Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

1 Month of Wave: Post the first

November 4th, 2009

I now have a Google Wave account.

I got it a few weeks ago, but haven’t really had the opportunity to try it out in a meaningful way. There’s no point in playing alone… Wave’s potential lies in the ability to collaborate with others. “Potential” is really the key word here. My first experiences with the features and user interface have left me hoping that it will evolve in the right way, but it does fall short in some ways.

What is a wave? It’s hard to describe… it’s like an enhanced wiki tool that you could use in place of email, plus gadgets.

Actually, it’s much more complex than that, especially once you start taking into account the ability to make public waves (so now you have a public forum? a public blog?) and embed waves into other sites (like your existing blog).

This video explains the concept behind Wave pretty well (and it’s pretty funny, too). Also be sure to check the Google Wave Intro at the bottom of this post… it shows some cool features that will be possible in the actual release of Wave.

Can’t see the embedded video? Click here!

One thing to keep in mind is that it is in preview — not even in Beta! There are no guarantees that features will work (and, in fact, I’ve had some work one day and not the next), so you can’t really use it professionally yet. Many of us are just trying it out, to see what we think we can do with it, and provide some feedback on things that just aren’t working for us.

Things I like:

  • Wiki-style group collaboration on documents (asynchronous… and kinda synchronous)
  • The ability to embed tools like polls, map tools, conferencing, etc. (although I haven’t been able to try them all yet)
  • The ability to make your Wave public, and search public Waves on different topics. Very cool!
  • The ability to add things like Twitter into a Wave. Not sure I know what to do with it, but it’s neat that I can.
  • The group of folks attending Educause that decided to try using Wave for sharing conference notes and info… I’m TOTALLY spying on you all!

Things I’d like to see improved:

  • The total destruction of the darn “Done” button you have to click when you’ve made an update to a Wave. Doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re testing Wave on your own and have a 2-line wave. When you are participating in a BIIIG wave that scrolls forever, and has various long replies, etc. the “Done” button is tricky to find.
  • Long complicated waves can be complicated to navigate. Not sure how to improve this, but I am finding it challenging.
  • Difficulty in locating changes to a Wave. I know there’s a green bar on the side. Doesn’t help if I have to scroll for 10 minutes to find it. Give me a ‘history’ page with a list of changes, like you’d see in a regular wiki. The playback feature seems like a cool idea, but has been useless for me so far.

There are other points, but I’ll save some for my next post. Overall, I do see its potential, and I hope that Google takes the feedback that they are given.

One weird thing that’s come out of this is trolling for account invites. I’ve actually had strangers ask me for a Wave account invite when they saw me post on Twitter that I had an account myself. Weird, no? Unless I know you personally or professionally, please don’t ask me. I want to use my invites to gather a group of people that I can test and collaborate with.

Can’t see the embedded video? Click here!

Some other first impressions:

This series is a (roughly) 1-month attempt to figure out what the heck to do with Wave, with some commentary along the way.

The Twit-xperiment: OUCC

May 28th, 2009

Some OUCC tweets
A sample of the OUCC Tweets

I’ve already shamefully admitted that I’m late to the Twitter game, and like grade school, I’m the last to be picked for a team.

This week presented me with an opportunity to experiment with a task that other Twits have been doing for a while now – Tweeting an event.

I had already found some good examples — I recently went to a music festival, and searched Twitter after the fact for Tweets from the attendees. What I found was a collection of Tweets that journalled the entire event. People posted before the event, letting others know they’d be there, and trying to arrange a meet-up. People posted when they got there, about Montreal, about the places they stayed and the things they ate. Of course, people posted from the event – about the bands, the venue, the vendors and the “Industrial Burgers”.

After seeing this, I thought I might give it a go with OUCC. I managed to find someone on Twitter who was planning to go, and as it turns out we were really the only people Tweeting OUCC!! Hahaha… That said, you don’t need lots of people to successfully Tweet an event. There were people who couldn’t make the event watching the Tweets and sometimes even commenting back. We covered the essential points, and concisely as possible. I thought the end result was pretty interesting.

http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23oucc

OK, now to the specifics. I started by using an iPod Touch to Tweet on the first morning. It has a pretty decent Twitter application (TwitterFon), and it uses a WIFI connection. This worked well in the actual sessions (the Keynotes in AMC, the sessions in TRSM all use the Ryerson WIFI). This didn’t work out AT ALL at the dinners, or in the movie. It would have worked with an iPhone or Blackberry, however. I also found that the iPod touch was a little tricky to type on, so my tweets took a long time and had to be kept pretty short. That meant that I wasn’t putting the speaker’s name in a quote… just took too long, and I’d be missing the next thing they said. I also ran out of battery power half-way through the day.

