Thursday, January 17, 2008

Social networks and social networking

Interesting debates are going on around definitions and assumptions being made about social networks and social networking.

David Warlick offers interesting insights into what he thinks are the differences:

  1. There is a difference (right now) between social networks (or social network sites), and social networking. In my mind, a social network is a single site with features that facilitate social experiences. Social networking, on the other hand, is what is done in social networks, but can also be done with smaller and personally combined tools, such as blogs, wikis, podcasting, aggregators, twitter, etc. Neither (at this time) fully encompasses the other.
  2. Facebook is an example of a social network site. They are not synonymous. What frustrates me about Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, is that their feature sets are way to limiting. I think that a social network has enormous potential, especially to education. But not in its current form. I’m afraid that if we are limiting our notions of social networks to what’s already been developed in FB, MS, and even Ning, and dismiss them as a result, then we may just miss a wonderful opportunity.


  1. So presumably, what we want is for students to engage in social networking (safely and sensibly), whatever the means they use to do so?

  2. Judging by some of the things that have been happening on the social networks in this part of the world I think that the safely and sensibly part is something that needs to be emphasised!