Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting Social

What is social media?

Had this been my final year exam question, five years ago, I would have bluntly replied that any media which is not anti social in its intention is social media.

But today, as a netizen trapped in the web for most of the time, I should confess, I live, breath and eat social media. Did I leave out an important fact here? Yes. Not only do I live, breath and eat social media, I also make a living with social media.
Wikipedia defines Social media as `media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses web-based technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogues’.

That means, while tweeting or re-tweeting, writing a blog, or setting a live status message, we are breathing social media.
This certainly marks a definite shift in mass communication. While my text books told me that mass communication is predominantly one-way in nature (like, you read the newspaper, listen to radio, or watch the television) the magic spell of the `social media’ phenomenon proves the definition otherwise.

Stark statistics blare out that the world today has over 60 million bloggers. Twitter is laden with 75 million accounts. Any news website has a zillion comments and replies.

So why are all these here in my blog space? Because its time I make my elearning stuff `social media compatible’. This means wading a sayonara to bookish stuff and ushering in content that is intuitive (or seemingly intuitive).

The above content could be better presented as this –

This makes the learning process more interesting, and the content is certainly more engaging.
Quiz is yet another area where the influence of social media is strongly felt. Gone is the age when it was enough to tell the people their net score and close the module. Today, quizzes need to `talk’ with participants, giving them enough reasons to tell them why a choice is right or wrong.

LMS platforms like Moodle take the concept even more further by providing chat windows for participants / teachers to communicate.

Reminds me of 007's lines - `The world is not enough...But is is such a perfect place to start, my love!'