After lunch on the first day, I switched to a laptop. I found it to be MUCH easier to use for entering text, and add to that the ability to copy & paste, and my tweets suddenly had more context. This also meant that I could quickly find websites that were mentioned in some of the sessions and include them in my tweets, for later reference. The downside of a laptop? They’re bigger to lug around (I didn’t have a NetBook, so…), they’re more distracting to other attendees, and they can get pretty hot on your lap.

I think a small “NetBook” style computer might be a good option for this kind of thing. I don’t know how great they are for battery life, but they’re smaller yet still full-featured.

One of the best experiences I had during this was a request from “the other OUCC Twit” to ask a question of a panel that I was attending. He chose to go to another session, but was still able to get info about the session I attended. Sure – you can do the same thing with instant messaging – but this way, the information is given to ANYONE who may be following us.

This is the essence of Twitter, I think. You don’t need to join a specific discussion forum or topic-based website to find a community discussing certain things. You just need to be smart about your searches. If you’re Tweeting an event, or something that may have a specific topic, add a pound sign to a string and try to get people to include it in their Tweets.

It’s not just about broadcasting your every move – although that’s how some people use it. It’s about finding connections with other users through topics, creating your own little community through the people and topics  you follow, and creating a context on a system that appears to have none. Pretty interesting.

Yikes – that was a long post. I definitely went over my 140 character limit.

Me, the Twit – Day 1 ends

May 20th, 2009

Ahh, a mass of posts all in one day, after not posting for a year or so. Yeah, that’s how I roll.

Me, the Twit – Day 1 has now just about come to an end. I’ve done some digging, found some info on how it makes sense as a social tool, how it can be used academically, and why it isn’t as stupid as it looks. (Ha!)

My own limited experience with it started with "following" a bald guy I know, and evolved to:

  • finding comments from people all over the world who attended a music festival I went to this weekend
  • finding comments from people who mention Ryerson (but not always the U)
  • finding comments from people who mention a band I like (listening to, excited to see upcoming concert by, just bought CD of, here’s a new video clip of…)
  • finding people who are following people who are following people I know
  • finding supposed celebrity Twitterers, but still not feeling like following them

I now have 2 followers, one of which is probably some spammer (since I have NO idea who this person is). I still have to wrap my head around a bunch of it, though, because it’s evolving into something I didn’t expect. Although I suspected that may be the case. (double HA!)

Below are a few collected resources and articles that I found compelling, in my search for the twit-truth. Enjoy!

 

A Bunch of Twits…

 … and before this gets lost in the mess below, there is actually a way to create a private group Twitter, via http://grouptweet.com/

This sounds perfect for course use! Any Rye faculty out there want to try it out with one of their classes?

Twitter for Academia

While I obviously spend a great deal of time online and thinking about the potential of these new networked digital communication structures, I also worry about the way that they too easily lead to increasingly short space and time for conversation, cutting off nuance and conversation, and what is often worse how these conversations often reduce to self-centered statements.

 

How Twitter Creates a Social 6th Sense

Critics sneer at Twitter and Dodgeball as hipster narcissism, but the real appeal of Twitter is almost the inverse of narcissism. It’s practically collectivist — you’re creating a shared understanding larger than yourself.

We Travel in Tribes

My tribe is not your tribe because you’re not using Twitter how I do. You wrote an Academy Award-winning screenplay, only follow a few people, but have thousands following you. You sell shoes and follow each of the thousands of people who follow you. You are a major airline, but sound surprisingly human.

Twitter’s value has nothing to do with the technology.

 

Contribute to: Twitter for Teachers

 

Private Members Only

I also feel that I have to make mention of the privacy issue here… I know, it feels like the biggest ball & chain on the leg of creativity, but it’s important to keep it in mind. Twitter is a public service, and probably has servers housed in the U.S. Due to the Patriot Act, your information (user info, what you say, when you said it, who you communicate with – EVERYTHING) can be accessed by the U.S. gov’t. This is against Canadian policy, and certainly against the policies that we try to adhere to at Ryerson. I’m no expert in such privacy and legal matters, but it’s important that any users (faculty, students, TAs) being asked to use these systems for class work have some understanding before signing up.

Me, the Twit

May 20th, 2009

There it is, I am now a twit.

 Today is Day 1 of me on Twitter. Not sure how often I’ll update it, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least give it a try.

Not all social networking is suited to everyone. I believe that very strongly – actually, I believe that about ALL technology – especially when it comes to using it academically.

Twitter wasn’t something that appealed to me initially, and then a few folks I knew signed up and I started peeking at it. I resisted signing up for an account — isn’t that always the way it works? Today, I smacked myself in the forehead and said "girl, you can’t ignore this tool and hope to be able to explain what it is and isn’t good for".

In case this blog doesn’t make it obvious, I explore various technologies for other people to use. I learn how to use tools, and then try to put myself into the shoes of others — educators, researchers, students, etc. and come up with ways different people will use the tools.

It’s really part of my job to sign  up for every social networking tool that has gained any sort of popularity and try it out for myself…

So here I am on Day 1, a newly crowned Twit. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