Call for papers: Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHe15

The inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference is to be held on 18th December 2015 at Sheffield Hallam University.  The call for papers has just gone out and closes Midday 3rd September 2015.

Full details can be found on the conference website

Do follow @SocMedHe on Twitter and updates via the conference hashtag #SocMedHE15

Below captures a snapshot from the conference page.

We are delighted to announce the inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHE15, a one day conference, with pre-conference dinner to be held at Sheffield Hallam University. #SocMedHE15 is about the use of social media for learning in Higher Education; it has been designed to create a forum for academics, their students, developers and strategic managers to consider the opportunities, challenges and the disruptive influence of social media for learning. The conference will be structured around three themes allowing us to explore the pedagogic possibilities of social media, as well as the strategic and operational challenges institutions face in supporting it.

The title of this year’s conference is:

“Finding Our Social Identity”

Conference aim
#SocMedHE15 will debate and examine our use of social media and its impact on the higher education learning landscape. Together, we will develop our understanding of good, sustainable practice by sharing accounts of emerging innovation in the pedagogic use of social media.

Teaching and learning in higher education is responding to the opportunities presented by social media, as its promise of increasing access and flexibility becomes clearer (HEA: ‘Conditions of flexibility’ 2014). Social media enables us to learn collectively by creating powerful, responsive Personal Learning Networks and social open learning environments (Dabbagh et al., 2012). It challenges us to understand and value the importance of openness and community in learning as we explore the rapidly developing phenomenon of MOOCs (Jisc, 2013). Social media is beginning to change the identity of higher education.

Although this newly forming landscape can be fascinating and rewarding, the challenge of developing digital capability (JISC) and confidence confronts us as institutions, teachers and students. Our understandings of employability and social and professional responsibility continuously change, making it difficult to put sustainable support and development strategies in place (Digital Skills Select Committee, 2015). The conference themes allow us to investigate the disruptive nature of social media; share our practice in the use of social media for networked, social and active learning, and to consider some of the challenges of being responsive, supportive and open for change. The conference keynote from Eric Stoller, will challenge and inspire us to review social media in our context, explore the opportunities of extending our networks for learning, and understand how we as universities need to respond to the Social Age.

Key dates for your diary:

  • Call for participation closes Midday 3rd September 2015
  • Early bird registration will open in early September 2015
  • Standard registration will open 2nd November 2015

Visit the conference website for more information


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Curating tweets using Storify #SHULT15

Storify logoStorify is a great way to bring together tweets at an event where participants have included a dedicated hashtag. These can be searched for within Storify and embedded into the story you create.

Here is an example from a previous Learning and Teaching Conference. The event hashtag assigned was #ACES2012. Delegates who chose to tweet about the event included this hashtag in their tweets. Continue reading

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Tips for tweeting at conferences

Tweeting at conferences

Twitter is a micro blogging tool that enables users to share short succinct messages, links and multimedia. When used at conferences, live-tweeting by delegates is a way to publicly share information about the event. Typically tweets may include:

  • quotes from the speakers
  • photos of visual slides or where the font is large enough to be snapped clearly
  • links to papers, books, websites or other resources shared by the speakers and delegates
  • discussion about the presentations/workshops attended

Continue reading

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Guidance for students on using social media effectively

social media guidance leaflets

Sheffield Hallam University

Social media is a constantly evolving landscape of tools and functionality that affects the way that most of us live, learn and work. Regardless of how you currently use (or don’t use) it, as an educator or as a student and developing professional, it is important to understand how social media can impact on your learning, your current or future professional identity and your employability.

At Sheffield Hallam University we have developed a collection of resources which have been designed to help you take as much control as possible of social media and your digital identity, and to find out how you can use it to support you. As a student your use of social media may be to support your studies and improve your employability. As an educator it may be to develop your online presence, and to share your research and publications.

Using social media for learning – Make social media work for you and stand out from the crowd by identifying and harnessing opportunities.

Managing your digital footprint – Four ways to stop your social media past damaging your real-life future; simple steps to clean up and manage your social media identity.

How to use social media responsibly – How your personal use of social media relates to the University’s rules and regulations; what is inappropriate, and the associated consequences

Using social media to enhance your employability – Outlining the ways in which social media can improve your employability and develop a satisfying career.

Staying safe online – your guide to IT security – Advice on avoiding identity theft and online fraud; staying safe and protecting your equipment and information.

