Technology Management

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Social media is playing an increasingly important role in our daily and work lives worldwide.   For 2010, North America has the greatest worldwide Internet penetration rates, with 77.4% of all Americans having direct local access to the Internet.  The greatest number of Internet users, however, come from Asia, whose population constitutes 42% of all Internet users worldwide (Internet World Stats, 2010). The five countries with the highest number of Internet users for 2010 are China (21.4% of world users), United States (12.2%), Japan (5%), India (4.1%) and Brazil (3.9%) (Internet World Stats, 2010b).

Based on a PEW study in the United States, "Forty-seven percent of adult U.S. Internet users use online social networks, and 19 percent now use Twitter or other status update services, according to research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project."  It continues, "The survey also highlighted the fact that use of Twitter and similar services is more popular among younger users, with 37 percent of 18-24 year olds and 31 percent of 25-34 year olds claiming to use it. This compares with 19 percent of 35-44 year olds, and 10 percent of 45-64 year olds" (Marshall 2009).

Let's consider how long social media resources have been around. The timeline is striking, for example: Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) 2001; (social bookmarking) 2003; MySpace 2003 (social networking); Facebook (social networking) 2004; Flikr (social media) 2004; Bebo (social networking) 2005; and YouTube (social media) 2005  (Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee 2009).  

As we look at how we as educators are to become involved in these new environments it may serve us well to consider the vast array of environments, norms, expectations, and situations that exist.  Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee notes, "The consequences of this generation's experience have become increasingly apparent over time. In general, they include a strong sense of a community linked in its own virtual spaces of blogs and social networking and gaming sites; a similarly strong sense of group identity; and a disposition to share and to participate. They also include impatience – a preference for instant answers; a downgrading of text in favor of image; and a casual approach to evaluating information and attributing it, and also to copyright and legal constraints" (2009). 

The intention of this presentation is to review the global, national and local reach of social media and technologies with a particular emphasis on its role in education.