#FLSocialMedia: Week One – Essential Microblogging and Twitter Presence

As I explained in my earlier blog – I am currently taking an online course through the Open University’s Future Learn called the Power of Social Media. I’ve gone through the Week One comments, and made sure to leave comments on each of the course pages, as well as making my own notes. I’ve typed up some of those notes below, but first, I want to outline some thoughts about improving my Twitter presence, which is one of the aims for the course.

Back in university, I went though a stage with Twitter where I set myself a goal of finding and posting three interesting articles or videos per day. My aim was to curate, via my feed, a good stream of content that others would find useful. After a while, this fell by the wayside, but not for lack of interest or laziness. I started to worry about the worth of my content. Was I bombarding my followers with useless links and clogging up their feeds? Was I posting too much ‘outwards’ and not engaging enough with others?

Of course, looking back these were silly things to worry about. If people didn’t like my content, they could unfollow or mute me. And it doesn’t really matter how much I do and don’t engage, because that should come naturally, if it comes at all. There is no one ‘right’ way to use Twitter.

One comment in Prof. Dame Wendy Hall’s video really stuck out to me ‘Microblogging is an essential activity today.’ She is entirely right, and so I will make the effort to micro blog via Twitter. I’ll bring back posting those articles, and commenting on them, and focus on the curation of content again, as a way to build an interesting Twitter account.

Now, onto my notes about the course:

RSA Animate Video: Aristotle came up with The Tree of Knowledge – mapping every connected part of science and nature, but the world is too complicated for trees.

Organised Complexity, meanwhile, is a better description – everything is connected, but not in a logical, branching out manner. Branches need to connect back in as well as out (this is a Rhizomatic structure.) It’s a lovely description of Twitter in particular. I’m often been surprised to see ‘oh, x person knows y person via some other person who isn’t connected to me at all’.
The small world phenomenon
Funnily enough I wrote the sentence above before getting to this part of the course! It shows that while we think of social media as being universally connected, its really just lots of little networks of people who may or may not have some overlap.


Getting My Interest in Digital Culture back on track with Future Learn

It pains me to say it, but Blogpril was a failure for me. I’ve been scrolling back through my posts, and even before I gave the challenge up I was disappointed at the content. Compared to Blaugust, my work was short, under researched, and forced, as if I was really groping around for something to say. It didn’t in any way revitalise my blog in the way that I hoped. There were a few good ideas and comments in the mix, and I’m certainly not going to take them down, but overall I’m not happy with my recent work here.

So, I’ve decided to take this blog back to it’s roots – as part of my academic progress. I’ve enrolled on a two week course from Open University’s Future Learn called ‘The Power of Social Media. Actually being part of a learning community has definitely already revitalised my interest in digital culture. I like that the course encourages people to use their comments section, as I’ve missed having other people’s insights on these topics, and getting recommendations for good resources.

I’ve also finally admitted something about my social media usage – not just to myself but to the rest of the course as well. This is the comment that I made:

I have found that in the past few years, I have become more of a passive user of social networks in my personal life – reading much more, but posting much less. This started around the time I began running social media accounts on behalf of the companies I work for. It means that while I am immersed in social media on a daily basis, my own online presence has steadily decreased. I have definitely lost some professional connections and perhaps opportunities, so I would like to look at how I can improve my social engagement back to what it was, and perhaps further it.

This is my goal from now on, particularly on Twitter, and also probably on LinkedIn. I intend to make a real effort to engage with the #FLSocialMedia hashtag, and to get as much from this course as I can.