By Kevin Morse, ADEA Director of Online Services
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Google + are great tools for receiving and sharing dental education news and information. Both ADEA staff and ADEA members are active on these services, and terms such as “tweeting,” “friending,” and “Web 2.0” are becoming commonplace. Below is a more information about each social network’s unique strengths, and how ADEA is using these venues to enhance communications.
By now you’ve no doubt heard stories about celebrity feuds and politician scandals on Twitter, but there is also a serious side to the 140-character microblogging service. Its use to support teaching and learning, by ADEA members and others, is growing. It can be used to power discussions of all kinds, from classroom participation to study groups to sharing multimedia learning aids and more. ADEA also makes daily updates about news and events and shares select examples of our myriad resources. You can join more than 600 others in following us at www.twitter.com/adeaweb.
The world’s largest social network—the brainchild of a dentist’s son—is more than a way to keep track of old friends. Many of ADEA Institutional Members keep their students and alumni informed about campus events and their mission of providing oral health care. ADEA shares this information on its Facebook page along with articles of interest from academic dentistry as a whole. To see what the more than 1,500 fans of the ADEA Facebook page are reading, “like” us at www.adea.org/facebook.
LinkedIn is a service designed for professional interaction. Members search for jobs, network with peers in their field, and connect with old colleagues and classmates. LinkedIn users also coalesce into professional and interest area groups to share practice information and items of professional interest. Search for “American Dental Education Association” on LinkedIn to connect with the more than 1,100 members of our ADEA group.
Google’s latest offering in the social networking space already has caused quite a stir. Still technically in beta testing, Google + has exceeded 20 million users (by some estimates) since its launch in late June 2011. The key feature is its interface for managing groups of contacts through the simple-to-use “circles” feature. Topic areas, study groups, faculty colleagues—any kind of grouping you can imagine is easily created and populated through a simple check-box interface. Shared items then appear only to members of that circle, with recipients who are not Google + members receiving an email. Google also supports simple newsfeeds or “sparks,” which are powered by Google’s search. Although Google is playing future developments fairly close to the vest, some form of integration with other Google offerings such as YouTube, Picasa, and Google Docs is expected. ADEA will watch closely to see how we can use these features to engage with the world of academic dentistry.
Published in September 2011.