My Introduction to Social Media

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle

I started using social media around 2008 when I received a message from my son-in-law to join. It was not my first invitation to Facebook; I had received two the previous year and resisted doing so. I eventually registered with Facebook with an email address and a password that I knew I could remember. I learn a couple of things to get started including uploading my profile pictures, how to add images, how to add other informational material, as well as how to respond to Facebook status question; what are you thinking about. I also learn that day, how to add friends and how to request friends.

It did not take me long to know how to create my own group and realizing that Facebook groups were designed along the same premise as online learning environments as those I became knowledgeable in during my doctoral studies at the Ontario Institute For Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. There I had the opportunity to participate in and study the teaching and learning implications of this type of environments. Some of the online environments that I was preview to, included Computer Mediated Conferencing (CMC), Computer-Distributed Learning Environment, (CSILE) Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environments, (WKF) WebKnowledge Forum, e-mail and others.

What amazed me was the number of groups that were formed on Facebook and what was of particular interest to me, was that they were created by women  - - women were leaders, socializing and participating. They were sharing their views and giving voice to their thoughts and ideas. These group leaders were woman from across the globe. While some of these groups leaders were focused, some did not have a true sense of what business they wanted to share or develop. Many of them were primarily hobbist-focused, and you could readily see that they were toying with one concept after the other concept in search of what to do. Yes, some did make some remarkable turn-a-round and eventually focused on a concept that seems to be working now.

In conducting an evaluation of Facebook, I don't remember seeing a group that was dedicated to women entrepreneurship, as I perceived (a woman entrepreneur). In 2005 and 2007, I was convinced that some women in business had a problem perceiving themselves as "entrepreneurs", particularly,  "professional business women". I hosted a seminar entitled Women Entrepreneurship and Computer Technology, and although I was broadly marketed through newspaper editorial and television, the overall attendance could have been better.

The Professional Business Woman saw herself as a "business woman" and not as an entrepreneur. An "entrepreneur" was perceived as someone who was engaged in an "entrepreneurial activity" or a "very micro activity" or what I often refer to a "mini business activity". To bridge this gap, I felt that if I redefine the meaning of the word "entrepreneur", I coined the word "Women in Business" meaning all women "with a business" regardless of education, social class, economic status, type of business, and size, belong to one umbrella classification.

The group that I created and designed is called Women in Business. My interest was in facilitating the empowerment of women entrepreneurship, and at the same time creating a niche that will meet the needs of my personal interest; provides me with an opportunity to do research and pursue some of my creative ideas, and for the development of my consultancy business Cottle's Professional Consulting. Today Women in Business is a very large group with over 8000+ members. It is designed for women primarily although we have some males a part of the membership.

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