Posts Tagged ‘Social Learning’

As pervasive as social media is today, a majority of the people on earth still don’t use it.  That’s hard to imagine for some of us whose work lives and much of personal lives seem to revolve around it, but it’s true.  Facebook’s nearly 1 billion users is a genuinely impressive number, but so is the 6 billion not using it.

Some don’t use social media because they do not have access to it.  They are in underdeveloped countries without the technology, or they don’t have the personal resources to spend what it takes to be online, or their countries don’t allow them to use it, or their lives are following paths and work and pursuits that have no need for it, or – gasp – they just choose not to even though they have the access and means to do so.

It is the last group – the ones who choose not to use it – to whom I plead they reconsider.  For them to do so requires that we address the “What’s in it for me?” question they may well have.

The overly simplistic graphic I created above shows in the smaller blue circles the world of relationships and connections in which most people on earth live.  It consists of friends, family, coworkers and others we know or have access to through various direct or indirect channels.  The small blue circles describe the connections for the shepherd in a field, the leader of a tribe, the worker on an assembly line, the knowledge worker or the president of a country.

If one chooses, however, to take advantage of the world of social media, then the potential for personal connections, information, knowledge exchange and extending your own influence literally has no earthly boundary, at least among others who also choose to extend their world through social media.

Why would anyone choose less knowledge, less information, less influence, less efficiency, fewer contacts, and a host of other less-than-optimal resources when so much more is just waiting for them on the other side of a keyboard?

I wish more were excited about the reality of and the possibilities that come from leap year lesson #145 – Social media brings the world to you.

For the past year I have been telling people that I learn more from Twitter than from any other resource. The reason is because of the insightful comments and the host of links to other resources like articles, blogs, reports, videos, research, etc. Most of the learning isn’t in the 140 characters themselves, but in what they point to.

For this to work, you need to follow insightful people who can point you to resources you would never discover on your own. Start with a few key people and gradually increase the number of people you follow. Follow some of the people they follow. Create lists of followers grouped by some topic area that binds them together, and focus on reading the tweets on a list if time doesn’t allow for reading everything.

What brings me to the lesson for today is my experience the past two days at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. The most valuable thing in the goodie bag given us at registration was a little pocket guide of all the sessions scheduled. Every session has printed in the guide the twitter hashtag for the session. For example, the hashtag for the session “Your Brain on Multitasking” was #SXmultitask. With dozens of sessions going on simultaneously, it is impossible to attend all you want to attend. So what do you do? Search Twitter after the session for the hashtag of the sessions you missed. I promise you will still get the main takeaways by doing this, although you certainly miss out on the detail and conversation around the topic. Still, it’s a way to attend without attending.

That is incredibly powerful, and it is fortunately becoming the norm around the globe at gatherings large and small.

If you do not yet use Twitter in this way (or at all), then you are missing out on the most powerful learning tool/resource/environment anywhere. It’s a game changer for learning and I hope so-called learning professionals “get it” and embrace it before the rest of the world passes them by as irrelevant.

Leap year lesson #69 is Twitter is the most important learning resource on the planet.

Like much of the rest of the world on January 1, I can’t help but reflect on the past and look forward to the future. When I think of this blog and where I’d like for it to go, there are two major things I can do to improve.

  1. Be more consistent. 16 posts in 2011 was a poor start. I can do better.
  2. Be brief. Just because I like writing a lot doesn’t mean readers always want to read long posts.

When I think about the blog I read more than any other – Rich Millington’s “The Online Community Guide” – consistency and brevity are major factors in my growing admiration of what he does there, in addition, of course, to the excellent content.

Since part of my plan for organizing my life this year involves more intentional time daily to reflect, and since it’s a leap year, I thought I would embark on 366 days of capturing brief lessons learned and documenting them here. They will most often relate to some aspect of my professional life as an online community moderator/manager and social media/social learning enthusiast. But I reserve the right to interject a few personal lessons along the way as well. So consistency this year means 366 daily posts, and just to put a number on brevity, each of the lessons will be stated in no more than 366 words (hopefully far fewer).

Join me for the adventure. Maybe we’ll learn from each other.

Happy new year!

widening circlesWhen I began this blog in April 2011 I expected to devote the space nearly exclusively to the subject of social learning. It is a topic of enormous interest to me. I am a strong advocate of it where I work. I spend way too much time pursuing the matter on my own time outside of work. In my role as community manager for our large, internal online community, I have the opportunity to promote the use of our social platform as a primary way people can share, collaborate and learn in the flow of their daily work. I could not ask for a better laboratory for social learning.

But as I ponder subjects for this blog, it is apparent that I also need to reflect on and write about other topics that may or may not always have a connection to social learning. Specifically, I want to write about community management, social media, collaboration and business practices that support or inhibit progress in the enterprise. The overall subject is still primarily social, but the details going forward will not always be about social learning.

It’s time to widen the circle. Stay with me for the journey.

Social Media & Learning DailyEach day about 3pm Eastern Time a new edition of my “Social Media & Learning Daily” comes out online at As is the case with all “papers” at, it’s automatically generated from links in tweets of selected people I follow on Twitter and who I have listed on a social media and learning list at I keep the list of contributors fairly small (currently at 37) and focused on social learning and very closely related topics.

You are welcome to visit the paper and check it out. You’ll find a subscribe button near the top right if you’d like to be notified via email daily when the new edition is available. There is also a calendar icon on the right where you can select any prior date and view a previous edition from the archives.

And don’t think that the articles initially visible are all that each edition has to offer any more than the front page of a printed newspaper contains everything it has available. A “See all articles” link near the top right will provide a full list of all articles in that day’s edition.

Time is a precious commodity for all of us. We can’t spend all the time we might like perusing tweets of trusted sources. A paper like “The Social Media & Learning Daily” can help you glean from some of the best in the field of social learning.

So check it out at and look over the names of the people who make up the list of possible contributors at If you want to suggest other worthy contributors, then add a comment with their name and Twitter handle and I will check them out and consider the recommendation.