Web Tools: A Process Perspective

Steve Wheeler’s list of his top 10 Web tools generated a typically popular response on his blog today, with others sharing what they are using and why. I raise the point that whilst these tools are highly effective for a range of purposes, we should not necessarily treat them as discrete technologies. In adopting a holistic view to studying the social web, I’m particularly interested in the type of emergent processes that students are developing in using these tools collectively.

I go on to comment:

“For example, writing a blog post such as this one is not an isolated activity. What are the motivations for writing it and how might they involve other social media? Attending a webinar perhaps, or reading an online journal article? Or is it in response to another blog post? And was that sourced from Twitter, or from a regularly subscribed blog via a RSS feedreader? What external resources might the post link to, or does it embed content from other sites? What happens after the blog is posted? Is it promoted on Twitter or Facebook? Does anyone leave a comment, or bookmark it? Well, you get the general idea…”

Tools come and go. Whist certain tools become culturally embedded and synonymous with specific activities, or we appropriate certain sites with specific communities, it’s the combined processes of – as Steve rightly says – connection, sharing and amplification that makes social media so powerful. Identifying these processes enables us to develop good practices, but how transferable are these as new tools emerge?


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