Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Thing 12 - Putting the social into social media

For this thing, I'm going to answer the questions that were posed in the initial blog post (slightly adapted).

Are there advantages to social networking in the context of professional development?

The main advantages to me of social networking for professional development is enabling conversations. These might be a continuation of conversations stemming from face to face meetings/events, or they might be conversations with people I haven't met before. I love the fact that social networking breaks down so many barriers, meaning I can communicate with people from all around the world working in a variety of different roles and organisations. Some of these conversations have led to some really interesting developments - events, publications, discussions informing my work, and also a bit of fun too.

Can you think of any disadvantages?

Organisational views on social networking which restrict people from using social media, and a misunderstanding and fear of social networking from those who do not use it themselves. I often find myself having to defend the value of social networking for professional development and I think that's a shame.

Has CPD23 helped you make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?

115/365 — 4/25/2011 by glaukos, on Flickr
Making new connections
Yes, particularly those from outside the UK or those working in other sectors. It's been good to follow the #cpd23 tweetstream to find more information professionals who tweet/blog to subscribe to. I've also organised and attended events stemming directly out of the programme and met some really interesting people through those events. Through helping organise the programme I have also strengthened links with people I have been in contact with previously but don't know well - I hope I can meet some of them soon!

Did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?

I've been actively using it to support my professional development for a number of years now (I joined Twitter in 2007). I shall certainly continue to do so in the foreseeable future and will do until I stop gaining value from it or we move onto a new way of communicating.

In your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?

IMG_4151 by dbking, on Flickr
Can social networking lead to segregation?
Yes, definitely. Though it can also foster a sense of separate groups which may seem hard to join in for new people. I was fortunate to be on Twitter quite early on so I explored it with other early adopters, but I can see how it may be bewildering for newcomers now that there are so many people on there and connections between people are strong. This is something I am quite aware of so I try to be as inclusive where I can - I aim to respond to all blog comments and Twitter mentions to help build the community and my connections.

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