Social Media (and Donuts) Explained

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It is hard to keep up with the many types of social media. This picture from Geek.Com (click for larger view) summarizes some of the differences nicely by using a donut analogy (apparently created by a lover of Dunkin Donuts, rather than Krispy Kreme Doughnuts). I don’t fully understand all of the references, but “[t]he breakdown is the clearest I have yet seen of how something like Twitter differs from Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter is for telling people what you are doing at any given moment (eating a donut), Facebook is more for sharing what you like in general (I like donuts), and LinkedIn is for sharing what you’re good at (skilled with donuts). Yet all rely on the sharing of information in different ways to remain relevant and keep people using them.”

I hope this clarifies things as you think about the School’s new social media policy and whether you want to get involved.

On the subject of donuts, there is a new entry in the Triangle’s mobile food business. It is Monuts, which is a food tricycle that specializes in “fresh, handcrafted donuts . . . in unique flavor combinations that bring together the best in seasonal and local ingredients.” It was created by a recent UNC graduate who decided it was better to say that she owned her own business than that she was unemployed. I’ve not tried them yet, but I can’t wait. The owner graduated with a masters degree in public health, so they must be good for you.

Red Velvet Monut



4 thoughts on “Social Media (and Donuts) Explained

  1. Thanks for this interesting posting – I really like the “doughnut analogy”. It made me think of the saying “Keep your eye on the doughnut, not the hole”, which perfectly summarizes my attitude towards social media.

    Here’s the doughnut part: Whereas social networking traditionally took place during conference breaks, in the office’s kitchenette or at the water dispenser, nowadays more and more contacts are established and maintained online – with the help of social media. People who are part of the informal social network provide resources or further contacts, and reciprocal advantages emerge among the networkers – such as passing on strategic information and mentoring network members in their professional development. Recently, educational technology specialists started to focus on “personal learning networks / environments”, thinking less about the university’s learning infrastructure and more about orchestrating the learner’s use of social media. From an instructional design perspective, social media open up exciting possibilities for informal learning and allows to include game-like features in formal learning events. A current example are “badges” which people can collect for completing learning quests – I recently experienced this at the TCC online conference:

    At the same time, I feel it is important to be aware of the hole.
    Yesterday’s edition of the New York Times featured a great article by MIT scholar Sherry Turkle, who has been researching the influence of personal computers and Internet technology on our minds and culture for over two decades. The article is entitled “The Flight From Conversation” and critically discusses our immersion into an always connected, yet never fully there mode of communication.

    Social media can be social without being sociable. However, looking at the mouthwatering picture of the red velvet Monut, it simply feels wrong to be too obsessed by the hole in the middle!

  2. I liked the G+

    Though I often think that these types of things don’t “get” twitter. Its not so much what you are doing, but commentary that is of the moment.

    A better example might be “Had Monuts for the first time. Good, but I think I still prefer Dunkin”

    1. Good example, Karl. The least interesting tweets are ones that are purely descriptive or ones like “Good morning Tweeps.” My guess is that people value Twitter for different things, however. If you think following a celebrity is worthwhile, maybe anything they do is interesting to you. Ashely Judd wrote something for Huffington Post about society’s preoccupation with superficial appearances and how negatively that affects women. She then followed it with a series of tweets that included commentary on her article and her own further thinking about the issue. I like the commentary too, but one reason Twitter is phenomenally successful is because it lets people use it in so many different ways.

  3. These comments reminds me of a conversation I had with my former boss in DC after I had left for a dotoral program. He asked, “Arn’t you going crazy not knowing what is going on here, the back and forth (speaking of federal budget policy debate).” My reply, “I know all the arguments already. Now all I need to know is covered in the New York Times. I don’t feel like I need to take the time to follow all the minutiae.” It was freeing to realize that my knowing who said what when didn’t matter to my overall understanding of what was going. That is my fear with Twitter – not that tweets are not interesting – but what are you *not* doing in order to keep up with the tweets? Do you really need to know this stuff? I agree the view that the texts and tweets are eating away at real conversation.

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