Social networking is the multiple connections through various communication mediums,that people create with each other for particular reasons. They allow us to collect, comment, and create with information to build our knowledge and experience of our world. Prior to the availability and accessibility of the current digital technologies, many people did this fairly locally on a one-to-one basis. Then the availability of personal computers increased the connections for those who had the access. Now, greater competition for a multitude of freely-available applications through more mobile devices means that those connections are becoming prolific and a significant part of all aspects of our interactive lives – learning, earning and living! Twelve months ago -prior to commencing a course of study ‘on-line’ through a ‘distance education’ mode, my connections were limited like a one-way street. I searched the web for information and sent emails. I was quickly introduced to subject forum and wiki sites and could search library databases and ‘ask a librarian’ through live chat. I went on to create a Blog (my online learning journal – OLJ) and use other interactive tools such as Skype, NeatChat, GoogleDocs and Wikispaces to collaboratively complete some assigned tasks.
I now have Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Del.icio.us accounts and expect I’ll spend quite a bit of time getting them and their associated passwords etc, sorted inside my original, organic search engine – my brain! – a great reason to keep eating and drinking.
I expect that by the end of this Social Networking course I’ll consider myself a more informed and experienced ‘Information Professional’. I’ll have improved my efficiency in the use of my new tools and have made many more connections with people using Web2 in their role as teacher librarians. I will have created ways to use these tools both with students and other teachers in a professional development capacity. I’ll know how to accurately ‘attribute’ when using other people’s on-line images in my own work and I’ll realize the empowerment of contributing to networks and grow professionally.