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Intro to Social Networking

What is social networking?

Wikipedia article on social networking

A wide range of services - from simple, single-purpose applications, to monolithic all-in-one services.

Some examples (in no particular order)

  • Facebook (biggest mainstream social networking service at the moment, also known for Scrabble via scrabulous)
  • MySpace (kids, and lame bands)
  • Nexopia (lots of kids there)
  • Ning ("vertical social networks" - start your own on any topic)
  • Flickr (photography community)
  • Twitter (microblogging / "what are you doing 'right now'?"
  • del.icio.us (social bookmarking)

And social networking is also much broader than the self-contained silo websites.

and it's growing pretty much exponentially, especially in Canada.

Social? Really?

Sometimes, more social than anything else. For instance, most applications on Facebook are entirely silly and strictly aimed at social aspects of the service.


That's not necessarily a bad thing...


Map of self-identifying "edubloggers"


Facebook network of friends


Flickr contacts network


The Power of the Network

New Media Consortium - Horizon Report


The Horizon Reports are collaboratively authored by members of the New Media Consortium (and others who are non-members), initially gathering links via del.icio.us social bookmarking service and then collaborating on articles in wiki and other applications, eventually generating the final report in both web (comment-enabled) and print/pdf versions.

Jennifer Jones - Bellingham Technical College


Jennifer Jones' Network-powered rise to power, fame and fortune through Viral Professional Development

Jen also documented how the people in her Network helped her learn, build, and implement meaningful change.


Social Networking is New

FALSE. This stuff has been around, in various forms, since long before the Internet.

Social Networking Will Change The World

FALSE. Although it can be an extremely powerful way of connecting people, it's just technology. People can change the world, websites can't.

Social Networking is a Waste of Time

FALSE. er. TRUE. well, maybe BOTH?

Social networking can look like a frivolous, banal waste of time. But the informal connections made between people through the various online services can become extremely powerful, and can act to amplify and extend highly effective and productive communities.

If I Join a Social Network, Everything Will Change

FALSE. Joining a social network is just creating an account on a server somewhere. In order for any change to happen, you need to be active. But this is true in real life as well...

But Social Networking is Cheating!

The whole Ryerson/Facebook brouhaha. Some students create a group on Facebook to coordinate study groups and share information. And nearly gets expelled. Is this cheating?

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