Permission to re-use

The leaflets have been given a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

This means you are free to:
Share – copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt – remix, transform, and build upon the material.

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The growing social media landscape: an updated glossary

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3

Social Media not only keeps on growing but also changing. New vocabulary and new sites emerge and as sites lose popularity they disappear are quietly forgotten. The Conversation Prism above created by Brian Solis and JESS3 has gone through a number of iterations since its conception in 2008. This latest version is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life. (The full size version can be found here.)

Below is a collection of social media terms  and a short explanation for each.

An [updated] A-Z Social Media Glossary

A A social networking site and customisable personal homepage. A social networking site for academics/researchers

App: An application that performs a specific function on your mobile device, allowing users to easily access social media platforms and more on smartphones and tablets.

Avatar: An image and/or user name that represents a person within social networks and forums.

Analytics/Insights: A collection of social media activity data (i.e. reach, impressions, engagement, etc.) that is used to understand and improve performance.


Blog: Is used as a noun or a verb, a blog is a frequently updated website or page to which an individual or organization posts opinions, articles and more, Tto blog refers to the act of producing new material for a blog.

Blogger: A free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog.

Board: A Pinterest grouping feature that allows users to organize pinned content by theme.


Campaign: The planning, implementing, and measuring of marketing techniques used on social networks to achieve a defined goal.

Check In: A feature on some social networks that allows a person to share his or her current location to the social community.

Circles: A Google+ feature that allows users to cluster followers into specific groups for more targeted messaging.

Comment: A public response or reaction to a blog post, status update or any other piece of content on social media.

Community: A Google+ feature where users can create communities to share information around a specific theme.

Connection: A person that is part of a LinkedIn user’s professional network. Connections on LinkedIn are comparable to Facebook friends..

Content: Valuable, shareable online material including text, photos, videos, audio, etc.

Content Management System (CMS): A platform designed to enable non-technical users to manage website or blog content without having programming knowledge.

Cover Photo: The 851×315 pixel image found at the top of a Facebook page or profile. Cover photos for businesses are used for branding, campaign messaging and more.

Creative Commons: is a not-for-profit organization and licensing system that offers creators the ability to fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works.

Crowdfunding: This refers to the act of soliciting donations or investments from online users outside your organization who collectively raise money to support a cause or to underwrite a project.

Crowdsourcing: This refers to the act of soliciting content, ideas or skills from online users outside your organization who collectively help you solve a problem.


Dashboard: An administrative interface that allows users to monitor and measure social network activity and performance.

Digg: Is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles.

Diigo: A social bookmarking site where users can share annoted and tagged lists of saved favourites.

Direct Message: A private message on Twitter or Instagram between two users. Often abbreviated as ‘DM’.


Embed: The act of adding code from one website or blog to another so that social media content, such as a YouTube video, can be displayed while it’s being hosted on another platform.

Engagement: The amount of activity social media content receives including ‘Likes’, retweets, shares and comments.

Event: A Facebook feature that allows users to invite others to upcoming occasions, or share important life milestones with friends.


Facebook: Currently the largest social network in the world.

Facebook Advertising: A form of paid amplification on Facebook to help users expand post reach and engagement with an intended audience. Facebook advertising allows for audience targeting by geography, interest and other granular details.

Fan: A Facebook user that follows or ‘Likes’ a business or brand page.

Favourite: An action that represents a Twitter user’s approval and favourability of a tweet or piece of content on Twitter.

Feed: A stream of the latest social media and other content from select channels on a website or blog, powered by an aggregator.

Filter: An Instagram tool which allows a user to adjust the tone and look of a photo.

Flickr: A photo sharing site.

Follower: A Twitter user who has subscribed to another user’s tweets. Similar to ‘Like’ or ‘Friend’ on Facebook.

Follow Friday: This is a trend using the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users.

Forum: An online site which is used for discussion.

Foursquare: A social network that helps users find the perfect places to go with friends with a focus on the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area.

Freemium:  is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality, or virtual goods.

Friend: A mutually agreed upon connection between two Facebook users.


Geotagging/Geolocation: The process of adding the exact geographic location of a user in social media updates including photos, videos, etc. This can be disabled by a user’s device privacy settings.

Goodreads: Lets users track and rate books and network with other readers.

Google+: Google’s social network that promotes branding, social reviews and search visibility. Businesses can share photos, contact information and more which will appear in Google’s local search engine results.

