Monday, March 9, 2009

Part 1 workshops have started

I've started running social media workshops on Tuesday nights, 6-8pm at the Princes Street Community Learning Centre. We had a full house last week, and we spent the time getting a social media over view, using my own online presence as a basis, but responding to questions and comments as we went.

From blogs to video blogs - social interaction is important
I used the blog as the central defining element of social media - specifically its constantly updating, always new posting aspect of a website. With that, we looked at video "blogs" as Youtube User Channels, repeating the feature description of a regularly updated website, but introducing more of the social features, like contacts, bookmarked videos (favourites), comments made, visible profile, recommended videos. We then looked at as an alternative to Youtube. With the social tools highlighted, I stressed the point that passive consumption of media through search was not very effective as way of finding and engaging with social media.. and that making personal connections with people in these spaces was the best way to uncover the richness in social media.

Origins of social media
The birthplace of social media online is arguably, and at the time OurMedia launched on the back of it seemed to spark a flurry of commercial services such as Youtube, Flickr and other media sharing services that offered 'unlimited' file hosting and communication features. So we looked at the non-commercial side and origins to social media, starting with Ourmedia, then Archive, and then of course Wikipedia!

Conversation about copyright emerged, and we looked at Creative Commons licensing.

The RSS News Reader
I repeated the 2 important features of social media:
1. Websites that regularly update with new media
2. Social interaction features

and then introduced the 3 feature that brings it all together in a usable way, and so as to help facilitate connection and interaction:

3. The RSS News Reader. Perhaps the most important tool for engaging in social media, the newsreader enables people to subscribe to websites that regularly update with new media, and bring any new updates into a central and personalised website. If something of interest arrives, then the user can click through to where the media comes from and engage by way of the site's social tools. This sort of interaction often results in personal connections over time, and leads to new websites (or individuals) to subscribe to and follow.

Other stuff
We briefly looked at Flickr and SecondLife and mentioned CCMixter. There are many many social media sites people use, most people use several. I made mention of Facebook and pointed out the unfortunate features of Facebook that sever the potential connections across different services. (To connect with Facebook, you must join Facebook, a kind of market cornering strategy on the part of some social networking sites).

Learning skills
So after that hour and a bit overview we tried to decide in what order we might get our hands dirty and start using this stuff. It seems that to most people in the workshops, social media is a very new concept, and so they might prefer to follow my lead. I warned everyone therefore that in the long term they might come to see that my lead wasn't the best path for them to follow, but none-the-less they will pick up skills and considerations that will be transferable to what ever social media path they might like to follow later.

So the next few weeks will be focused on the following:
  1. a blog, online bookmarking, and an RSS reader is everything you need
  2. enrich your online self with multi media (youtube, flickr, slideshare, second life, etc)
  3. wikis! They're quick and they're organised
  4. free software - save yourself a couple of thousand dollars hey!
  5. the mash up! Making it all come together.


feliceM said...

Thanks Leigh
I have a whole bunch of questions though - how to load references.. how to respond in the body of the students text/ blog - grammatical and comprehension issues which are making the work clumsy>
for example
also didnt understand the way of finding out from Youtube how to add a photo/ video etc. also how to add a photo from a file on computer?
no doubt this will all become clear

Chris said...

Looks like the focus is Internet communications

Mike said...

Great blog here, Leigh. I'm starting to get a bit more confident with things. Thanks for the support.