I may) on the different types of social media I have used for my college courses.

I was pleasantly surprised in the first semester of my program, realizing that the entire college uses DC Connect as their formal communications platform.   It’s a portal, it’s email, it’s financials, it’s campus health, sports and news.  It’s complete timetable access, registration, course outlines, contact information, course content and grades…it’s pretty much a ‘one stop shop’ for the student and I have to be honest, in comparison to my experience 17 years ago at the same college (in a different program), DC Connect really enhances the student experience.  No matter what your age is, as a student you want information.  And you want it fast.  Our lives are about convenience and I think the college has done a great job on this front.

The college also provides each student with a college email.  Another great idea.  I receive all emails relating to school from classmates, instructors and administration, all to one account.  Nice and tidy.  It keeps my school life and my personal life separate.  It would be a bloody mess if the emails of those 2 entities were intertwined!

Often in class I am instructed to search websites, topics, and interesting facts of whatever we may be discussing at that moment.  Definitely adds to the pace of the class and culture of the classroom.

I receive texts in class from classmates sitting across the room from me about in class topics or to set up times to meet regarding homework, test review, projects, etc.  In classes where group work is required, we set up Facebook groups (outside of school) to stay on top of our progress and create a place with an open forum to discuss, vent, whatever.  I’m seeing students and faculty on LinkedIn and Twitter.  It’s all about networking, knowledge and using social media to experience both and the college actively promotes these techniques.  This is life as we know it, on campus and off.   As a student, I find it to be empowering.

Let’s see…what other types of social media have I used for my studies?

McGraw Hill, Lyryx and MyITLab are all educational websites that have been integrated into my courses.  I have purchased registration codes for all 3 in order to access quizzes, training labs and learning materials.  Mandatory I might add.  I have been successful in navigating all of these sites and have few complaints.  Technology is not perfect however, there are some definite glitches and as with any software application, it takes patience.  Unfortunately, when grades and deadlines are involved, frustration is inevitable.  At least I have a high level of understanding when it comes to computer software/applications.  Some are not in that same boat.

Negatives?

Sure, I could do without the hefty price tags to purchase these registration codes (I think one code cost me $180!) and have yet to hear back from any web administrator on any email I sent when experiencing difficulties online in quizzes/labs.  LAME.

All that being said, I find it extremely EASY (almost too easy), to have access to all my course content and course outlines and grades online; being able to electronically submit assignments and projects via ‘the dropbox’ and complete quizzes and labs online.  No ‘in class pop quizzes of old’…awesome.

In my Social Media and Society class this past module, I was introduced to many social media tools I had never used or some I’d never even heard of  (ie: Vine, Foursquare, Vimeo, Pheed, Today’sMeet, PBworks, WordPress)

What’s funny is that this particular course was classified as a hybrid:  partial in class and partial online instruction and learning.  I found it to be an interesting course, mostly because of the political and social views of my instructor; he certainly paints a vivid picture of society.  In color.   With passion.  It’s refreshing.

But I truly feel that most of the courses I’ve taken thus far are hybrids or definitely heading in that direction, all having significant online elements.

Ok…not Macroeconomics.

That’s an entirely different animal.

Help or Hindrance?

Social Media again???

Sigh…I know I know, but we must persevere.

Just hang on to me and I’ll get you thought this; I’ll be your life boat, your dingy, your ‘way too small, who the hell invented these things anyways?’ water wings.

It’ll all be over soon enough, trust me 🙂

Social Media.

We all use it so there’s no sense in lying.  And why would you lie anyways?  If you’re NOT using social media in some form or another, you are an alien.  AN ALIEN.

You can’t exist on this planet and function as a regular human being without it.  It creeps into every corner of our existence.  It defines who we are and what we believe in.

Or does it???

I, myself, use Facebook on a regular basis.  Daily (not surprisingly I’m sure) and I do admit that I was a late comer to the Facebook scene.  I held out for as long as I could, even as all my friends and family were jumping on the FB bandwagon, I could not bring myself to conform.  Conformity…blahblahblah.