Group:  An exclusive social space that allows select individuals to share updates, photos and more with each other.


Handle: The user name that a Twitter user chooses to represent themselves. To communicate with or tweet someone, the update must include the @ symbol followed by the user’s handle.

Hangout: A Google+ feature that allows a select group of users to have conversations and share content with each other.

Hashtag: A searchable, interactive feature that allows users to relate a status update or photo upload to a broader topic, using the “#” symbol followed by a keyword.

HootSuite: Social media management tool that helps brands streamline and schedule content across major social networks.


Inbound Marketing: A permission-based marketing strategy focused on the process of attracting a target audience, converting and closing leads, and delighting customers. Social media is a common inbound marketing channel.

Instagram: A photo sharing application and social media network that allows users to take photos, apply filters, and share the photos instantly on Instagram and other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.


Klout: This is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score.


Like: An action on Facebook and some other social networks that allows users to show approval of a status update or other content.

Link Building: Generating links to your site or blog from social media platforms and other websites – and vice versa – with the hopes of improving search engine ranking.

LinkedIn: A business-oriented social media channel mainly used for professional networking. Users are able to post job experience and skills, make personal and professional connections, search for careers and more.

LinkedIn Ads: A self-service advertising solution on LinkedIn that allows users to create and place ads within

List: A select group of Twitter users organized by theme or interest. Users can develop original lists to follow, or subscribe to lists established by others.


Mention: The act of referencing a user in a social media post, notifying the mentioned person or business of your update.

Modified tweet: Re-posting another user’s tweet with minor modification to share with your Twitter followers.

Message: A private communication between two or more users on Facebook.

Myspace: An online social network that primarily caters to artists and bands. The platform provides extensive profile customization capabilities.


Network: A user’s social media connections, which includes those that are connected to your friends and followers.

News Feed: A complete, chronological feed of status updates from friends and fanned pages on the homepage of Facebook or another social network. A news feed also includes sponsored content.

Notification: A notice informing users of pertinent social media activity.


Open Graph:  Functionality that supports the integration between Facebook and other websites by allowing post elements to become rich ‘graph’ objects.  Site owners can integrate open graph tags in images, titles and descriptions and more to better assure content is rendered properly when shared.


Page: A Facebook profile for a business, brand or product. Facebook users can ‘Like’ these pages to receive status updates, but cannot become ‘friends’ as with personal profiles

Periscope: Twitter’s social media network that features live-streaming video.

Pin: A piece of content collected and shared by Pinterest users.

Pinterest: A pin board-style social network where users can share content and create theme-based collections.

Platform: A framework or content management system that runs software and presents information. For example, Facebook is a popular platform for sharing social content and WordPress is a popular platform for blogs.

Podcast: A digital audio file made available for download which you may subscribe to. A podcast is often available as a series of installments or in a series.

Post: Is where a user shares information which may include text, links and multimedia

Profile: A social network user’s personal, customisable page used to share and store updates, photos, videos, personal information etc.

Promoted Tweets: Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider, more targeted group of users to spark engagement.

Protected Tweets: Users choose to add this setting and require manual approval of each and every person who may view their Tweets.


Quora: A social media network where its users ask, answer, edit and organise questions.


Reach: The total number of people who saw a certain post due to both organic updates and paid promotion.

Repin: Sharing another Pinterest user’s pin.

Reply: Replying directly to a tweet on Twitter which only the people following you and the person you’re replaying to can view.

ResearchGate: A social network connecting researchers and a forum to share publications and engage in discussions.

Retweet: Re-posting another user’s tweet to share with your Twitter followers.


Scheduling: Planning social media updates and content ahead of time.

Second Life: An online virtual world where users are called ‘residents’ and interact with each other through avatars. Residents can meet other residents, socialise, participate in activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the virtual world.

Sentiment Analysis: An attempt to understand how an audience feels (positive or negative sentiment) about a brand, company, or product based on data collected from social media.

SEO: The process of following best practices to improve the ranking of your websites and social media content in non-paid/sponsored search results.

Share: The act of posting a status, link or image from a friend or business’ page, or directly from the internet to share with your friends or followers.

Skype: A free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users.

SlideShare: A social network owned by LinkedIn for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks such as their own LinkedIn profile, Twitter and Facebook.

Snapchat: A mobile messaging app allowing users to send photos or 1-10 second videos to selected friends. The content then disappears from the screen unless the user takes a screenshot or becomes a Snapchat story which is posted for 24 hours.

