IT IS TIME TO SHINE MORE LIGHT ON THE POTENTIAL OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Click HERE for my H818 Online Conference poster.
Link to project website.
H818 Online Conference abstract:
Environmental activism is beginning to receive the attention it deserves as a result of the appearance of charismatic figures such as Greta Thunberg coinciding with ever more obvious warning signs of Global Change. Rob Greenfield has dedicated much of his adult life to making a difference. Since he set up his Facebook page in early 2013 he has become increasingly influential in the zero waste living movement. (Schmitt, 2019)
Greenfield’s work focuses on how humans can produce their own food freely without producing waste other than the degradable leftovers of the foodstuff itself. The solutions he and the online community he has created have come up with have wide-reaching implications not just for us living in industrialized societies, but also for communities dependent on subsistence farming.
This project aims to:
- investigate whether Greenfield’s Facebook page constitutes a community of practice (CoP). (According to Wenger-Trayner (2020) a CoP is a community where members are brought together by a learning need they share, their collective learning becomes a bond among them over time and their interactions produce resources that affect their practice.)
- identify good practice*
- and potential areas for improvement.*
*within the context of an actual or potential CoP.
The project relies on the following sources:
- asynchronous interactions on Greenfield´s page
- Greenfield’s own personal account
- other followers’ personal accounts obtained through unconstructed interviews carried out on the Facebook platform asynchronously
- relevant literature such as Wenger’s research on CoP
This project is a precursor for a larger scale research project culminating in the development of a framework of good practice for social media (e.g. Facebook) based CoP. According to Akhavan et al. (2015) CoP ‘absorb information and transform it into knowledge by blending this knowledge with experiences, values and internal rules to obtain a basis for their actions’, thus merging explicit and implicit knowledge. ‘CoP have the potential to transform modern education entirely, innovating a new era where terms such as lecturing, memorizing, reciting, and even teaching might fade into pre-21st century history’ (Baan, 2019).
Akhavan, P., Marzieh, B., Mirjafari, M. (2015) Identifying the success factors of Communities of Practice (CoPs): How do they affect on students to create knowledge? [Online], VINE (ISSN: 0305-5728), Available at https://www-emerald-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/insight/content/doi/10.1108/VINE-03-2014-0022/full/html(Accessed 03/01/2020).
Baan, M. (2019), TMA01, submitted to the Open University as part of H818 assessment.
Schmitt, K. A. (2019) ‘This man will eat only what he can grow or forage – here is why’, National Geographic, March 15 [Online]. Available at https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/03/rob-greenfield-of-orlando-florida-eats-only-what-he-grows-forages/ (Accessed 8 January 2020).
Wenger-Trayner (2020) What is a community of practice? [Online]. Available at https://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/ (Accessed 03/01/2020).