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Learning and the E-Generation by Lee Farrington-Flint, Jean D. M. Underwood

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Chapter Six Social Networking as an Educational Tool

Introduction

We have already established that participation in contemporary society is increasingly reliant on digital technologies. This is a trend that shows no sign of abating and it is the communication function of these technologies that is driving this trend. The Ofcom survey of 2012 shows that, in the United Kingdom, young people spend on average 17.1 hours per week engaged in online activity. A large proportion of this time is spent developing their social relationships and online identity through social networking sites (Livingstone, 2008; Manago, Taylor, & Greenfield, 2012). Social networking has arisen from our transition to more collaborative digital forms of technology. The early Internet often thought of as Web 1.0 technology, was used primarily for static information: material to be downloaded or delivered to the Internet user. Web 2.0 is more participatory and interactive and this has seen an increase in our use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) allowing interchanges to occur through the use of two or more networked computers. From its beginnings in email, bulletin boards and list servers, CMC technology has increased in complexity and diversity to cover a broad spectrum of applications such as social networking sites (SNSs), e-communities, collaborative authoring, information sharing and multiplayer games. As Borland (2007, p. 1) clearly acknowledges:

Web 1.0 refers to the first generation of ...

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