Mastering Peanutbutter in Free Clicks and a Shake

September 26, 2010

Taking a class on social media tools in my first semester in an instructional design program has been interesting. The focus is on what tools are available, how to use them, and how they help with learning.

So far we’ve set up blogs (this one on, microblogs (Twitter), mapping tools (I used Gliffy), RSS feeds (Google Reader), wikis (PBWorks), iTunes channels, and social bookmarking (Diigo). Before the semester is over, we’ll also set up photo streams (Flickr) and social platforms (Netvibes).

Among each of these tools, I’ve noticed a few common functions.

1. Tools Help You Gather Info

Many of these tools make searching the Internet easier. Typing “peanutbutter” into Google search (circa 1994) is a lot less effective than being more specific and setting up the right tools ahead of time so the best information automatically comes to you. And not only that, you soon see who is as obsessed with peanutbutter as you are and who’s just into peanutbutter fluff. This plays into number three below.

2. Tools Help You Catolog Info

Once you start getting loaded up with amazing facts, many of these same tools enable you to work them into your pre-existing knowledge visually and for keeps. I’m enjoying the flexibility of this blog the most. Once I get the hang of it, I may add post-it note functionality. Keeping track of the various disparate aggregating/sharing tools gets onerous without a unifying tool. There are too many options and it’s not clear which tools will stay popular, flexible, and innovative enough to accommodate the whims of the masses.

3. Tools Help You Share Your Thoughts and Thought Processes

Instead of going to a bar and talking nonstop to anyone who will listen about all the social, economic, political and spirtual facets of peanutbutter, you can easily identify who will actually care and then share your thoughts and thought processes with a click or two. You may miss the beer buzz, but it’s less pathetic. Besides, your knowledge plus their knowledge equals quite a lot of legumes.

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