Web 2.0, social networking or social media are some of the terms used to refer to user-controlled online communication.Note well: this is almost the direct opposite of traditional websites! Website content is created by editors, and the information is one-directional, whereas social media implies relinquishing control. On the other hand, you also risk meeting people, and you give them opportunities to contribute ideas, comments and feedback. It is a new way of communicating - and an exciting one at that!
This spring, Søren Lerche is teaching a group of students aged 19 - 24 at Grundtvigs Højskole, a Danish folk high school, instructing them in the subject Social Media and Society. Read about him and his view of social media from a democratic perspective. The Swedish article asks Ingemar Svensson, researcher and practitioner of non-formal adult education, whether non-formal adult education in its traditional sense of popular enlightenment has become extinct now that answers to most questions can be found through Google. Svensson disagrees, preferring the view that liberal adult education must become aware of the opportunities of the internet.
A growing number of people and institutions are beginning to see the opportunities provided by social media. The Finnish article introduces Opistosta Käsin, an arts and crafts blog designed to inspire all who want to learn, develop their skills and find a suitable course. In a similar vein, a Faroese Facebook group of 735 members exchanges recipes, experiences and useful tips. The article from the Åland islands describes how the local Chamber of Commerce uses social media to reach out to young people an recruit participants to its courses and events. In Iceland, Marta Helgadòttir has maintained a book club in connection with her blog for almost three years.
If we look at the bigger picture, is it true that people in the field of non-formal adult education are active users of social media? In a survey made by the NORDINFO group last winter, 70% of respondents answered yes to this question. Read more about the survey in the Norwegian article. Perhaps there should be a DialogWeb blog where you could leave your comments? But DW has not quite reached that stage yet. However, social media are developing at a mind-blowing speed - within our sector, too. So maybe later? Or perhaps the development is not going to be as fast as we think in the future? Estonians have little faith in the implementation of e-democracy in the near future. What do you think?
Despite the traditional form - no possibility for comments - we hope that you will enjoy the articles in this issue of DialogWeb. Happy reading!