Wednesday, 12 September 2007

'Facebook' More than a Face or a Book. Creative Networking and Learning!

Initial skepticism Upon entering the world of 'facebook' some months ago, I was skeptical to say the least, as to what it could offer me. I have since had a 'wake up call' after revisiting 'facebook' and now consider it to be incredibly important in all areas of my personal learning journey. My first look at 'facebook'. What was I searching for? Why did it not appeal? What purpose/s did I wish any tool/site/technology to offer? As my learning interests concern web 2.0 and beyond, in learning, formal and informal, business, charities and music, it was important for me to find online worlds, that would advance and enhance, my own learning in these areas. In particular I required a world that could provide:
  • User control - security to avoid cyberbullying
  • Ease of use - one or two clicks - no drilling down into middle earth
  • User choice of applications
  • Design options
  • Established networks
  • Interesting networks connected to my area of learning
  • Interesting individuals
  • Ability to connect with others easily
  • Global connections in education, business, charities and music
  • Willingness to share
  • Willingness to collaborate
  • Active participation
  • Enjoyable and fun environment
  • Mobile functionality
  • RSS feeds
  • Blog
  • Picture/Video
A 'one stop shop' that I could tap into each day, connect with my friends, develop my networks, write notes, post items,enhance my learning, share my learning and experiences, see what was happening around the globe and keep abreast of the rapidly advancing, changing landscape of web 2.0 and beyond. Along the way, finding people, groups, ideas, concepts, applications, successes, concerns, sameness and difference. Was I asking to much? In the beginning from 'facebook' - Yes. At the time of joining it was very much a USA college networking site and I found it quite clumsy, with little that attracted me - even the look put me off - boring in fact. What exactly did I need? What would satisfy me? I needed a world where I could learn, share and collaborate in the following areas (to name a few):
  • how to enhance learning using web 2.0 and beyond in teaching practice
  • how to change the culture of organisation's who continue to reject the us
  • how to help others learn and apply web 2.0 and beyond in their practice
  • how to network with other like minded souls in a meaningful and productive manner
  • how others were already using web 2.0 and beyond in their own teaching practive
  • how others were reacting to roadblocks placed in their way by management, educational authorities, government policy
  • how the world of web 2.0 and beyond had changed and was changing
  • how I could enhance my own learning and teaching practice
  • how I could enhance the learning of my children
  • learn what was new on the scene
  • learn what works and does not work for others
  • how to help reduce the fear instilled by the media in many, especially parents

How to successfully use web 2.0 and beyond in business:

  • employees
  • marketing
  • advertising
  • promotion

How to successfully use web 2.0 and beyond for charities:

  • fundraising
  • awareness
  • sponsorship
  • online donations

How to successfully use web 2.0 and beyond for those in the music industry:

  • events
  • promotion
  • marketing
  • record deals
  • radio airplay
  • benefit concerts
  • and more.......
Solutions, Solutions, Solutions to as many issues faced by those in the educational arena, the business sector, the charity sector and the music industry, with the explosion of the tools and related technologies on the www. Exploration of other worlds As 'facebook' did not appear to satisfy my needs initially, I explored other social networking sites, other than myspace (which I am a great believer and user of, with three sites developed and managed by myself). 'Facebook was somewhat forgotten as I concentrated my efforts in Ning and began to 'blog', using blogger. Ning I have found useful and functionality increasing (a story for another day). Blogging, took a while to get used to as I was one of the 'fraidy cats' who worried to much about what and how I wrote. Limitations I placed on myself and advise others against - give it a go - you will love it in the end. Venturing back to 'facebook' By chance I ventured back to 'facebook' and found that the networks, groups and those interested in learning, sharing, collaborating in the area of web 2.0 and beyond as it applied to education, business, charities, music and other arenas, had grown exponentially (do not like using that but I kept no data from when I first joined). The look still a little drab but after exploring so many sites, I came to the conclusion, that all the pretty designs, bells and whistles, mean little, in fact they can clutter not only ones site, but ones mind to the point of distraction. Networks, like minded people, active participation, it was all there. It appeared to have taken on a life of it's own, in my absence and I was thrilled to return. At present there are close to 4,000 different applications/gadgets on offer (no today in fact as I am editing - there are nearly 6,000) - see what happens over a few weeks. The variety, providing options for all users of facebook - youth, business, education, personal learning, causes and the rest. Customising your own site a users dream. I have loaded many of the 'facebook' applications overtime, as you will see below, yet only those in red are currently active albeit in some cases modified. Here is a little guide that may help you understand the terminology, as it appears currently on my edit applications page.
  • Left Menu = place in the left handside menu
  • NewsFeed MiniFeed Profile Links Disabled = disable these features for specific applications
  • Profile disabled = application unavailable and out of sight
  • Menu disabled = application unavailable from the menu