Social Bookmarking. A method by which users locate, store, organise, share and manage bookmarks of Web pages without being tied to a particular device.

Social Capital: Refers to the good will and positive reputation that flows to a person through his or her relationships with others in social networks.

Social Media: Media designed to let users post content and communicate with others online through highly accessible and scalable online publishing techniques.

Social Media Marketing: A form of internet marketing utilizing the unique attributes of various social networking sites to increase brand exposure, communicate with consumers, as well as establish and maintain relationships.

Social Media Monitoring: A process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.

Social Networking: The act of participating in an online community.

Social Media ROI: A measurement of the effectiveness of an organisation’s investment in social media.

Sponsored/Promoted Content: Paid advertisements targeted toward specific audiences based on demographics to increase the reach and relevancy of a particular post.

Status: Content shared by a social network user to express thoughts, show activities, disclose his or her location, tag friends and more.

Swarm: A social networking site that allows friends to check in to a physical location on their mobile device, share locations, and connect with others in the same place.


Tab: Separate sections within a Facebook page that organize content by updates, personal information, friends, photos, videos, etc.

Tag: To identify or mention an individual user in a photo or status update, which subsequently generates a link to the tagged user’s profile.

Targeting: Defining the audience of a social media update based the content and context to increase relevancy.

Thread: A strand of messages which represent a conversation or part of a conversation.

Throwback Thursday: A weekly social media tradition where every Thursday users post either a really old photograph of themselves with the hashtag #tbt.

Timeline: Facebook’s profile layout that displays a user’s collection of share content. Originally called a Facebook ‘wall’.

Trend: A topic or event which is currently popular and much discussed online. Trends are often signified by frequently used hashtags.

Tumblr: A microblogging platform and social networking site owned by Yahoo! Inc. that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog.

Tweet: A Twitter status update that can be no more than 140 characters.

Twitter: A popular social network that lets members post short, timely updates.


Unfriend: To remove someone from your Facebook contact list.

User Generated Content: Media that has been created and published by the user.


Videoblog: Also called a vlog, is simply a blog that contains video entries.

Vimeo: A video-sharing platform where users can upload videos and/or watch other user’s videos.

Vine: A mobile app owned by Twitter that allows users to post and share short videos (up to 6 seconds) that play in a continuous loop.

Viral: A piece of content that is organically, rapidly and widely shared online.


Web Analytics: The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purpose of understanding who your visitors are and optimizing your website.

Webinar:  Short for web seminar. A live meeting or presentation over the Internet where viewers can ask questions by voice or in the chat.

Whatsapp: An instant messaging app where users can share text messages, images, audio and video.

Wiki: A collaborative website that can be directly edited by anyone with access to it.

WordPress: A free blogging platform that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog.


Yammer: A freemium enterprise social networking service that allows users within a company to connect, communicate and collaborate.

Yik  Yak: A social media smartphone app that allows users to anonymously create and view “Yaks” within a 10 mile radius.

YouTube: A video-sharing platform owned by Google where users can upload videos and/or watch other user’s videos.


+1: A Google+ feature in which users can show approval for posts. Similar to ‘Like’ on Facebook.


Disclosure: This post was inspired by the following blog posts with further additions of my own.

Hootsuite: Social Media Glossary

Zag Interactive: Social Media Glossary

Posted in Social Media | 1 Comment

Teens and (social) media – a snapshot over three decades


This infographic created by Teensafe provides a great visual of the changing focus on technology use. First of all it considers changes in teenagers social lives and the impact media has had. The use of the phone for example for talking is no longer its primary use. Today “talking is out and texting is in” with an average of 60 texts sent every day. Continue reading

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The LinkedIn Guide to the Perfect #WorkSelfie

More top tips from LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile is 14x more likely to be viewed simply by adding a profile photo. Follow these tips to take the perfect #WorkSelfie for your LinkedIn profile.

You can follow LinkedIn on Slideshare


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What NOT to post on social media


For many of us social media has pervaded our lives, not only socially but as spaces to interact professionally within too. Ubiquitous access to mobile phones and connectivity means that we can access information any time and increasingly anywhere. Sharing news and information has become a daily activity. We are now producers and consumers of these updates. Continue reading

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New post: Some tips on choosing images to use for blogs, websites and presentations

happy face sad faceInspired by Richard Byrne’s post on best practices for using images in blog posts, below are three simple tips to follow to avoid copyright issues. Just because images are freely available on the Internet to view, does not mean it gives us the right to use them without permission. You can of course contact the owner of copyrighted images to ask for this, however this can take time and potentially be refused. The options below help to alleviate this.

