The affordances of ‘new’ technology and social media

infographicThis latest cartoon from the talented Wrong Hands made me both smile and reflect on the many changes of how new technology has replaced older technology, devices and other things.

Just this week I was asked if I had photos of my recent 103 km trek across the Sahara Desert. My reply was “Yes, they are on Flickr“.  I received an email from O2 for our latest bill for the landline telephone we rarely use. I read news via websites. LinkedIn is my ‘rolodex’ and list of connections complete with photos. If I want a business telephone number I google the company but then get agitated at the length of time the automated messages take so turn to Twitter or email if I have a query. Searching for my CV I realise my most current version is saved on a floppy disc and my PC no longer has the holder to read one. I keep VHS tapes mostly for nostalgia but have replaced many favourites with DVDs. Sat nav and google maps have replaced the big bulky maps we used to have in the car. Spell check can trip us up but is so handy when writing online. Shopping in general, but especially books is done via Amazon, Ebay and other online stores. My encyclopaedias are treasured but in some sections outdated, so Google and Google Scholar have taken their place.

What has remained constant is my daily use of my wristwatch despite having a clock on my  phone, PC and laptop. I prefer a key to the swipe cards you now get in hotels. Taking notes is handy on my phone or iPad, but I still prefer to make them using a notepad and pencil.

What I would question in this A-Z is the use of Q for quality. The Internet has opened the doors to so many wonderful opportunities to learn. Granted there is some filtering to do so it is therefore important to teach the skills to do this. Today we are able to connect, communicate, collaborate, curate and create with others across the globe. The use of social media and accessible tools allow us through tools such as WordPress to create blogs to share information, stories, how to guides and much more. Tools like YouTube and Audioboo opportunities to capture and share video and audio. Social networking tools such Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give us the means to connect and engage in dialogues. I for one find immense quality in the affordances technology and social media have brought me.

What do you think?

Image source:

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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