Sunday, 8 August 2010

Social Media - it's So Me!

When you think of the earliest stories you experienced, they were probably nursery stories that your parents read to you.  In childhood, stories are an important part of informal learning;  discovering morals, right and wrong, truth and consequence.  In different cultures and civilisations stretching back to earliest man, stories have been told using dance, song, music, theatre, pictograms, cave drawings, poems and other visual art.

What is FUNDAMENTAL to all stories?  Well I think it is the basic human instinct to SHARE.  We share stories with each other and we learn from each other.  We do this instinctively, be it the story of a tough day a work, the story from a great holiday or a frightening experience.  We share our stories quite naturally; it is part of what it means to be human - to share experience.

Social Media is therefore nothing new.  It has been here since early man began drawing on the cave walls to record and share simple stories about life.  It is just that now we don't draw on our walls, we use social media tools to share what we are experiencing and because our social network is no longer gathered around a fire or the local village shop or green, because we have dispersed and placed distance between us and our friends and family, we reach out to share our stories on social media, bridging the physical distance so that our contacts can experience our stories and learn from us.

Social Media allows us to connect with our virtual village; it is being adopted by society to enable us to learn from the experience of others irrespective of location, language, creed, age or social standing.  When you join a social networking site you are joining a global village and sharing your experiences and views with both contacts and strangers alike. 

"Learning is experience.  Everything else is just information"
 - Albert Einstein. 

I'm learning from the social networking communities I belong to.  As Jay Cross recently tweeted: "I now include Twitter in almost every proposal for a learning system."  My "global support network" of social media contacts are sharing their experience and knowhow everyday.  Reaching out to each other for advice, support, humour and above all stories of how they are doing what they are doing in the learning and development world.

The term Social Media is sometimes shortened on Twitter to "SoMe".  Well I think it is "so me" because I'm a human being and I want to SHARE my stories of what I am EXPERIENCING with others and LEARN from their STORIES too.

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