#Change11 #CCK12 The use of social media (FB/Twitter) in social networking & networked learning

Research indicates that male and females are different generally in the use of  social media and social networking. Males tend to be more competitive in getting the job done effectively, with strong self regards, and less regards for others, suggesting that males are more oriented on task assignment and completion. Females tend to be more socially oriented and show more regards for others, thus with a higher emotional intelligence on self awareness, social awareness and interperpersonal skills, leading them to become better teachers, coaches which rely much on human relationship building.

From the research here by Kop, Helene & Mak (2011):

“There seemed to be a gender difference in the perception of the value of community building and the organization of communication. The research highlighted a difference between men and women in terms of their communication styles and preferences. Women tended to look for similarities or commonalities (i.e., in issues of language) that could become a source of bonding. In contrast, some men had a tendency to practice one-upmanship, in the sense of trying to keep one step ahead of other participants as competitors. Men were more task-oriented in their use of language, while women put more emphasis on socioemotional dimensions. For example, in one course activity that was taken up by PLENK participants, the female participant tended to play more of an assistant/supportive role and responded in an inclusive way, while her male counterpart tended to delegate task.”

Posting first seems to be a human nature, when sharing, and the looking for some social belonging and recognition, in social networking. I realized that most postings on Social Networking sites such as FB and Twitter that relate to social learning & relationship come predominantly from females, whilst postings on information and research artifacts come equally from males and females. That is only my intuition, based on observation. You could try and analyse the networkers’ postings, and see if there is such a pattern. This seems to me a nice research topic. The questions are: Are males and females different in their intentions in social networking and media learning? What are their differences in terms of goals and motivation? Why?

This study on Facebook provides some interesting insights on why and how people use FB:

Seven unique uses and gratifications were identified –

– social connection

– shared identities

– content

– content gratification

– social investigation

– social network surfing

– status updating

User demographics, site visit patterns and the use of privacy settings were associated with different users and gratification.

A younger user was associated with higher usage level and a greater number of friends.

Females visit more frequently and scores on the photographs and status updates predict frequency of visit to the sites.

In the case of Twitter, the research found a non-power law follower distribution. Among reciprocated users, there were some level of homophily.

Would be interested to know how participants of MOOC (Change 11 and CCK12) are using social media like FB and Twitter.


Kop, R., Fournier, H., Mak, S.F. J. (2011). A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online CoursesThe International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol 12, No. 7 (2011).

Mak, S.F.J. (2012) Facebook or Media 

#CCK11 A short reflection on groups and networks

I enjoyed the game, where every one wins, and no one loses, as Steve mentioned. Blogging is personal, so that’s why the person (blogger) is always winning, as the competition could be with him/herself only.

In a group game, that is challenging! There are rules (conditions apply!) You got to be members of the group to contribute.

And in a team game, it is even related to agreed goals. There are winners, and losers, as in sports teams. If you are in a strong winning team, you may win, though you may equally lose, if your competitor is stronger than you.

But networks are different, you could join or leave, as you wish, at any time, seemingly with “no obligation”, and when you win, what would you do? You go on to win! When you lose, what would you do? Would you try to win again? I could see this game being played out by all nodes in networks. Is networking a game (with etiquette – both explicit and tacit)? Have we started the game? Aren’t we playing the self-organising game? No pressure as Steve said!

Which of the above are groups, teams, collectives, networks?

This reminds me of the traces of behaviorism we still observe in groups, teams and networks.

#PLENK2010 Emotional and Social Intelligence and PLENK

The sociable brain (Daniel Goleman in his book Social Intelligence): Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us affect the brain-and so the body-of everyone we interact with, just as they do us.
Even our most routine encounters act as regulators in the brain, priming our emotions, some desirable, others not.  The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.
Does this explain why networkers are having strong or weak ties in social networks, where emotions could play a part in its formation, development and sustainability? What would be your basis of your weak ties/connections?  Ideas or information sharing? Emotional sharing? Socialising?

In search of answers to the above questions, I explored this Bar-on Model of Emotional Social Intelligence .  It provides some important insights into emotional and social intelligence.

emotional-social intelligence is a cross section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands.

I would also rate this article as one of the best in emotional and social intelligence that I have read, as the research was extensive, and findings based on strong evidences.

Ref to p7 of 28:

More specifically, the Bar-On model reveals that women are more aware of emotions, demonstrate more empathy, relate better interpersonally and are more socially responsible than men. On the other hand, men appear to have better self-regard, are more self-reliant, cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women. Similar gender patterns have been observed in almost every other population sample that has been examined with the EQ-i. Men’s deficiencies in interpersonal skills, when compared with women, could explain why psychopathy is diagnosed much more frequently in men than in women; and significantly lower stress tolerance amongst women may explain why women suffer more from anxiety-related disturbances than men (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The above findings sound well when I reflect on my observations in social networks, though I think more researches need to be done to substantiate the claims, in order to avoid any stereotyping.

