Digi Domi

Sharing my passion for technology and learning.

Social Media: A tool box

on September 5, 2012

There are many tools available within the social media toolbox, and this can often lead those unfamiliar with these “new” technologies to feel overwhelmed.

As an e-learning specialist it is part of my job to explain the magnitude of tools to lecturers. And I would normally explain them as exactly that..tools. And just like you wouldn’t get a hammer out and then decide you need to put a nail into the wall, or get a screwdriver and try to use it to hammer a nail into the wall, nor should you use a social media tool without first having a job to do. Like needing to hang a picture and then selecting the hammer.

Of course there are many pros to social media as well. Primarily the four C’s, creating, collaborating, collecting and communicating.

Creating

Social media tools allow you to create content, whether this is an image, video blog post or anything else. By creating your own content you can then share and promote that content to others. This can be a great way to gain a following or fan base and even get work commissioned. A friend of mine was an illustration student and she uploaded her work to Flickr. Through this she got commissioned to do artwork and illustrations of individuals who had admired her work.

Collaborating

Tools such as Google Drive are great for working collaboratively. But social media can also be great for finding other to collaborate with. Through social networking sites, blogs and Twitter (both a social networking site and a micro-blogging site) you can find like minded others that you may wish to collaborate with. This is particularly true if your area of expertise is very niche, and perhaps there is no-one else in your geographical area that you can work with. Once you find someone to collaborate with, you can then begin your project using tools such as Skype for communication, and tools such as wiki’s to build collaborative documents.

Collecting

As well as creating your own content on social media you can also collect that content and other content from the web. This is most easily done via social bookmarking. Using tools such as Delicious and Pinterest to collect links to interesting sites, articles, videos or images. By collecting them together in one place, and organising them through tags and categories you build your own reference source, making it easy to share information you find valuable and refer back to it at a latter date should you need to.

Communicating

Of course, most people know the communication benefits social media offers, with the likes of Facebook offering many different methods, from public wall posts, to group forums and private messaging. But other sites also offer many great ways to communicate, including Google+ which allows you to organise contacts into ‘circles’ much like the circles we communicate in during our day to day lives. so you can easily send something to all of your family members, whilst hiding it from your friends and colleagues. Google+ also offers to hang outs feature, which is a great way to video conference, particularly if you are working as a group.  Communication via social media means that your communications flow into your other uses of the sites, rather than being a specific thing such as with traditional methods like email.

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