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2. Social Media for Work and Play: Discuss

Discussion is a helpful way to learn.  Until the late 19th century, discussion was mostly an in-person activity (although mail allowed for asynchronous discussion).  Telephones opened up the world to easy person-to-person communication. The Web has resulted in an even bigger explosion of the ability to allow for discussion on topics (scholarly and of course quite an array of un-scholarly topics).  Online discussions can lead to such everyday things as keeping up with your family and friends to more scholarly ventures, like medical researchers from different countries working together to find a promising new cancer drug.  In some cases, it can even lead to major political changes in countries around the world.



Movie Time





Read Shared symbolism of global youth unrest to find out about the political impact of social media



Discussion tools available online include:


Email & Mailing Lists
One of the most basic tools for discussion on the Web is email. Groups of people (two to hundreds - or more) can carry on conversations.

If your topic is specific and ongoing, you may want to consider a mailing list (commonly called listserv). A mailing list allows for hundreds or more users to bring up and discuss topics amongst a specific group. The list could be created to focus on discussion on a specific topic or it could be used to make communication easier for a specific group (society members, departments in a business/organization, etc.). A mailing list allows for users to have to enter one email address to communicate with list members. Mailing lists do, however, often require at least one person willing to manage membership and, on occasion, act as a moderator.

CataList and Topica have directories for topical mailing lists. Topica has options for starting a free mailing list (requires setting up an account).
Weblogs, or blogs, are tools used to share information and to allow others to respond. Think of them as a public diary to which others can reply. Blog authors often pick a theme about which to write and then develop followers who are interested in that theme. Their theme might be something personal, such as daily humor in their lives or parenting experiences. Blogs can also be focused on more scholarly topics, such as anthropology or physics research.

While a large number of blogs are fairly casual and written by someone from the general population, many are scholarly blogs on the Web written by experts on that topic. In general, blogs provide insights into the less formal musings of everyday people. But ones written by experts allow for a more scholarly and ongoing approach to understanding an idea or topic.
You can use tools such as MeltWater IceRocket to find blogs on a wide range of topics. Some sites are devoted to blogs by subject area, such as:
You can set up your in blog using tools like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Weebly.
Social Networking Applications
Some tools are designed for people to share (usually brief) bits of information with a select group. These are often used by individuals to share their thoughts and ideas, but are also used by many organizations and businesses. Text, images and videos can be used.
  • Facebook is designed to share snippets about various topics with friends.
  • LinkedIn is for professional networking and sharing professional accomplishments.
  • Twitter is for brief (140 characters maximum) messages (called tweets). Follow accounts to keep up with friends, news, or your field.
  • Pinterest is for images/videos related to interests, such as hobbies
  • thinglink is focused on sharing images and adding notes, music, or video to help enhance them.




What’s going on at OSU?  Check out Interact, OSU’s social media home.




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