Do we “get” social? 2


As usual, most of my thoughts stem from something. In a lot of cases, they stem from something that someone else says, and in this case, it was no different. Yet again, it was a tweet from Craig Taylor(@craigtaylor74) that was guilty this time:

Why did this one get me thinking? Well truth be told, it wasn’t this tweet, this was just the final straw. Over the past few weeks/months I’ve had many conversations with many people about social media. My own feelings are very clear on this, 2013 was a real eye-opener for me.

In 2013, I started to realise more and more about informal learning. Yes – I appreciate that I’m about 200 years late to the party – but at least I’m there (there are so many people who aren’t there yet). Before this, I used to think that the only way to really teach was in a formal structure. I never really considered how much learning actually takes place in an informal setting/way.

But when I stepped back and thought about it, actually most of my learning is done informally. Now-a-days, the first place I go when I have a question is twitter:

It doesn’t matter what the subject, there’s nearly always someone out there who can answer my questions. Yes, the answers are varying. Yes, the answers are subjective. Yes, I don’t necessarily get the answer exactly as a scholar wrote it in a book in 1894 – but I get an answer, usually from someone who I may have never met – and more often than not, from someone who is far more knowledgeable in the subject than I could ever have direct access to.

So….back to the original question…..do we get social? I think we all know how to “be social”, yet I get told on a regular basis that “I don’t get this social media stuff” or “I don’t know how to use social media”, or even more commonly “what’s the point of social media”.

I guess it all boils down to what you want from “social”….for me, social is my route to learning more. Whether it’s something I’m actively seeking, or just something I stumble across whilst scrolling through a timeline on a Friday evening – this social network of people I’m slowly building allows me to continue to learn each and every day. That said, there are a LOT of people who are so stuck on being confused about SoMe, that they don’t even realise what “social” is, let alone “get” it!

I recently had a discussion with our Comms team about why we would want to train people in social media. For me, it’s not about training them in social media, it’s actually about helping people get over the confusion – so they can get back to the basic concept of being social, as that in itself, is the tool they really need. Too frequently, the technology can create the confusion, when actually, the underlying concept is the real powerful tool. It’s like I’ve heard Craig say many times “Dreaming of a day when we can drop the e from elearning and just crack on”. The “e” is just the delivery method, the concept is learning. SoMe is the delivery method, but just being social is the real tool.

Oh, and one last thing…..I know there are a number of people who read this – so it would be really good to hear your thoughts. Please take a second and comment below….


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2 thoughts on “Do we “get” social?

  • Kayleigh Tanner

    Agreed that social learning is about more than simply ‘social media’. This is just one part of it, but I think you’re right to say it’s about getting back to the basic concept of being social. Sharing information and collaborating is a vital part of learning, but of course this doesn’t need to be situated on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about the purpose of ‘social’ as a concept which needs to be addressed if we are going to use it in the most appropriate way for learners.

    Jane Hart has some very insightful things to say about social learning and collaboration, and I’m looking forward to her Social Learning Handbook 2014.

    • Nick Post author

      Kayleigh – thanks for stopping by – and more importantly, thanks for commenting!

      Comments are perfect – I completely agree with the fact that there is a musunderstanding about the purpose of ‘social’, and certainly in an education sense, too many of us have neglected the most basic method of learning something new – simply by a (social) interaction with a peer.

      I’ve followed a lot about what Jane Hart has said in the past few years, so will look out for the handbook next year!