Would gender difference affect the way how people use PLENK and connect with others? This could be important to understand, and if the findings of the research are right, then this may imply that more women are able to connect with others than men in social networks due to their superior skills in empathy and emotional awareness, whereas men may be able to cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women.

This led me to explore further…..

In this Social intelligence, innovation, and enhanced brain size in primates by Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Individuals capable of inventing new solutions to ecological challenges, or exploiting the discoveries and inventions of others, may have had a selective advantage over less able conspecifics, which generated selection for those brain regions that facilitate complex technical and social behavior. An alternative account is that primates are making opportunistic use of information processing capabilities afforded by a large executive brain that has evolved for some other reason to cope with challenges in new flexible ways. However, as these two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive (3), our findings support the view that social learning and innovation may have been important processes behind the evolution of large brains in primates.

To the extent that innovation is a measure of asocial learning, the correlation between social learning and innovation frequencies suggests that asocial and social learning have evolved together. This pattern suggests that social and asocial learning may be based on the same processes (50), which conflicts with the widely held view that social learning requires distinct psychological abilities from asocial learning (70). However, we cannot rule out the possibility that social and asocial learning are separate, domain-specific capacities (14, 15) that have undergone correlated evolution.

If the findings of the research are right, then innovation (as a measure of asocial learning) based on the use of PLENK and social learning might have evolved together, confirming that social learning and innovation is part of the evolution in past decade.  Could we separate the social and asocial learning?  That remains a myth.

This emotional and social intelligence is just so interesting for me to explore.

Photo: From Flickr


Postscript: Just read Heli’s Designing for commitment in online communities Great insights from Heli.

Will reflect and respond.

Networked Creator

This is my response to Shifting Identities – From Consumer to Networked Creator by John

Wonderful insights. “The only way we will be able to cope with the mounting pressure is by making our passion our profession.” Would this move us towards “loyalty to passion, as our profession” than “loyalty to the institution”?

What are the implications of being more professional in social networking?

Being more professional may imply that we need to establish our personal identity within social platforms, global social networks and framework, and a changing ecology, apart from those that we might have established within a formal institution or professional framework – that is merely defined by our career at work. This leverage the risks associated with the mere establishment of professional identity within an institution. 

“Anyone who cultivates a professional identity as a company man or company woman runs a growing risk of having that identity shredded in very short order”. John

What is the relationship between our passions and identity?

Our passions often surpass those required at work, and so it’s natural for many of us to “self actualise” within the social space and networks, with the aid of Web 2.0 technology. Our creation of artifacts and new knowledge over social networking could impact much on our professional and personal identity, and such identities are often interdependent.

However, there might still be tensions between our passion as a profession, and the profession at work, due to the constraints that are always inherent in systems within institutions.

How our passions would be shaped?

I think our passions would be more fully exploited via our personal sharing within the social networks, as we put ourselves out there in the global spotlight, and share our passions with a wider community, and thus learn and develop more effectively with our networkers and community members.  We would all become both a networked consumer and creator, with personal and network identity co-exist in a complex way.  Our personal identity would be shaped by our passion, which in turn could be further shaped by the network’s influence and other’s passion back on us.

Why Social networking?

Many people are attracted to social networking as they could allow them not only to establish their own voices, but to create artifacts & establish relationship through sharing, engagement and interaction.

“The relationships that we build pull us into creating and sharing even more. Relationships thrive on reciprocity. As we become the recipients of the creations of others, we feel a desire to create for them as well.” John

I have also discussed some aspects about network creativity and creativism in my blog https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com

Thanks John for your inspiring post.

CCK09 Future of Education

In this Future of Education: Is it Possible to De-School Society? George highlights the importance of school, and the reality that most parents have to face: one can’t take their children to work, as the parents are working with institutions.

According to George Siemens                                , you and I are so used to living our lives in such kind of “social installments” that we do not even realize how everything we experience is compartmentalized. Parents go to work and kids go to school because they are supposed to. NOT because this is the best option they have.

Sure, smart parents can  homeschool their children. Parents do have this option (at least in some countries), but it does not mean this is an easy decision to make.

He cites examples from his own experience: that his daughter could spend time and enjoy in networking last year, whilst he could only spend time in the beach whilst he was young.

