After tweeting yesterday's post, The (new) role of the Workplace Learning Advisor, I was asked the question, "How do you keep up to date with new trends, technologies and tools?". And my (tweeted) response was
Q just in. How do I keep up to date with with what’s new in trends/tech/tools? Easy! By being a resident on the (social) web. — Jane Hart (C4LPT) (@C4LPT) January 29, 2014
I first read about the concept of web residents and web visitors in a First Monday article back in 2011, Visitors and Resident: A new typology for online engagement - which proposed "a continuum of ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ as a replacement for Prensky’s much-criticised Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants" The authors, David White and Alison Cornu, explain the difference as follows Web visitors
"We propose that Visitors understand the Web as akin to an untidy garden tool shed. They have defined a goal or task and go into the shed to select an appropriate tool which they use to attain their goal. Task over, the tool is returned to the shed."
"Residents, on the other hand, see the Web as a place, perhaps like a park or a building in which there are clusters of friends and colleagues whom they can approach and with whom they can share information about their life and work. A proportion of their lives is actually lived out online where the distinction between online and off–line is increasingly blurred."
So, for me, being a Web resident is the ONLY way to keep up to date - by being immersed in what's happening there, by reading about it and talking about it with connections from around the world in my professional network (aka PLN).
Here is where I find out about all the new (frequently free or low cost) tools that NEVER appear on exhibition stands, as well as hear about the amazing (new) work of colleagues around the work that RARELY gets air-time at conferences. Being a resident of the Social Web and keeping up to date is an integral part of my work.
I have already shared how I use my own tools as part of my daily PKM routine, which is now second nature time. But essentially, the invaluable knowledge and experience that is freely and willingly shared on the Social Web helps me to do my own job well. In fact I could no longer do it effectively without being a resident of the Social Web.