Here is the G. Siemens blog post from July 2011 I was talking about in class. I've been thinking about what he's said, as well as the comments people made, all week. In the post, he offers that some social media hype is overstated (e.g., a hashtag is the equivalent of a social movement). He argues that "social media is about flow not substance". Some people blasted him for these statements in the comment section, saying that what he was claiming was in the face of his own theory of connectivism. He replied there was "no contradiction at all. Social networks do not equal social media. Connected specialization involves bringing together different information sources or people with different levels of expertise. I replied to Clive Shepherd’s blog addressing this in a bit more detail. Again, as stated in other comments, social media has a role to play. There is nothing in what I wrote in this post that contradicts assertions I and others have made about connectivism. For that matter, the first article I did in 2004 on connectivism was a few years prior to the current “social media” hype. You don’t need Twitter or Facebook to connect with others. That said, tools like Twitter/Facebook can be useful, but don’t mistake the tool as being the point of value, when it’s the connection it enables that is most critical."
I've been thinking a lot about how much I agree with him on this point.
He claimed earlier in the post, "Social media=emotions.
Blogging/writing/transparent scholarship=intellect. Put another way, Twitter/Facebook/G+ are secondary media. They are a means to connect in crisis situations and to quickly disseminate rapidly evolving information. They are also great for staying connected with others on similar interests (Stanley Cup, Olympics). Social media is good for event-based activities. But terrible when people try to make it do more – such as, for example, nonsensically proclaiming that a hashtag is a movement. The substance needs to exist somewhere else (an academic profile, journal articles, blogs, online courses)."
I understand where he is going with his argument and agree there are probably more people that use social media in the way he describes than those that do not. However, I did see an improvement in our EDUCE102 students reflections when we had them use Twitter to "mindcast" about things they were reading and thinking about. We had several students tell us at the end of the course how much they really feel in love with using Twitter as a result of this "new" way of using Twitter–they continue to "mindcast" instead of "lifecasting" on Twitter to this day. While I can agree, some of the value of social media might be overstated I am not sure I agree that social media tools like Twitter, FB, G+ are all simply about flow.
What do you think?