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Social networking. Nigel Gibson AL Conference 07/06/08. What are we going to do?. I X. We’ll look at what we might mean by “social networks” We’ll look at the topography of online social networks I’ll offer a fast pass over some current technologies and SociaLearn

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social networking

Social networking

Nigel Gibson

AL Conference 07/06/08

what are we going to do
What are we going to do?



  • We’ll look at what we might mean by “social networks”
  • We’ll look at the topography of online social networks
  • I’ll offer a fast pass over some current technologies and SociaLearn
  • We’ll have a chat about all this stuff
before we start
Before we start
  • Do you read Wikipedia?
  • Do you use Amazon?
  • Do you use IMDB?
  • Do you edit Wikipedia?
  • Do you offer reviews on Amazon?
  • Do you offer reviews on IMDB?
in the beginning
In the beginning
  • As a basic unit a family is a social network
  • And it’s part of a wider network
  • The relationships might be through work, children’s school or activities, wider family, neighbours
  • We might not know all the people a partner or child or parent knows
  • This means we can access different networks through our closest network
a network
A network
  • My friends


  • …………. all have friends


You get the idea

  • So you have friends and they have friends
  • You might know some and you might not know others but they are FOAF
  • Friends of a friend
primordial soup
Primordial soup
  • In the beginning there was ARPA net (1969)
  • And CYCLADES (Early 70s)
  • And ALOHANet (1970)(My favourite)
  • And other local and national networks
  • And, finally, The Internet linked them all together into a network of networks (from 1974)
  • And what drove all these developments was people wanting to talk to each other
  • One of the first viable online communities was The WELL (the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) established in 1985 and still going strong
  • Started in the Bay area of San Franscisco on a bulletin board
  • They “engineered” the start by charging membership but inviting “interesting” people to join for free
  • Then, in 1991, the web arrived
the kids are alright
The kids are alright
  • Fast forward because the birth and development of the WWW is a whole different story
  • As of 31 March 2008, 1.407 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats
  • Friends Reunited - launched 2000, sold in 2005 for £120M with 15M users
  • MySpace started in 2002 - 110 million members
  • 15 million people use to build their family tree
  • Other SNS include Bebo, Hi5 and FaceParty
  • As soon as people could write to the Internet some started keeping online journals
  • This became more widespread as the web made setting up and keeping a blog a simple task – a blog is a “web log”
  • Some are influential in specific areas – frequently American politics
  • Originally started so that US college graduates could keep in touch
  • 70 million users
so people are talking
So people are talking
  • And sharing things
  • Flickr to share photos
  • YouTube to share videos
  • Slideshare to share presentations
  • Share bookmarks on
  • We can aggregate what we are doing on FriendFeed
  • And in doing so we create networks
  • Twitter is a microblogging site
  • Messages (tweets) limited to 140 characters
  • Can be sent from mobile devices
  • Delivered in real time
  • Can be distributed to other applications
  • Find and follow friends and friends of friends
so what is it all for
So what is it all for?
  • We “manage” who we talk and listen to
  • Some of my FOAFs are very smart indeed
  • I can access a network of experts
  • Relationships of trust
  • “Hive mentality”, synergy, power of collaboration
  • About psychogeography
so what is it all for1
So what is it all for?

why do people contribute
Why do people contribute?
  • Gift economy – not a new idea, dates back to the Stone Age
  • Reciprocal altruism
  • By contributing we create capital – we increase the chances of being helped if they have a question
  • We add value to the global commons
socialearn assumption
SociaLearn assumption
  • There is a major shift in society and education driven by the possibilities new technologies create for creating and sharing content and for social networking
  • NB: This is a dialogue about futures – not a prediction
  • SociaLearn suggests that instead of a VLE we’ll create personal learning environments

to quote a good book
To quote a good book

Image from:

  • we can use the web as passive consumers or
  • we can become activists and
  • contribute but
  • whatever we do
  • we can still turn it all off
if you want to try
If you want to try
  • Take a look round
  • Find somewhere you feel comfortable
    • Blogger
    • Wikipedia
    • Twitter
  • Watch what others are doing
  • Dip your toe in the water