Australian Greens (about) Profile disabled Awareness Ribbons (about) Profile disabled Be an organ donor (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Blipcast: Post & Share videos from Youtube, etc (about) Blog Friends (about) Left menu, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Causes (about) Chinese Zodiac Horoscope (about) Profile disabled Cities I've Visited (about) Class Chat (about) Profile disabled Courses (about) Courses 2.0 (about)

Profile disabled Events (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Feed Friend RSS (about) Profile, left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Flickr Gallery (about) Profile disabled Fortune Cookie (about) Profile disabled FunWall (about) Profile disabled Gifts (about) menu disabled Groups (about) Left menu, News Feed disabled Jedi vs Sith (about) JunkYard (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Lyrics Book (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Magic 8 ball (about) Profile disabled Marketplace (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled MediaFire (about) Profile disabled Movies (about) Profile disabled My Questions (about) Profile disabled My Whiteboard (about) My Wikipedia (about) MyFuture (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled MySpace Connect (about) MySpace Link (about) Myspace Mail (about) Profile disabled Myspace Style Surveys NEW FORMAT! (about) Profile disabled Neighborhoods (about) Profile disabled News Headlines (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Notes (about) Photos (about) Poker (about) Posted Items (about) Left menu, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Profile Web Address - /YourName (about) SchoolTube (about) Scrabulous (about) Profile, left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Slates (about) Profile disabled Slideshows (about) Profile disabled Social Chat (about) Profile disabled Social Climber (about) Profile, profile links disabled South Park Character Creator (about) Left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled SpacePlayer (about) Profile disabled Super Wall (about) SuperPoke! (about) Profile disabled Surveys, Petitions, Votes, Polls & Quizzes (about) Profile disabled TinyFB (about) TizMe (about) Profile disabled Top Friends (about) Twitter (about) Left menu, News Feed, profile links disabled WereWolves (about) Which Brain Are You- Right Or Left? (about) Profile, left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled World Friends (about) Profile, left menu, News Feed, Mini-Feed, profile links disabled Why are so few active? I have found those currently active productive and effective, for both professional development and maintaining somewhat of a social network. To have a site where you can add a little personality, even playing games like, poker (I am a loser) or turning others into 'werewolves and biting them (Sue Hickton - I am coming) or just putting a nice comment out for the day, somewhere noticable on your page. Whilst there are numerous other applications to try out, and those already within my applications folder, I have found I need to be wary of making my site, tooooooo bussssssy. Even now as I write, I know that I need to edit the blipcast so that it takes less room and move around a number of other active applications. Note: This is an easy process as you are able to drop and drag the majority of applications to the position that suits you - you are your own instructional designer - oh dear, run to facebook and see if there is any logic anywhere - now:)) Why not delete the other applications? I will be perfectly honest, there are some I am yet to play with enough, to feel confident that they will provide any benefit, to myself or others. Of the others there are many I would like to position on my site, however at this point, the site is already busy and needs no more clutter. The Evolution of a Facebook site As time goes on, the page changes, some applications active yet hidden from full view, only to be found in the menu, some change position to provide maximum exposure for an event, success, cry for help, maybe on your whiteboard or your status. A twitter feed maybe comes in, myspace is accessed, emails retrieved, friends blog feeds and news updates continue, but may move just the same. New applications, continue to be developed before one can view the last 3950. Curiosity may get the better of you, new applications added, old ones revamped, some no longer current deleted. A range a themes, layouts, designs, backgrounds, become more easily accessible. All allowing you to show your creative flair, designing your world, one that you look forward to looking at as much as learning from and sharing, networking with your ever growing friend list and group memberships. For me making a one stop shop, the one I go to in the morning before I look at the online news, the one I hoped many months ago to find, was in my face - sorry - all the time - facebook. Direct Benefits Increased friend base through facebook contacts Increased discussions with others privately on various topics Sharing what I am doing with others Connecting with individuals interested in web 2.0 and beyond in a variety of arenas:
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Music
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Industry
Myspace, well you will find out within new posts, along with attending MobilizeThis on the 19th of October, 2007 - Register and join us all for a day that will be in itself a journey into many worlds.

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