Social networking in Asia has increased dramatically over the last few years. In India, for example, as of June 2013, there were 82 million subscribers to Facebook with 62 million accessing through their mobile phones. In Indonesia, as of the end of 2012, there were over 51 million subscribers, Japan 17 million and Korea over 10 million. These are astounding figures, aren’t they?

How to capitalise on social media for your learners in Asia today?

Furthermore, it’s not just social networking platforms, such as Facebook that are dominating the market. There has also been a significant increase in Asian social media platforms that originally started out as messaging apps but have since grown dramatically to incorporate other social networking tools. These include WeChat, KakaoTalk and Line. Other social networking platforms often cited include www.qq.com, Cyworld (a South Korea social networking service) and Japan’s Mixi. Just looking at the subscriber numbers of some of these sites (many that Western readers have never heard of),– puts into context the growth in social networking in Asia and their potential as powerful tools for business.

What kind of social media tools are available for organisations?

Collaborative tools from the Web 2.0:

A web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other and promotes participation instead of passive viewing of content. From wikis to social networks, from blogs to podcasts, presentation and video integration tools, these all enable people share their perspectives, opinions, thoughts and experiences. They also allow for the sharing of useful content for readers through blogs on WordPress/Blogger, podcasts, RSS feeds and social media networks like Twitter, etc.

Corporate social media:

Today an increasing number of organisations, across many industries, have adopted social media in the work place to share, build and cooperate. You can use these social networking and micro-blogging sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to promote learning within and outside the organisation. You may even use an enterprise social network like Chatter which many companies, such as Dell Asia, are using to share information.

So what impact has this growth in social networking had on learning in Asia?

Whereas traditionally many Asian companies tended to focus on learning in the classroom, technology has helped change this,ushering in an era of more informal learning. Social networks, for example, have already started to have a major role in the workplace through enterprise systems, such as Salesforce Chatter and Yammer. In addition, social networking based learning tools are now entering the market such as from Wiztango.

What is clear, however, is that there is much more to come.While social tools are being used predominantly as social tools in countries, such as China, current trends indicate that these tools are now evolving into the workplace learning environment as well – not as separate work/play entities but rather as an extension of how they were used previously. This is perhaps a reflection of the growing integration of all elements of our daily lives.

With companies continuing to globalise, an increase in cross-cultural teams and the need for remote working, we are seeing a dramatic shift in technologies from social to education and learning ends.

If your organisation is already riding on the social media bandwagon what kind of social media or web 2.0 tools have you incorporated for your learners as a part of your learning strategy?

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