Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog 2.0

I've been having a think about the emphasis of my blog and my motivation for using it, and decided it's time for an overhaul and to refocus my reflections.  Whilst I started this as a foray into social media, this stems from a wider interest in all things to do with online learning.  I'm suffering from a little social media fatigue, perhaps due to a deliberate attempt to fully immerse myelf in the medium to better understand it.  Whilst I've learned a lot from the experience, and about myself and my learning preferences, it has to be part of the bigger picture.

I'm studying education to complement my role at work, and I've come across the idea that social presence is needed for effective learning to take place, online or offline.  We cannot learn effectively in complete isolation, we have to contextualise the learning.  For much of my life I tended towards being a solitary learner, and I think I suffered from having insufficient experience to develop my learning into professional expertise, and also had no safety net when things didn't work according to plan.  With my current studies, I'm able to relate pretty much everything to my professional practice, accessing course materials and continuing online discussions in the workplace where this furthers business goals, and shaping course projects around the needs of our business.  Reintegrating work and learning in this way is a win-win situation for me and my employer, because I'm boosting my own learning and contributing directly to departmental objectives.  My reflections from this point will look more generally at my experiences with online learning, and will also be a foundation for my Masters dissertation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Social media fatigue

Well I've heard people talking about this before, but not experienced it for myself, until now.  After attending a conference a while back, I've been actively exploring the use of social media, particularly in terms of learner engagement, and the extended interactions you can achieve with the medium.  It's all well and good, but after getting myself thoroughly immersed in the medium, and finding out so many useful facts, there's a certain nagging doubt creeping in.

What's in it for me, anyway?
We should all be asking ouselves this question, because once the novelty of the medium wears off, it's easy to get bored and disengage.  I've tracked my Klout score for a while now to see how my interactions affect my score, but I'm getting pretty disillusioned, particularly after I've been taking part in chats, getting mentioned, retweeted and favourited, but yet my score gets slashed 8 points in a day.  And people are warning of how your score can slump massively if you take time out.
Well I got into using social media to interact with people, not numbers and data.  If my interactions with people aren't meaningful, then what's the point?  So I'm taking a week out, turning on the metaphorical 'out of office' for Twitter (though doubtless someone's already got an app for that...) and I don't give a hoot what happens to my Klout score.

Monday, October 10, 2011

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

I'm eagerly awaiting the rollout of a Web 2.0 technology at my workplace, which should hopefully encourage the more widespread adoption of social media, or at least that's the theory...  Thanks to the efforts of one of my colleagues, there are a fair few executive blogs in place now, which do get read by a substantial portion of employees, and even get comments as well.  The question has moved on from whether we should keep blogs or not - as Steve Radick has pointed out, what once made the social media 'ninjas' stand out is already becoming old hat, something we're expected to do as a matter of course.

So what else is there to talk about?  The most important thing now is to take ownership of what you write.  Blogs need to go beyond the self-promotion device that many seem to regard them as, they are a tool for people to use for their own reflections as part of the experiential learning cycle, and to help shape their destiny if they draw on those reflections well.  How much do the blogs you read make use of this powerful facet of learning?  And are you doing it yourself - online or offline?