1. Use your own images

Now so many of us own phones that enable us to take photos and the fact that these very devices are usually carried on our person most of the time, there are so many opportunities to take snapshots. The phone cameras are often equal to or better than our existing cameras with regards to quality. Photos can be quickly accessed and saved to sites like Flickr or filed on our own devices. Care should be taken when photographing people that can be identified and permission sought if you wish to post online, however at a distance photos are fine.


2. Use public domain photos

These are images that have been uploaded and given a pubic domain licence. Stanford University offer a useful definition:

The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.

Examples of websites offering public domain images:


3. Use photos with a Creative Commons licence

Here owners of images that have given their work a CC licence, give permission to others to use their images. It is important however to give attribution to the owner of the image. Alan Levine’s CC Attribution Helper also makes it easy to format image citations. Secondly care should be taken to check whether the chosen licence (there are a number of different ones) allows modification or use commercially (if this is relevant). Visit the Creative Commons site for more info

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that assists authors and creators who want to voluntarily share their work, by providing free copyright licences and tools, so that others may take full and legal advantage of the Internet’s unprecedented wealth of science, knowledge and culture.

Examples of websites offering Creative Commons licenced images:

Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig expains Creative Commons licensing

Image source: Photos Public Domain

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Good practice tips for professional social media profiles


For many our first experience of social media has been Facebook. There are also a number of us who will also have engaged with the likes of Friends Reunited, Friendster or Myspace. Typically we have used these spaces to connect with friends and family and to share snippets of information about our lives and shared interests. The ability to edit security settings means that we can choose to share these snapshots of our social life with the people we want to. Some people are happy to leave their profiles open to the public. The decision should be based on what what you are sharing, but consideration should also be given to those you are connected with. My personal take has always been to keep my settings updated so that the conversations I have are with my immediate friends.

Professional networking

Social media can also be used in a professional context. This for me is where I see the benefits of sharing openly. Using LinkedIn and Twitter I have been able to develop valuable professional networks, connecting with other professionals across the globe. Within these spaces I am able to publicly share my blog posts, conference presentations (using Slideshare) and papers/book chapters I have written. Others are able to see the work I engage in and connect with me. Equally I am able to reach out to others who are also sharing interesting work. This has opened many opportunities for collaborative projects to develop and invitations to speak at other universities.

Unless you choose to make your professional social media identity private (and then you might want to question why) your profiles are public and provide the opportunity for others to find you based on shared interests and connections. In order to maximise the potential of building useful professional networks it is important to consider how others will perceive the information they see. A simple Google search for skills or indeed your name, can bring up your public professional profiles. Decisions to make new connections are often based on the information available in a person’s bio and verified by a recognised photo. If you have not completed the bio and have no profile photograph it makes it harder for people to know if the profile they are looking at is yours or someone else’s who shares the same name.


Tips for your professional profiles

Complete a bio

Within your bio you have the opportunity to share your key interests, where you work, a link to your website, blog or even your LinkedIn profile. Think about what would be useful for others to know about you and would this help them to make the decision to connect with you.

Add a photo

It is known that people are more trusting if they can see a photo – the person behind the profile. Leaving the default avatar not only looks unprofessional but it is also unhelpful. As already mentioned it allows the viewer to verify who you are. Using the same photo across multiple social media platforms can also help this.

default avatars





The content you add will of course depend on the platform. For LinkedIn there is the opportunity to share more information. As the current go to professional networking site, it stands to reason that here you will want to  make a good impression. In order to do so, it is vital you complete your whole profile and periodically review this to ensure it is kept up to date. Adding the skills you have allows others to find you when search is used to locate individuals with those skills. Connections can endorse those skills and provide you with recommendations. This allows other to see that your claims are substantiated.


How regularly you share information through status updates, posts and tweets is an individual choice and to some extent depends on the platform. Personally I may only post to LinkedIn 1-2 items every few days, however on Twitter I will share information on a daily basis. This is predominantly interesting things I have read that I feel will be useful to the network of connections I have made in this space. I will also retweet useful content others have shared. The ripple effect this creates means that there is rich source of content being shared which is of benefit to anyone sharing similar interests.


Public domain image source: Pixabay

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