I have blogged about the value of my personal learning network before and my use of social media to build this network, but I rarely think about what I consider social networking to be.
Social networking is the process of using social media tools to build a network of friends, colleagues, professionals, or business contacts, depending on the context of the social network.
Social media tools allow us to engage in conversation with others in a timely and active manner. They allow the one-to-many engagement that delivers quick results for informal learning and discovery. This one-to-many enables multiple answers to a question or idea and delivers a range of perspectives.
Professionally, I use twitter as my main social networking tool – I have a good network of LIS folk that I engage with on a daily basis. Often this engagement is not on professional topics, but incorporates ‘water cooler’ conversations that encourage deepening of ties and connections over time.
Where else can you find me in the social network? I have an online presence:
- Blogging (here and on a personal blog)
- On LinkedIn
- On Facebook
- On flickr
- On youtube
- My e-portfolio
- On foursquare
- On diigo
I’ve recently started studying again and my subject this semester is Social networking for information professionals. What do I hope to get from that? A deeper understanding of the structure and theoretical ‘why’ of social networking. I know how to do it, I know what I get from it but hope to formalise that in some way.