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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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3.2 Using social media

Communication is one of the most important digital skills. In everyday life it can include:

  • keeping in touch using email, instant messaging, video calls and social media
  • posting on forums to connect with communities
  • communicating with organisations about their products and services.

‘Creating’ is about using something digital that you have made, to express yourself or communicate with others. It could be words (for example, a text document) or media (for example, images and videos).

Image of words that define social networking
Figure 2 Visual definition of social networking

Social media is an important tool for communicating and creating (and sharing what you have created), and will be the focus of the next activity. If you are new to the world of social networking, you might wonder why you should get involved with it. The following activity gives you a chance to explore some of the benefits.

Activity 4 Social networking: what’s in it for me?

Timing: 15 minutes

Listen to Michael and Katie describe the social networks they use, and how these help them in different areas of their lives.

As you listen, note down whether any of the sites used by Michael and Katie would be useful to you, and what you might use them for.

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Michael and Katie use a range of different networking sites for different purposes. Some of the main benefits of social networking identified by Michael and Katie include:

  • keeping in touch with friends and family
  • getting back in touch with people you have lost contact with
  • promoting events
  • sharing information, such as music or professional publications
  • establishing and maintaining contacts with other people in your line of work
  • keeping up to date at work or with hobbies and interests.

You might have thought of additional benefits relevant to your own life.

You may have identified a number of ways in which social networks could be useful to you. The audio mentioned using Facebook. The Open University has many Facebook pages, some set up by official departments of the University, and some informally, by students. These are both a source of interesting news and a way of giving and receiving support. For students, Facebook communities can be a valuable way of connecting with fellow learners.

An example of a well-used official page is the Open University Library Facebook page [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Later this week you will have the opportunity to use it. For now, you may like to visit it and have a quick look at what’s on it.