But alas, in 2009 there I was an official, shiny new member of the Facebook family.  I now check it every morning for interesting updates or daily affirmations I may need to arm myself with for the day.   I will check it if I am bored or if just wasting time, and then as I lay in bed at night, I will most often give a quick looksee to see if anything life altering has happened or anyone has sent me a message, post or ‘like’ that just can’t wait until the morning when the cycle begins again.

YouTube and Twitter…never use ‘em.  Vine, foursquare….never heard of them until a few days ago.  So is Facebook the only social media network that I am apart of?  Well no.  I AM a member of LinkedIn, a professional based social network.  That’s right, it’s for professionals only.  (We hope?)  I’m not as active on LinkedIn as I am on FB; I don’t even think I’m done updating my online profile yet.  It’s appalling I know.

For my personal life, I find LinkedIn to be unnecessary but Facebook can be quite useful actually.  Family and friends whom I just don’t talk to or see often enough, I can remain a part of their lives, aware and informed of what is going on.  Updates on new jobs, houses, births, weddings, deaths, pictures of fabulous vacations that I’ll never take, job promotions, graduations…um, I think that’s it.  I will share articles if I find them interesting and think someone else may also and I will definitely post some of my own pictures to share with those who want to be a part of my life.  But that’s about it.  I’m not really down with the whole, posting a status update every hour on the hour and sharing everything that it shared to me and playing all the games and taking all the quizzes.  All of that can take up a lot of time; time that I just don’t have to waste on ‘online’ frivolities.

Social media technologies are everywhere.  Online webpages for everything you can think of.  EVERYTHING.  For personal use I browse the odd news website, search Canada411 for a listing or buy music from Apple iTunes store;  the truth is I Google almost everything that I look up on the internet if I don’t have a URL for it.

I am a fan of LinkedIn for business purposes.  I enjoy the networking of past, present and future colleagues and I find the business related articles and forums sent out daily are quite interesting and informative.  I pick and choose what I read as I’m not a sponge and again…time is a valuable commodity in my life.  Weekly, I find myself deleting articles before I’ve had a chance to read them, otherwise I would have hundreds clogging up my inbox.  I’ve been there before…300+ unread emails and not a minute to read any of them.  I choose my battles; it’s the new me.

Facebook not being a part of my professional life is still a big part of my professional life so I keep my online usage clean and respectful for any employer (or anyone I know for that matter) who may go looking around to see what I’m all about.  Rants and inappropriate images are just not me.  I save that sh#@t for real life.  Sit down with me and I’ll tell you a few things.  Let’s do Vegas sometime… no cameras please.

All that being said, I find it disturbing on some levels that a person can view me and my profile (Facebook or LinkedIn) and pass judgement on who I am as a person and whether or not I am ‘employable’ or ‘friendship worthy’.

To be honest, I feel I am unfamiliar with most social media technologies of today.  Sometimes that makes me feel ancient.  But most of the time it makes me feel good that I haven’t conformed whole heartedly to the social media beast that haunts us all.

Yay me!

Mi Casa, Su Casa

Come in, take a look around, have a seat.

Take off your hat, your coat, your socks…anything else you may find unnecessary or confining.

Can I get you something to drink?

You have entered a place that is ALL me….ALL the time.

If you find something outlandish, offensive, or just plain stupid, please feel free to show yourself out.

Can’t find the door?  Let me poor you another…

I make no apologies as I aim to bore you, amuse you, to offend you, to twist and bend you… into the wormhole I call my own.

I say things sometimes.  So listen up.

Hey, Ann Smarty.  BLOG THIS!

I came across this blog of Ann’s a little earlier today.

