What is Social Media?

No longer satisfied to be consumers of content, today’s audience creates content as well, and is uploading photographs, audio, and video to the cloud by the billions. Producing, commenting, and classifying these media have become just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening. Sites like Flickr, Odeo, YouTube, Google Video, and Ourmedia make it easy to find images, videos, and audio clips, but the real value of these sites lies in the way that users can classify, evaluate, comment upon, and add to the content that is there. Using simple interfaces, visitors can build shared collections of resources, whether they be links, photos, videos, documents, or almost any other kind of media. They can find and comment on items in other people’s lists, sharing not only the resources themselves but information and descriptive details about them. As a result, over the past few years, the ways we produce, use and even think about our media have undergone a profound transformation. Literally billions of videos, podcasts, and other forms of social media are just a click away for any Internet-connected user. As the numbers and quality of user-produced clips have increased, our notions of what constitutes useful or engaging media have been redefined — and more and more, it is a two- to three-minute piece designed for viewing inside a browser or on a mobile phone. That same phone is often the device used to create the media in the first place, with surprisingly high quality when viewed on a small screen. Tools for assembling and editing clips are free or extremely low cost and make it easy for amateurs to get good results without investing in expensive equipment, software, or training.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • A huge shift in this area was signaled this year by the official termination of Princeton's UChannel, and its replacement by YouTube and iTunes U. http://uc.princeton.edu/main/index.php/component/content/article/13-university-channel-blog/5371-uchanneldiscontinue The world of commercial Social Media sites is now not just occasionally connected to the academic domain, but increasingly in a position where it takes over some of its traditional functions. The consequences of this for future scholarship are fascinating: what happens when the online locales that serve popular and scholarly materials merge into one, with similar affordances? - rubenrp rubenrp Oct 3, 2010
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • As important as the elements of social media are, the content, technologies, trends, etc., an important aspect that does not seem to have the proportionate emphasis is that of personal identity. Social media, at its roots, is an evolving extension of how individuals are identifying themselves. As a prominent lifestyle technology, it serves to provides identifiers to core aspects of the participants individuality, and in turn, the social structure they identify with. These form around causes, interests, beliefs, passions, and other "common ground" factors, but also surface in more subtle variables presents in the choices of personal information presented, quotes, quizzes, lists, pictures, Tweets, games, geolocation tagging, etc. The combination of the community identification and personalized characteristics provides a strong identity centric aspect to social media that should be factored in. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 5, 2010
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • your response here
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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