Reflections: The Norms of Reciprocity

I was speaking with my brother in-law the other day and I was telling him how the students in my classroom spend a lot of time on twitter, tweeting what’s happening in class and their thoughts on parts of the lecture. It was quite a departure, I said, from any other classroom experience I had in the past. He said, “I just don’t get the whole Twitter or Facebook thing. Who cares if you’re sitting in class listening to a lecture?” He didn’t understand that students were actually passing along relevant information to each other that could be helpful to others in the MCDM program, not discussing what they had for lunch that day (OK, there was some of that too).

The Norms of Reciprocity theory tonight brought that conversation back to me and made me think of what I could have told him, had I been armed with that information. Sharing; passing along insight someone else may not have. Give, then take; sharing useful information with those that it matters to, and eventually they will return the favor. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; treating each other with respect, and reaching out to help those that need it. This is the real power of social media.

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