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I know technology is fun (at least for me).

But many people ask, “Is it worth it?”  And this question needs to be answered.  My posts focus on the use of technology in work (education specifically for me) assuming that it is positive.  So I’ll try to answer the question more specifically.

Learn-to-manage-your-time-online-300x300Let me step back in time . . .

After the novelty of some technology wears off, people begin to step back and examine what is really going on – beyond the promised given when it was first introduced.  For example, TV was rather novel at one time. Much later people began to wonder if it was simply a waste of time. We can get a great deal of helpful, valuable information from TV – and we can waste a lot of time (no need for examples here to clarify; I’m sure you can come up with a long list yourself). So it is not the technology itself, but its use.  It is not the thing itself so much as the time we spend with the “thing.”  So is it worth the time?

Let me step back to our present question . . .

Many ask this question concerning social media, “Is it worth it?”

[NOTE: I know social media is more ‘software’ than ‘technology’ but we have to use technology to be involved in social media, and part of technology use in my thinking surrounds the applications that allow us to utilize the technology well.  Anyway, it ties into my overall theme for the blog, so just stick with me here.]

If you want help in how to be more productive with social media you can read several articles (for example: “7 Ways to be More Productive on Social Media;” “7 Ways Social Media can Make you More Productive;” or “How to be More Productive on Social Media” if you don’t want the numbers). More to my point is that when I answer the question I would like to do more than say, “I’m following the guidelines for being productive and not wasting time.”

I came across an article in Learning Solutions Magazine written by Jane Bozarth Jane Bozarth in October 2012 called “Nuts and Bolts: Assessing the Value of Online Interaction.”  In the article, Bozarth gives an example of her use of Twitter specifically that was quite beneficial. It is not novel or unique; this process is being used quite often now in many of the social media – finding out information that you need by asking on social media. To help show the value of this process, or this online interaction, she refers to an report that provides a framework for assessing this value:

Wenger, E., Trayner, B., and de Laat, M. (2011) Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework. Rapport 18, Ruud de Moor Centrum, Open University of the Netherlands

 But beyond this I recommend reading Bozarth’s article to see Figure 1 showing the model and progression of value:

Immediate Value -> Potential Value -> Applied Value  -> Realized Value  -> Reframing Value

Each phase has steps we may or may not take, but if we do, then the value of the interaction (the value of the social media, the value of the technology) increases and is beneficial to more and more.

My time? My Value? My Answer?

SO . . . I came across this article that spurred my thinking because I use technology – I follow Bozarth on Twitter (@JaneBozarth) and others.  I spend my time using some of the social media to find helpful, valuable information (like we can with TV and with …) that relates to my interests and needs.  Its inspiration built the potential value for me; its reuse here (and elsewhere in my work) will build the applied value for me and my students and my colleagues; and this will continue into realized value as we aim for a reframing of “technology” and its use.

It is not what it IS – it is WHAT YOU DO WITH IT.  That can be a valuable use of time.

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