Tag Archive: blogging


I recently participated in an online forum called Women and Social Media: Path to Freedom of Expression and Transforming Culture. The discussion was hosted on Google Hangout, live streamed on Youtube, and took participant questions from Twitter and Youtube posts. The forum included speakers from every region of the world – Mexico, Serbia, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Ghana with just as diverse participants tuning in to watch. It was a creative way to integrate many free online tools to connect people globally and share ideas.

It was discussed that the internet is an easy form of democracy because it is a tool for empowerment and informed choices. People can use the internet to learn more about proposed policy or political actors. It can take away any myths or misconceptions. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter also empower people to be more active citizens by connecting people with similar interests and passions, and mobilizing them to act collectively. There are also opportunities for more traditional educational tools like online mentoring programs.

All of the presenters noted how important social media is in the work that they do. With social media being a fundamental component of many professions, not only those in the social sector, it is important that young people start learning how to use it responsibly and for reasons outside of merely chatting with friends. It is a means to open doors professionally. For example, one panelist mentioned that she contributes regularly to many blogs and this opened doors for her in the journalism field with offers for different publications. It is important for young people to gain professional development opportunities online because they are easily available and required to make it in this wired world.

The importance of online security was also addressed. Young people need to learn the risks involved and be aware of online bullying. They need to be equipped with the ways to handle these situations and to know that there are ways to seek help if they experience or see online bullying. By providing young people with safe outlets to connect and share experiences with others, this risk is reduced. Programs such as eKWIP teach young people how to use the internet responsibly and for positive reasons so that they do not fall into the riskier aspects of the internet.

-Beth Davis

“Habit #5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Sean Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

 

Icon credit: http://www.freeicons web.com

 

A novice educational writer enters a party, and after listening for a couple minutes, he notices that it is a gathering of like-minded educators who are socializing and discussing important issues of the day. The newbie thinks, “ This is my chance to network and connect with as many people as possible!” Without so much as a greeting, he runs around the room and thrusts recent copies of his article into people’s hands. What is the likelihood that anyone in the room is going to read the article, let alone enter into an important dialogue with this party-crasher? By the way—did I mention that his BOSS is somewhere in the room?

The Internet has allowed like-minded individuals to connect globally and create self-governing social networks that hold meetings and gatherings at all times of the day or night. In some of the social networking sites, like Twitter, the din of the crowd can be so loud that important voices are drowned out by the incessant noise. When looking at the narrative above, one would suppose that the author who entered the room and thrust articles at people would be disregarded as just another loud mouth.

I am a relatively new professional blogger, but I have taught language arts skills in a public school for going on 14 years. Former students would laugh at me if I attempted to act in the same manner as the aforementioned party-crasher. Although I must admit, I have recently crashed many discussions on Twitter trying to populate this blog. My students would remind me of a previous lesson that focused on the quote, “Seek first to understand, then be understood, ” found in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.

Social networking creates an interesting environment for participants looking to network with like-minded educational professionals. Usually, the participant is sitting in isolation working on a computer without any established professional boundaries. This personal isolation of the physical space may have a negative impact on an individual’s perception of appropriate and positive social interactions. It is helpful for me to imagine my boss looking over my shoulder while I prepare a post for publication. It is difficult to predict who might wonder into a social networking event and listen in on a conversation.

The story featured at the beginning of this post is an illustrative example of a typical forum or social networking space online. When entering the room, one must listen to the conversation and pick up the narrative “thread.” After an understanding for the tone of the space, the guest can then enter into conversations with members. After trust and respect are established, a request to read a blog or other posting is acceptable.  I learned the hard way; although networking is valuable in professional life, one must never forget to always be mindful of positive social skills.

Gregory M. McGough, M.Ed.

CII Chief Academic Officer