I think schooling is still important in kid’s formative learning stages of life, where scaffolding of learning and zone of  proximal development is critical to future success in education and learning.  It would be more enriching if the learning at school is both relevant to life and fun to the child, so he/she could enjoy learning  whilst at school. 

However, the reality is that in the senior years of year 9-12, and/or post secondary – college and higher education, there are expectations from the institutions and potential employers on what would be required in terms of competency and capability at work or in the profession.  Are educators responsible for such education and training for their future work?  This is surely the case when it comes to vocational education and training, where pragmatism is vital to the development of competency- learning by doing, with the “construction” of underpinning skills and knowledge by the learner.

So learning could be fun in social networking after “school”, but not necessarily at school, as such networking hasn’t been integrated into a formal education system as yet.  Whether the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools could be integrated with the school system would also depend on the curriculum, learning context, unit content and how the units delivery are being facilitated or taught by the teachers, lecturers or professors. 

So rhetoric and reality is different when it comes to personal learning.

Would future education still be based on schools?  Yes, I think it is still a trend, and would even be more “schooling” in the years to come.  Why? School is where rules and regulations are “learnt”, and where the social behaviours are normed.  Our emphasis is still on collaboration, collective wisdom with team working in society, and organisation performance are based on “networks,  groups and teams”, not only individuals.   Would that be what industry and institutions are looking for from the individuals? 

Would that be what a civil and social education mean?  More research based on reason rather than emotion on our future education may help. See my other posts on future and higher education.

CCK09 Networks and organisation (part II)

In this post  on Networks and Organisation, Lilia writes:

However, I also feel that the networked ways of working are somewhat idealised, often in contrast to organisations with their controls, hierarchies and lack of transparency. ..

Triangulation by Lilia Efimova, on Flickr (derivative from the photo by Gauri Salokhe)May be it’s my preferences for sitting on the boundary (and building bridges ;), but I find important to think not in terms of polarities between networks and organisations, but about synergies.


How could we build the bridges? 

I think there  are stages in such building.  This starts with an awareness and education.

See this Networks and Organisation Work

The Implications include:

  1. Formal interventions of the group process contribute to knowledge integration and task execution
  2. Limitation of ICT as an effective tool in collaboration and the group process

See my post here on my previous views on Networking and Organisation (written in November 2008).

I think openness, autonomy, diversity and interactiveness or connectivity are still the essential criteria of success for networks and network learning as proposed by Stephen DownesSo, what is important would be for the organisations and institutions to leverage the wonderful emergent learning that networks could lead to and the synergy that results from its most valuable asset – people.  As organisations normally expect their employees to achieve goals set out in vision and mission statements, an empowerment of their employees in engaging and learning via networks would surely help the organisation to grow and develop into a truly network-centric organisation.

With a network-centric configuration, knowledge workers are able to create and leverage information to increase competitive advantage through the collaboration of small and agile self-directed teams. For this, the organizational culture needs to change from one solely determined by a command and control, rule-based hierarchy to a hybrid structure which supports loosely-coupled, self-managed teams to make cooperative decisions through the sharing of knowledge. Socially-constructed, collective knowledge, at the small team level, is recognized as the predominant source of learning, creativity and innovation even in large highly structured business enterprises.

A network-centric organization is a sensible response to a complex environment. The business climate of the new millennium is characterized by profound and continuous changes due to globalization, exponential leaps in technological capabilities, and other market forces. Rapid developments of ICT are driving and supporting the change from the industrial to the information age.

In this world of rapid change and uncertainty, organizations need to continually renew, reinvent and reinvigorate themselves in order to respond creatively. The network-centric approach aims to tap into the hidden resources of knowledge workers supported and enabled by ICT, in particular the social technologies associated with Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. Essentially though, a network-centric organization is more about people and culture than technology. [1] A useful survey of network organization theory appears in Van Alstyne (1997)[2]

Hybrid enterprisesMany enterprises are hybrids of hierarchical bureaucracies and dispersed network-centric configurations where competition and cooperation coexist. Enterprises which have complex hybrid structures consisting of hierarchies and networks are more like eco-systems than machines.

The latter are likely to be exploitative and bureaucratic while the former can be networked and innovative. This reflects the tension between the natural tendency for disorder to increase while humans strive to impose order by developing ever more complex rigid structures and systems. It is quite a natural state of affairs that organizations can be part mechanistic and part organic with continual transformations among these forms.

There is a need for top management and major stakeholders to build a deeper understanding in such a network-centric organisation, and the needs and relationship amongst individual learning and development, community of practice and the expectations from the corporate business or educational institutions.  I suppose this is the bridge that I suggest in my blog last year.

Stephen has since posted these wonderful videos on Networking and Organisation.