If I feel as though I’m saying ‘social media’ rather often these days, that is because I am. Today I spoke as part of the induction for the MA in Advanced Child Protection run by Kent’s Centre for Child Protection. The module is offered as a distance learning programme and the majority of the students enrolled are mature students, so – without wishing to imply that those outside of their 20s run away scared at the words ‘social’ and ‘media’ combined – an introduction to social media was required.
My slides can be seen/remixed/commented on here. Apart from going over the basics, I was keen to push the collaborative potential of social media for learning, that users should not be cautious, should not think in terms of there being set rules (apart form the legal ones, of course), and to think about if – before how – social media can help them during their MAs (though at the same time sewing the seeds of ‘well of course it will you just don’t realise it yet…’). Talking afterwards to a colleague, he was struck by my insistence on not projecting: that, and this may seem quite obvious, if we all merely projected on Twitter et al the ‘social’ in social media would not exist. That he was struck by this – and hadn’t heard anyone else presenting on social media mention it – concerned me a little, but also reaffirmed that sometimes we all need to remember to talk about the basics. As with the undergraduates who insist on starting their essays on the French Revolution with the ODNB definitions of ‘revolution’, so we must spend some time talking about why the ‘social’ in social media is so important.