It is titled:  Social Media and Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

http://www.seochat.com/c/a/social/social-media-and-society-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Ann takes us on a delightful journey; showcasing her opinions of Social Media and how it has affected society to date, as a whole.  Ms. Smarty, (the clever devil) outlines various aspects of social media; the good, the bad and the ugly (a.k.a: the pros and cons) and her bias is quite clear from the start.  She believes the impact on society has been a positive one.   “I am all for the widening of the world we live in, and easy communication around the world.” 

She touches on some of the Good:  bridging the distances and communicating with the advancements of technology – person to person, consumers and businesses on a global scale.  Along with benefits seen by non-profit organizations using social networks for cost efficiencies and to gain awareness and support for specific campaigns, Ann uses today’s youth and current politics as an example, stating that:  “Social media has made it possible for likeminded individuals to discuss important topics, widen their personal knowledge and discover things they never knew before.”

Enter the Bad and the Ugly:

Ann points out our lazy habits, our lack of face- to- face interactions and our failing relationships; with social media to blame. She reflects on our tendencies to hide behind digital screens and is outraged by how cell phones/smart phones have taken over our lives!  Our professionalism is down the drain and work hours wasted!  “Productivity is pretty much shot thanks to social media…”   She targets Facebook as a tool that promotes infidelities and stupidity, attempting to wrangle her audience into agreeing with her based on our own personal experiences.

“Whoring sob fest”, “translated moron”, “self-centered douchebaggery”… I’m unsure of WHAT or WHO Ann is (really) referring to here but her writing takes a sharp turn, quite out of character to the rest of her blog and nearing the end, becomes very much a rant.

Her conclusion brings us around again to note that the effects of social media on society, in her ‘honest’ opinion, are somewhat balanced.  There’s good….there’s bad.  Meh.  We will all heed her advice I’m sure, to keep our “own life centered in reality and use social networking as a small part of it”, we’ll be just fine, thanks Ann.

Let me start from the beginning.

The title:  Social Media and Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. 

Genius, right?  Wrong.

Cliché, obvious and overrated; which only leads us to the body of the blog Ms. Smarty threw together for our reading enjoyment.

Is this blog even relatable?

I feel that I can understand some of Ann’s basic concepts of good and bad, but in finding it completely under opinionated, seemingly un-informed, boring, and unoriginal; I have difficulty in agreeing with Ann’s words.

This blog was poorly formatted and lacking from the start.  I suppose much of what is indicative of blogs nowadays, right?  Anyone can write them, me included.  Anyone can have an opinion and have a voice.

THIS…I am a strong advocate of.

I have always taught and will continue to teach my children that one voice DOES matter in the world.  Everyone has a right to be heard in whichever forum may be available and appropriate.

However, what is just as important is HOW you say things.  A blogger has the potential audience of millions and call me old fashioned, but I do feel that proper spelling and grammar should be a priority before posting your written work.  I feel that a writers choice of words should be reflective of who they are and when you (Ann) for example, use the word ‘vein’ interchangeably, it sounds out of place, incorrect  and somewhat pornographic.  A thesaurus is your friend, as is a dictionary.  As writers, we should embrace these readily available tools found (if not on your bookshelf) why then, how about online?  Imagine that you crazy kids!

Acronyms and vulgar terminology are not the best ways to reach your audience and get your point across and by far, neither is contradicting yourself and telling falsehoods.  Be aware of who you are talking to, what you are trying to say and how best to accomplish this.

Credibility as a writer/blogger is achievable when you apply intelligence, creativity and patience behind your words and writing about social media can be just as frustrating and disheartening as reading about it or even using it.

There are too many Good, Bad and Uglies out there to list off in the world of social media and I can see society around us every day, the ultra-young to the uber-old, completely cocooned in it.

I think we ALL must conform on some societal level to the cycles of this growing machine, the ideals and the technologies and the conveniences of our beloved social media.

Love to hate it, or hate to love it; call it a sin, beast, frenzy, blanket, safety net, distraction, hindrance, a gift… I think I’ll just call it a way of life for now.

Until I come up with something better.

Cheers,

N