Anadolu University (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 2566-2575
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In recent years, developments in information and communication technologies have made the internet usage a natural part of everyday life. Especially with Web 2.0 revolution internet users found themselves in an interactive environment. People have come from a passive spectator position to active participant and have gained a virtual environment where they can create, share and interference the contents.

In the broadest sense, social media is defined as web sites that are founded on Web 2.0 technologies, also allows social interaction, formation of communities and collaboration (Akar, 2010:17). Web sites or applications that appreciated with active participation and the interaction among users can be defined as social media. A web site or application can be described as social media when it allows user-based content, individual users/members and provide interaction among users.
Compared to traditional media, social media promotes two-way communication among users. Also social media is cost-efficient when compared with the traditional media like newspapers and television in terms of information publishing and access. Also access to social media is open to everyone. Users, who doesn’t satisfied with the content offered by traditional media produce the basis of social media by creating their own content, (Büyükşener, 2009). Usage of platforms including blogs; social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Friendfeed; professional networks like LinkedIn; content sharing communities like Youtube and Flickr; sites like Wikipedia; forums and comments on news sites are becoming widespread day by day and continues to find new fields of application.

The interactive nature of social media can also have some advantages for distance education. Technology-based distance education applications that aim to reach large audience become more challenging and effective when the communication and interaction opportunities increase. When appropriately integrated into the online classroom, social media can offer innovative learning experiences. With the prevalence of various social media tools, faculties can design creative online learning activities. On the other hand, online collaboration becomes much easier when it is facilitated by social media technologies. With creative integration of social media tools in a class, students can participate more and be more engaged in the learning process. One of the most important advantages of social media usage in distance education is helping online learners feel less isolated. With social media technologies advancing, distance education will continuously evolve with the trend.

The diversity of the platforms accepted as social media entails different suggestions and discussions about which the platform can be used for what purpose within the educational process. This study aims to clarify the usage of social media in distance education considering the examples from the field.
Social media, distance learning.