I recently traveled to Dallas for the OLC Emerging Technologies Conference. Dr. Bonnie Stewart, @bonstewart talked about her research within twitter, a network of people who connect using unique usernames and #hashtags for topics. I’ve been using twitter sporadically for a couple of years, but her presentation about “many to many”, helped me to finally understand the real value of this social media as more than a broadcast technology.
Twitter forms many-to-many communication webs of visible connections, a social network with a different currency of reputation. Anyone can join the conversation, no matter degree or status. What counts as influence online in these formats? — the number of tweets one person posts to the network creates influence and audience, and the number of followers indicates their current audience, but often the information included in the individual’s profile is more important than numbers when determining if you will follow that person’s comments in twitter, follow their links, and read their blog.
To become openly networked means to connect classroom learning with other aspects of living, working, or “doing” across space, time, and multiple spheres of influence or community. It also means to actively participate. People in a networked world receive, relay, and create information, acting on and reacting to people and situations in their chosen “participatory culture.” Henry Jenkins
How might we help colleagues and students develop productive participatory identities? First, create your own practice. Start here.