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You have probably heard the saying “there is a reason why we were given 2 ears but only 1 mouth.”

We know how important listening is offline, but how important is it to do online, especially in social media sites like Twitter? If you get 100 social media experts in a room debating the definition of social media, the word conversation will come up a number of times.

Listen before you speak online

I found Ofcom’s research on the ways in which families are watching more TV together very positive news.

Given the number of TVs in many households, no one would be excused for thinking that everyone must be watching their own TV.

Big screens, high-definition television might be helping to reinvent the living room as a place where the family comes together to share some common purpose. But as their research notes, things are not exactly the same as the 1950s with viewers armed with laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers. What are they doing?

Twitter engages and empowers viewers

Warnings that the internet could be a “source of global panic” should be treated with great caution.

At times it can appear that the internet is a place where rumours and misinformation prosper. Equally, the net is somewhere where debate, comment and consensus reign.

I make the point because of a story in this week’s Guardian where Larry Elliott wrote a useful summary of issues arising from a World Economic Forum report.

Rumours may prosper but the truth finds a way
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There's been a significant increase in the amount of time children spend online, according to Ofcom's latest report on children's media habits. 

This does not surprise me but there seems to be a growing concern that all this new technology is “dumbing down” our children. Very rarely do we get to read about the great opportunity studies like this provides our next-generation on what is possible.

GCSE study

The results speak for themselves

As Ofcom's Advisory Committee for England begins to think about understanding the diversity of cities, it is interesting to see the degree that tweets can provide a perspective on the diversity of language communities. Here is an article about mapping the language communities of London, based on tweets from Fast Company - As the work points out, it is highly biased toward the English language, given the user community of Twitter.

The diverse language communities of London
Aung San Suu Kyi

There is a growing set of negative news stories focused on some of the business strategies of major Internet companies, such as those that threaten the privacy of personal data. It is important that the general public does not lump some questionable practices of the owners of major Internet companies with the Internet as a whole. For example, two news stories in the weekend papers illustrate the potential of social media to empower individuals.

Problems with social media pale in compaison to the benefits
Social media surgery

I heard a wonderful presentation by a masters student, Amy Mcleod, about a Social Media Surgery in Birmingham, which was one of, if not the first, in Britain.

Got an idea? There are people who can help.
Blog man

Here is a third and final note stimulated by the conference I attended in Phoenix, Arizona, put on by the International Communication Association (ICA).

Local media is longer controlled by the few
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Alison Preston from the consumer research team presented findings from Ofcom’s Media Literacy Audit at a workshop on 24 April, where she compared findings with results of the Oxford Internet Surveys. Ofcom’s work highlighted continuing growth in use of the Internet. While its diffusion is still incremental, the use by those who have the Internet is expanding.

Social networking drives growing internet usage
Hyperlocal media

I contribute to a blog about news and views from my road. I also use the Internet to find out about local events, schools, services, and to get directions and even find out where I am through maps available online, as well as where my friend is, so we can meet in town. These are examples of ‘hyperlocal’ media focused on small geographic areas that define communities.

Hyperlocal media thrives on the net!
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