Microblogs are used primarily to communicate and as such can be a powerful channel for things like breaking news (Greenhow, 2009). However, they can have many other uses that stem from that communication. One example that emerged early on is the notion that microblogs can be a powerful marketing and branding tool (Dunn, 2010). Therefore, they can also be used to advertise employment, and, conversely, look for a job (Kibbe, 2009). Zappos.com and many other companies use a microblog to communicate with their customers and offer customer service. At conferences, during presentations, participants microblog to share their thoughts about the presentation and in some cases, their updates are projected to participants at the conference while it is taking place (Ebner, 2009). Yes, people have found a plethora of ways to use microblogs.
It is only fairly recently that people started wondering about microblogs’ educational value. For example, microblogs have been examined in an academic environment and results have shown that usage fostered informal learning (Ebner, Lienhardt, Rohs, & Meyer, 2010). Dunlap and Lowenthal (2009) describe their use of Twitter, a microblog, to encourage free-flowing, just-in-time interactions and how those interactions enhance social presence in online courses. They clearly see the instructional value of a microblog but how do students feel about social media and social networking? Batchelder (2010) answered this question and found that, among other things, students developed confidence in their abilities to find the information they needed, experienced self-actualization and personal growth, they became committed to lifelong learning and saw value through finding solutions via collaboration and keeping in touch with a support group. Indeed, microblogs can be a peer support tool, such as, when used for asking questions of the people that follow you (Greenhow, 2009). However, research has not yet been conducted that examines the potential of microblogs with regard to learning and performance in the workplace.
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