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I was again perusing my friends’ tweets on Twitter this fine Saturday morning and I became aware that a recent buzz word seems to be “Social Media Breakfast”. Social Media Breakfast I say, hmm … what does that mean to you?

I have an idea of the concept but I really want to know who coined the phrase, and why? Was it coined just randomly like “hey let’s have breakfast” by a few people who use social media, or was it more thought about than that?

Conceptually I don’t think it is actually anything new, the premise being that you have a friends list in one of your social networks and you create an event, a social event where you all meet-up, in this case eat breakfast, if like me you are not a big breakfast eater, or like the Italians, stand up and have an expresso on the run, these sessions might not work for you.

However, these remind me an awful lot of the activity we at have been practising since 2000. So have we been having Social Media Meet-Ups unwittingly? And have we just not applied a buzz phrase to them? I think so, let me explain.

Running a distance learning school has meant that I have had to build a strong sense of virtual community around the members and within its operating structure. As no bricks and mortar exists for the school (no point considering all students are geographically dispersed) it really is paramount to use scaffolding that supports a strong sense of virtual identity, the school really must give a sense of institution, a sense of community and a sense of something big, something to feel a part of.

Over the years I have utilised various technologies to accomplish this sense of community ranging from ftp upload centres to internet radio, forums, blogs, telephone, email, synchronous chat, text messages and various other bits and bobs. Again all these help cement an organisational concept and mostly all are social technologies, social media.

In addition to those technologies we have since 2000 held weekly online synchronous chats, typically on Sundays. We have termed these Live Workshops. As a distance learning educationalist it is vital I can aid students move away from feelings of social isolation. Think about it, when you go to a traditional University or College you see your friends every day, you meet them in the pub after study and you are generally learning in a very social manner (which is vital in my mind). So the distance learning student needs, actually I would say it is essential, to have mechanisms in place which are for the “social” aspect of learning, and this is exactly what are Live Workshops are.

You can browse through revious Workshops from 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, (I’ve kept the dialogue) and if you do indeed read through these you will soon get the vibe of what is going on. Social friendly sessions, inclusion and openness, community building, cementing attachment, installing belonging.

Now back to my original point.

So we have this large virtual community, we have people who have never met each other personally, from all over the world, only digitally through our social media channels, so if we then have real-life get togethers I guess you could say we are having a Social Media Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Pint, whatever.

This is exactly what has happened over the years, we’ve had breakfasts, we’ve had lunches and we’ve had dinners, and meeting these people for the first time in the flesh (having built a deep relationship already online) has been awesome, really, a fantastic experience. But will I attached the buzz word to it, no probably not, should I do that? Would you, would you raise your hand and say “hang on a minute guys we’ve done this for years already, what’s so new”?

I’d love to have your views on it, should I care about new buzz-words for old concepts?

UPDATE: Bryper is said to be the guy who coined the phrase see here, thanks to @mdy