Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Social media- changing the world from the edge?

Christina Merl, whom I know from CPsquare, interviewed me last year about my experiences with social media in the development sector. She wrote an article for the rural development news from Agridea with the title: social media- changing the world from the edge? If you are interested you can read it online here. The pictures look great in black and white! Let's see if I can a quote that is not too embarrassing....

How can social media support learning processes?
There are many ways in which social media can support learning processes. They can support individual learning, team learning, organisational learning and cross-organisational learning via networks and communities of practice. For example, my own learning process is supported by blogging. I blog about what interests me and read blogs of people in knowledge management. That keeps me thinking and developing my own ideas. An important mindset of people participating in the online exchange in social media is to be comfortable with having intimate conversations in public spaces. That means those conversations are opened up to be listened to. Likewise, listening into other circles helps you to understand the world, broaden your view and learn about your interests and unexpected things. I tend to believe that social media will change learning processes of professionals in organisations and allow for more cross-fertilization of ideas. Furthermore, it is much easier to network online through social media. I had two old friends from Ghana and Mali on a Skype chat this morning. If we didn’t have Skype, I would probably lose touch. One of them helped me to find a water expert in Mali for a friend working with OXFAM in the US. The barrier to ask questions and help each other is very low. However, the basis for such contact via social media is often still face-to-face contacts.

You might also prefer to read some of the other articles from rural development news, which you can find here.


Paul said...

I like your point about cross fertilisation. Maybe in academic circles this will mean a reduction of the tendency to reinvent themes across disciplines.

Enjoying your blog!

Joitske said...

Hi Paul, thanks for the compliment!