Sunday, February 9, 2014

A New Social Operating System

I'm fascinated by the way technology and social media have transformed the way we communicate, nurture and sustain relationships and expand our learning. That interest made Networked: The New Social Operating System by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman a good read. Rainie is Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, major researchers on social media trends, and Wellman is a Professor at the University of Toronto.

Many worry that this new environment isolates people. But Rainie and Wellman suggest that social media actually expands our connections and creates larger, loosely connected circles of friends and colleagues. These networks expand our opportunity to learn, solve problems, seek advice, and become familiar with new ideas. It frees us from the natural limitations imposed by physical proximity.

Of course expanded networks require that we enhance, or even develop, skills to develop networks, maintain connections with others and balance what can be multiple, occasionally overlapping, networks. In my case I've limited my Facebook network to friends and family. I use my Twitter account to expand my professional contacts and my professional learning. LinkedIn is used to network with professional colleagues and others who share similar interests or backgrounds.

I'd enjoy hearing from you about your use of social media and how it's transformed your personal and professional life.

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