I don’t understand the appeal of using a blog, twitter or other forms of social media for much of anything. I have Facebook, twitter and this blog and have used various forms of Social media for years. I’m starting to waiver however in how useful they are in general.
This could be because of my real life social networks being so strong that if I had a question about any curricular problem or new program in general I could ask someone that I know personally. I have a lot of connections to people from all fields of study and rely on them to help me with things more than I do asking people on the internet.
There is a growing sentiment of disassociation with Facebook and other sites. People in their 20s are growing dissatisfied with the interactions and usefulness. Planning events through Social media sites has become almost useless as people can/will commit to and invitation or decline one at their whim. There is no accountability for something like this as the thought is that they were just part of giant list of people. This carpet bombing of communication makes the individuals being contacted feel less connected to the process. This is mostly anecdotal but I feel like this is part of a growing trend.
There was an episode of South Park in the last season that started to make reference to this feeling.
I realize above I singled out Facebook more than others but if you look at the other larger social media sites they all go through cycles of being a young upstart, hitting their stride, becoming bloated shadows of themselves and then people start leaving and not paying attention. For examples of this you can look towards Usenet, myspace, slashdot, digg and looking at the sentiment in the comments reddit as well. If we look at the time each one of these the time that it is taking for people to lose interest in these networks is diminishing.
Twitter is an example of a site that is used widely in University but not to interact with students. Current studies say that there are more user accounts than ever yet almost 80% of them have tweeted less that 10 times. The rate at which people are using it has diminished significantly over the last 3 years (showing the tool is probably already on the decline for usage/favor with people. Usage with in the Faculties of Universities use twitter as a real time news source with their colleagues instead of trying to engage students with it.
I know that this class is concerned with trying to put together a smaller student network which is based around a class and not as concerned with the larger trends in social media. But if we are looking at this from a teacher in the classroom the engagement we see from the students might not be what we think it will be with the tools currently in front of us. I am skeptical whether it will be worth trying to keep up with the trends of Social media for a little bit more engagement from our students.