The market for professional development using social media is quite saturated at the moment, but with no clear market leader. Social media channels have solidified over the last 5 years, and there has been large amount of consolidation in the industry as new players get bought by existing firms. There seems to be many established ways of using social media for professional development, for example Google Plus communities dedicated to the professional development of teachers.
However, many social media platforms have shortcomings that weaken their appeal for formal professional development, and establish them only as platforms for resource finding and creating connections with others. In particular, many social media platforms are not able to provide learning opportunities that are in line with established best practices for professional development, particularly in the ability to create contextualized hands-on learning opportunities. This being said, Google Plus and LinkedIn standout as social media platforms that start to address that concern.
Considering then social media as a tool to find resources, an immediate opportunity that becomes visible is the aggregation and curation of content. However, in this space as well there are already well established players. When we consider increasing the robustness of the learning that happens through social media channel we also run into well established platforms that exist outside the social media space, specifically MOOCs and Learning Networks.
In our opinion then, new opportunities in this space are more likely to be found by extending the functionality of existing platforms such as Google +, or in the integration of social media for existing learning networks or MOOCs, than in creating a social networking platform that would focus solely on professional development.
For an extended justification of our rationale, please review the pages in this section.