Voxer is a neat App for smartphones: a walkie talkie function that lets you hold a ‘button‘ and record a message that is shared, immediately, with another person or group. You can share photos, with location tags, or text messages in the same way. If i’m working with a group, around the world, we can just set up a ‘chat‘ and share quick bites of information on the fly. You can view each of the sound bites, in a linear track (like your text messages) and replay any or all of them. It’s truly social technology and, for me, exemplifies where social tech can facilitate social learning.
Within social learning, meaning is co-created by the group, whilst they are in the real world, and what better way to do this than through a synchronous channel that lets you share immediate soundbites, pictures and text, where the technology is social, effortless and the benefits immediate? Performance support, helping me to do my job better out in the real world, is greatly enhanced through this type of functionality. Sure, you might say that you can already do this through phoning, emailing or texting people, and, to a degree, that’s right. The difference with Voxer is that the mindset is right: the mindset for mobile.
My answerphone takes messages, but the visual layout of Voxer, the linear pathway of messages, makes it much more conversational. And because of it’s synchronous nature, the messages tend to be shorter, four, five, six seconds, much like the bursts of conversation we are used to.
Increasingly, we are seeing the emergence of social technology that facilitates social learning by being developed with a mobile mindset: take ScoopIt, the curation software that lets you gather articles in one place, add your layer of commentary, and then share it on. Your own magazine site. The functionality is seamless: i don’t have to think about using it, i just have to think about my own knowledge management strategy, what do i want to say to add value to what i’m curating. Both of these technologies let me interact with my social groups easily, they both let me share information and add commentary to it, and they both let a dialogue take place around it, all core components of social learning.
Put them together and you can see a progression from conversation to curation, a circle of social learning that lets us create meaning and share it back out into the community.
I believe that this type of approach, agile tech to support agile learning, is the future, far more so than big, dinosaur, legacy systems and approaches that tried to do everything. It’s about the mindset: creating, sharing, learning, with everything focussed on how we create meaning and what we do with it, out in the real world, not focussed on passwords, disclaimers, asynchronous messaging and single channel communication.
In the Social Age, it’s about the conversations.