Old Skool – I should note my first “word processor” was a Brother that would store four lines of text and display them on a tiny LCD screen above the keyboard. I went from that to IBM PC with MS – DOS. In the mid 1980’s, those of us who had kids latched on to the Commodore 64. In the mid 1990s, I moved into the Mac World and I stayed. Today I have an iMac, MacBook, iPad and iPhone.
1980s Commodore 64
I use social media to connect with family, friends, clients and colleagues. The creative use of web tools enhances volunteerism, community development and also supports adult education programs, training and communications with clients.
Mostly I use social media to develop the Creative Age Network, a community of learning and practice for adults 50+.
The local Creative Age Network is basically me and a gang of colleagues, volunteers and professional associates who collaborate to get stuff done. We mobilize as a loosely structured group when there is a common goal or project, for example, to organize a festival or launch a needed community service. We also work individually and provide practical and/or moral support to each other. As a community of learning and practice, we use Facebook. Instagram, Twitter, Livestream, YouTube, email and texting to explore, organize, work, play, practice or just stay in touch.
It took me a long time to settle on the scope of my work. In the late 1970’s, I wanted to be involved in global or international issues. I organized United Nationals Association provincial youth conferences and joined the board of directors of the United Nations Association Canada. We hosted the UN’s 40th Anniversary Roundtable in Ottawa. We had to fly back and forth for monthly meetings and subject matter seminars. Given my responsibilities as a young single mom, it was just too much.. I pulled back from national and international activities to focus on municipal projects and more regional programs.
In the late 1980’s I was just starting to understand how computers might change my life and work. The fax machine started to make life much easier for those, like me, who were self employed and working from a home office. I believe we secured internet service around 1996 and things would start changing at a rapid pace.
Dialing Up to The Well
I was living in the country when I joined my first online group in 1998. The Well is one of the oldest virtual communities in continuous operation.The WELL was divided into general subject areas known as “conferences”. These conferences reflected member interests, and included arts, health, business, regions, hobbies, spirituality, music, politics, games, software and many more. Many journalists frequented the conferences and used the discussions and members’ ideas for articles.
Online Facilitation Course 2003
In the Well, I learned about Nancy White of Full Circle Associates and Mihaela Mousseau (now Michele Paradise) who were starting a training program for those who wanted to or needed to create, develop and maintain online communities. Michele and Nancy built on the foundational work of Lisa Kimball and began to articulate the practice of “doing stuff together online.” From Michele, we learned the concept of “warm electronic communication” and developed deeper insights into the effect of these practices on the experience. Computer mediated – yes, but human driven. Nancy White followed up with communications examining her “patterns” in social media usage and explained that her activities could be loosely grouped into the following areas. I found her groupings useful:
- Getting work done
- Finding and connecting with people
- Getting stuff (search, content, etc.)
- Exploring and pushing my own boundaries
Nancy exclaimed “My practices have been radically changed and shaped – yes, even transformed – by social software.”
Through Mar Ruiz, I got involved with Barcelona2004, UNESCOs Universal Forum of Cultures. We developed and implemented an Online Training Program for the facilitators of the online forums. The dialogues were translated to five different languages. It was a magical time. Our teams got to meet in person during the summer-long event that attracted 3.5 million visitors to Barcelona.
Today – I use social media to share family photos/info with family members, organize professional networking and training meetings – promote the programs or events of clients. Right now, we’re practicing a lot with Google video chats, livestream and 2 way video conferencing which can be nerve-wracking. But it’s fun and we’re always learning….