I have been dabbling in Social Media for almost a year now, primarily focussing on Twitter and blogging. Like many, I have found it to be one of the more rewarding professional experiences of my career. People involved in Social Media already know and embrace this, so in a sense I am preaching to the converted. However for me, one of the most exciting and interesting developments for me, is the development of personal connections and friendships with people I first connected with on Twitter.
Recently I was posed with a difficult decision, a moral dilemma if you will. When faced with a situations such as these, I like to gather information, talk to people whose judgement I trust and respect, reflect and (try to) make a wise choice. With this decision, I talked to a local trusted colleague, however I felt that I needed (or wanted) an external viewpoint. One removed from my context – someone who could look at the situation objectively because they are removed from it. I called a trusted friend (one whom I have only met once face to face), from my PLN and we talked for a 1/2 hour or so about the situation. While not giving me any one answer, having someone else to bounce ideas off was much appreciated. In the end I was able to make a decision that I felt was a good compromise that left everyone’s integrity intact.
After the conversation, I began to think about the connections I have made through Social Media and the learning I have done. I realized that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of this powerful medium. As educators and professionals it is imperative that we continue to grow and learn the benefits of technology. Too often, the argument against Social Media is that it isolates us, my experience has been the complete opposite – it only draws us closer together as a network of learners. We are working with a generation of learners who already understand and value Social Media…it is up to us to make sure that we are a part of it.