Saturday, 29 December 2012

Attitudes to On Line Social Media

I visited my sister today and we discussed the use of on line social media and in particular Facebook and Twitter.
My sister and her husband are early 60s, I am late 50s ( ooh that hurts) my niece and partner mid 30s and nephew 30.

It was interesting to hear my brother in law sounding quite surprised when I said I used Facebook, I explained why and he sort of understood that it may serve a purpose but my sister seemed to consider any social media as the spawn of Satan.

The younger people present said they used it but it was interesting that my niece felt she had to justify it by saying it was to connect to school mums, her partner was ambivalent to it although he had an account and the 30 yr old said he should use it more to keep in touch.

However it was my own reaction to admitting that I used Twitter was the most strange. I felt quite embarrassed. After making this declaration I felt it necessary to justify my position saying that until enrolling on the Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC I thought Twitter to be a waste of time but I now found it very useful and that as a result of tweeting I was now accessing more information from a far wider knowledge base than I was previously. It has helped to persuade some opinions in a small way and be persuaded in turn. I did have to admit to myself that I do still feel slightly embarrassed ( I do not embarrass easily) by saying that I read a tweet and even more so if I say I tweeted. Why this should be I have yet to fathom out, perhaps I will have an answer by the end of the MOOC.

So the discussion whilst not in depth, for the sake of family peace, was interesting as it demonstrated not only different opinions of on line social media but the different uses it is put to and how people respond when questioned as to whether or not they use them.
Right enough on this post I am now off to Twitterland so that I can set myself to get embarrassed, a sort of aversion therapy I suppose.

Could this be us MOOCers soon?


  1. Nigel, I am not embarrassed that I use twitter,in fact it makes me feel rather "with it" we are using it to gather new sites and to expand knowledge, not just alert everyone that we're shopping at the mall.always interested in other's opinions

  2. Hi Nigel,

    This is something which I think is really important to explore. Naturally, the uncomfortable flush of embarrassment leads us to consider our own position, however,looking more broadly at online participation is necessary if we are to understand engagement in the online learning environment.

    I must admit, I haven't looked into this enough(I will), but I find my students who use social media are far more collaborative and involved in forum discussions than those who don't. I think they have already overcome the shyness barriers and understand the lay of the land in terms of communication, brevity and the use of different media.

    Dare I say it, they are comfortable with the narcissistic elements of putting their views forward and their confident selves out there. For most,(especially those of us who have entered the wisdom zone) I think this is the element that causes some embarrassment. We were brought up to respect privacy, to value modesty and sing the praises of others before ourselves.

    I used fb for a long time before deciding it was time to bail out. Some of the family activities (eg aunties and bejewled, songpop and farmville)are plain embarrassing. However, there are a lot of other embarrassing things one can do besides tweet or update your status on fb. Like having a midlife crisis tattoo, watching hillbilly handfishing on cable tv, or being too involved with the school mum group (gets very competitive!) or being overtly consumeristic at Christmas. I have a newfound respect for twitter since edcmooc, lost count of how many good papers re online learning I have read. So I won't be blushing about twitter, although trying to keep my involvement on fb as quiet as possible! Tweet with confidence I say Nigel!! Thanks for the post, good food for thought.

  3. Good post Nigel. I started to write a reply, then it became too long & complicated so I thought I should just write it on my own blog! Thanks for your story though, and the points raised; it made me think. And the video you shared was hilarious!


  4. I wrote a reply to Angela and my bloody broadband went down, then up then down to the point I have given up any serious posts until my phone company get things fixed.
    Thanks for the comments

  5. Hi Nigel,

    there is no embarrassment in using twitter. I would much rather follow something I am interested in on twitter than subscribe to an email newsletter which was the 'old school' equivalent of the way I use twitter. I retweet more than I actually tweet, because I am not sure that anything I do or think is interesting enough!

    As for Facebook, IMHO it is the biggest waste of time yet invented by man. I also resent advertisers and others' assumption that I have a FB account - presumably I am not their target audience...

    Geoff Constable

  6. Geoff
    I agree there should be no embarrassment to using Twitter and this is diminishing the more I use it. I think it stems from my initial disdain of Twitter. Used as a vehicle for the dissemination of information and commentary it is quite useful.
    I don't agree with your comment about FB except for the adverts. I find it useful for building relationship with other students pre the MOOC I am due to start.
    I think your new role will present lots of worthwhile tweets. I will look out for them.

  7. The funny thing is when I discuss using Twitter and FB with my students. They tend to look down their noses - as serious people they do not fritter their time away... I use Twitter as my elearning community of practice (happily expanded since #edcmooc) - and my FB is my online learning journal - and a lovely way to dip into the lives of friends I rarely get to see. And now you all have convinced my that Google+ works - so I'll have to keep that going - but not at work cos though we are a blended learning institution our system bars us from that - as it bars me from adding comments to your blogs when there. I am enjoying all the posts in your Quad - glad I get to see them!