Part of my current MA studies involves working on a collaborative instructional design project with students from universities in Paris and Florida. While I quite enjoy working as part of a team, when deciding on which online collaborative tools we would use I found myself mentally retreating from using social networks.
I recommended Google Drive and the accompanying Google Sheets and Google Docs from the outset. I’ve had previous experience using these tools to coordinate elements such as CD recording scripts and illustration lists. However, for general communication most of the group chose Facebook. I tend to like to keep tools within the same software environment, but understood that having a separate area more suited to regular communication would be useful.
I tend to avoid using Facebook for the most part. While I do have an account, I don’t use it very often and view it more as a necessary evil because so much content, functionality and authentication is channelled through it. My lack of experience with Facebook was compounded by much of the group discussion moving from the group’s Facebook page to a Facebook messenger group instead, where I missed out on much of the topic selection discussion. To further drive home the point that, despite considering myself to be generally tech savvy I am inexperienced with social networking technologies, the resulting poll on topic selection could only be accessed on the Facebook messenger app rather than on the Facebook website. This feels like a fairly large oversight by Facebook as adaptive design should not be so exclusionary. One would imagine that platform agnosticism should be a key factor in modern web design, especially for a social network as ubiquitous as Facebook. Even though I have only just turned 30, I can’t ignore the feeling that keeping on top of social networking technologies is becoming a struggle. I’ll happily work my way around the Adobe suite and many other functional applications, but quickly become lost in discussions of Snapchat, Instagram and other apps I have little to no contact with.
However, I don’t seem to be alone in my disengagement from social media confluence. My usability study on the Cambridge Online Dictionary revealed that many of the participants did not want to use their Google or Facebook accounts to register on the site and had no separate sign in option available. This seems to run very much against the trend shown in 2016 Q2 research by LoginRadius, a ‘Customer Identity and Access Management (cIAM) platform’ which collected information from logins across 160,000 different websites.
While this graph runs contrary to my participants preferring an email registration option, it was a much smaller sample size and all based on language students in Cambridge, UK.
While I fall into the 25–35 bracket in this instance I feel that my login activities may be high but my sharing would be quite low.
I certainly don’t mind using my Google account to log in to trusted sites such as my Oxford Dictionary subscription access, but I am much wary of using Facebook as even though Google likely has more of my personal information, Facebook feels like it is more personal access. Similarly, I am a heavy Twitter user but feel like I have much more control over that environment. I can set who I follow and customise my twitter feeds between my various interests in a non-algorithmically manipulated chronological order.
So, it seems that I need to be self-aware of my own lack of interest in the truly social aspects of social media. Social media familiarity will certainly help to inform future E-learning development. The next time I get frustrated by jumping from platform to platform and desktop to app I will need to view it as a learning opportunity and not a frustration!