SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE KNOWLEDGE AGE:
Thinking Critically, Analytically
The invention of computer networks in the late 1960s and early 70s gave rise to new ways of communicating and led to a profound social and economic paradigm shift, transcending the industrial world of machines and factory models to what has been called the age of KNOWLEDGE. Whereas the industrial model was based on human and machine repetition and efficiency, the Knowledge Age is based on human innovation and inventiveness.
Collaboration rather than competition, and mental vs mechanical skills are the major themes; the rise of networking and social media reflect and advance those themes. Network communication such as email (invented in 1971) and computer conferencing (1972) were the beginning of online social networks that have grown with the invention of the Internet (1989) and the web (1993). The introduction of web 2.0 innovations such as social networks (2004), blogs (1999), user-generated content sites such as wikis (xx), Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter (2006) represent what has come to be termed as the social or collaborative web.
It is of paramount importance to today’s world to examine social media, such as forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other user-generated content sites, and their applications to Education, Business, Community and Social communication. We need to focus on online collaboration and knowledge building and analyse and apply these concepts to the study of social media. The key question is: do social media facilitate collaborative learning and knowledge building in business, education, community and social communication applications? And if so, HOW?? Which technologies?? What designs? And especially how is discourse moderated and/or curated?