"Social Learning" Is a Great Way To Learn - Myth

UhUh. Nope. The scary part about what most people call social networking and learning is that there is an appearance of great profound learning from being involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but by and large, it's an illusion based on the idea that if one is "active", one is learning.

There are a number of reasons why social learning is a poor way to learn.

Pace Makes Waste But On Social Networks, Pace Affords an Illusion of Learning

In chats and particularly on Twitter, the soundbyte communication methods (from the 140 character limit), distort information, as does any medium. However in the short form communications of status update, there can be a flurry of interactions which feels as if something significant is going on.

It's very stimulating. If, however, you step back and look at the content of the interactions in a dispassionate way separate from the pace of interaction, what you see is banal, superficial comments that have as much depth and significance as the fortunes in cookies.

It feels like learning is happening, because the pace is stimulating, but it's activity not knowledge or wisdom that's produced.

Do You Know Where This Knowledge Has Been?

Mom used to say that. You don't know where that's been so don't put it in your mouth? Same problem with learning on social media. You don't know where the "information" comes from, and how many brains it's been through a la broken telephone. This isn't an abstract problem.

For example, if you look at many of the "research" studies that get repeated in social media, particularly about social media, you find that in the vast majority of cases the messages/tweets misrepresent the research findings when you look at the actual studies. It's not intentional lying but it's a spinning PLUS interpretation from one person to the next that distorts.

The content in the social networking world is unreliable, and should always be suspect to verification both as to source and as to verity.

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