I offered to speak about social networking at an upcoming consortium meeting. The October and November meetings are focusing on Web 2.0 - many different speakers, each with a slightly different focus. There was some overlap between speakers in October, but it seemed apparent, when Ning was mentioned, that an
overview of social networking might be a good thing to speak about. I realize there is soooo much out there related to social networking and would like to give a thorough overview. I also want to give people some specific groups they might want to take a look at.

Please help me by answering the following questions and giving me any other insight that might help other educators.

What Social Networks do you use?
Why do you use them? For professional Dev.? To find educational projects? Other reasons?
How do you keep up with all the information available?
Would you talk about tags at the same time as social networks?
What else would you include when introducing social networks?
I will definitely talk about Ning, what other networks would you talk about that would be particularly useful for educators.

Thank you,
Sarah

Tags: help, social networking

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Hi, Sarah! So much here. There are a lot of great technologies for social networking that are not new, and that have been in place for years with teachers. But when we talk about "social networking" as in the current kind-of MySpace, Facebook, Ning networks, I think this is a relatively new area. There are going to be others in CR 2.0 who are much better versed than I am in what has been done over the years, but I can at least add my two bits for the current crop.

I think we're finding that the amount of information is increasing exponentially, but at the same time, the good "connections" created by the new social networking provide such value that we no longer need to be trying to keep track of everything--we get such benefit from the good conversations we have. It's like walking into a party and realizing that we'll only be part of a tiny part of the discussions that take place in the party, so we engage in the discussions that we want to and don't worry about what we're missing--or recognize that the more intimate discussions are much more valuable to our personal growth than trying to be a part of everything.

I don't think I'd talk about tagging at the same time.
I use Ning, LinkedIn, Twitter mainly.
And I use them for all your reasons - as well as for basic networking and inspiration. It is impossible to keep up with all the information. I just do my best and filter and scan. I usuallyl talk about tags when the topic is social bookmarking. Perhaps just demonstrating how tags can influence your network use would be enough.

I find this list pretty interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

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