Social Media and learning: why?

November 4, 2011

Twitter: Come to the dark side (pic Dot D)

I’ve just been reading through some of our BSc Professional Sound and Video Technology student blogs and having read @JustPressPlay_‘s post A few thoughts.. « JDTWerk I started commenting on it and the comment got long enough for a new post on here. So here it is, gets me back on track anyway as I’ve been getting busy again and the blogging is the first thing to drop off the to do list.

Firstly it’s a nice post and resonates with me as I didn’t ‘get’ Twitter for a long time. Until it starts being useful to you it’s just so much noise and there’s plenty of mainstream media belittling the platform as pointless. I have a lot of sympathy for the students who just don’t want to engage with it. It doesn’t necessarily seem core to what they feel they should be learning. It’s worth persisting though.

In the end I was forced onto the platform by my students who were using it really effectively to facilitate their own learning without me even being aware of it. They used Twitter to share links and resources, set up studio groups, organise face to face meetings and to support each other when the going got tough and deadlines loomed. Much of this came about as a result of Helen’s classes and Twitter is rapidly becoming an important facilitator for learning and communication.

Even for those motivated and willing to embrace Twitter there’s usually a ‘flat time’ before finding people and conversations that contribute anything that feels useful or interesting. It has become so many different things to different people it’s inevitable. One of the things I find most powerful about twitter is this flexibility; it  can be whatever you want it to be. For some it’s celebs (pointless vacuous prattle warning), for others it’s a bad place full of anger, bitterness and extreme views, for some it’s a marketing tool. More of a social mirror if you like, you get out of it what you put in.

Anyway it’s Twitter today… it’ll be something else tomorrow but surely it’s critical for anyone intending to work in the digital economy in it’s most general sense (music, TV, film, media, gaming, web etc etc) to be aware of current communication channels and to take control over their identity in those media? At least if you want anyone to notice what you are doing.


  1. There are some definite downsides to twitter (Witness the racist tirade launched against Stan Collymore recently), but on the whole it’s a magical resource. Nice point about setting up groups within our class, I’m sure that’ll be useful as deadlines loom.

  2. In response to Ben’s late turn to twitter I myself had thought in much the same way. I think from my point of view which involves reading countless books and technical manuals on various subjects I have always found it impossible to strike up a conversation with anyone without being labelled with some derogatory comment.

    I think the point I am trying to make is with the multitudes of “chat” systems that inhabit the web you can suffer from a “blanket” kind of thinking. If it wasn’t for Helen’s insistence on our group using twitter as a tool towards our learning experience I believe I would have not even considered it’s edu value.

    As we move into week 7 of our media module I feel liberated and the added vindication that my beliefs and ideas are sound and valid, in regards to the comment “you only get out what you put in” is very true, as I have now found a selection of “Tweeters” who not only support my material but look forward to my next instalments.

    I also agree with the idea of Twitter being the latest “Trend” and it will only be a matter of time until the next “hot” app appears. Until then, I will continue to enjoy all that this strange ornithological app has to offer.


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