I found out about Social Media Day from Mike Cox. There was a tenuous plan to have some kind of event in LIT which would link to the event planned in CIT. Mike asked me to have a think about Twitter with a view to answering the following questions:
- What is it?
- How do I use it?
- How does it work with other social media I use?
- What next?
On Social Media Day I followed the event in CIT through Twitter initially and then got sucked in to watch the live stream. Hearing the panel in the after lunch session, discussing how social media has helped them deal with either their own health issues, or those of their children, gave me a very different perspective on social media. Hearing Alex talking about how her blog helped her as she fought cancer, hearing Eoin speak about how his family used Twitter, Facebook and blogs in different ways as they dealt with the reality of their daughter having a serious heart condition and hearing Lisa talk about creating the Grace app that would give her autistic daughter a way to communicate, really stopped me in my tracks.
Later in the day I saw a link to a live Google Hangout that had been organised as part of the Cork Social Media Day event. Jane Boyd and April Ennis in Canada , Greg McQueen in Denmark, Marti Konstant in the US and Paul O’Mahony, Bernie Goldbach and Mike Cox in Ireland were involved at various times during the hangout. The first hour of the hangout involved a multiway chat between all of the above which demonstrated the power of Google+ hangouts to connect people around the world. For me the chat really got interesting when it was reduced to just Jane and Greg after an hour. As they discussed social media and what it means to them it was like they were discussing my own experiences of social media. How getting involved in social media is like learning a foreign language, how it can be a lonely experience at the start and yet how it is worth persevering because of the generosity of people on social media.
As Greg and Jane discussed beginning to engage with people and having people engage with you, building relationships through Twitter backed up with hangouts and before you know it you’re in it, it really resonated with me as this has been my exact experience. Signing up for Twitter and not doing much for a while, then retweeting other people’s tweets which started the engagement, obsessing over how to respond when someone actually tweeted me directly, being in awe of people with thousands of followers and who have sent thousands of tweets and yet now, here I am completely embedded in Twitter, wondering how I will survive without it for my 2 weeks of holidays. It’s no secret that I love Twitter but I find that generally the people I interact with most are those whom I have met in person or whom I have hung out with via Skype or Google+ hangouts as I find that this gives an added dimension to our interactions. When the chat turned to the idea that we as humans don’t like the feeling of being alone it echoed the sentiments of the panel earlier in the day and for many this is what social media gives them – a way to connect with people regardless of geographical location.
The discussion point between Jane and Greg that I’ll leave you with is the real power of social media which has people discussing what ‘we’ did rather than what ‘I’ did. Social media in it’s many forms makes collaboration so much easier and to quote Jane it is ‘incredibly inspiring to collaborate with people around the world’. This has certainly been my experience whether it was my involvement with Liam Dunphy and many others on the #ccGlobal Project or interacting with Ira Socol, Pam Moran, Conor Galvin and Bernie Goldbach in the preparations for the ICT in Education conference. To echo Greg, putting your ideas out there and having them picked up by others and added to should be viewed as a positive rather than a losing of something in the sharing.
For some ideas of other social media applications to try out check out the infographic below
image from http://www.integralseo.com/images/socialmedia.png