Posts Tagged ‘Thing Four’

Twitter

When I wrote about Thing 4 last year, I said that it had taken me a while to grasp the point of Twitter, but when I did understand it then it became indispensable. One year on, I’m still finding Twitter a vital way of staying in touch of what’s going on in the LIS-world. I’m still trying to remember to be a contributor and not just a lurker – but jumping in with both feet on Twitter and talking to people you don’t actually ‘know’ really pays off.

If you’re new to Twitter, then I recommend finding a couple of people you think are interesting (perhaps by searching for them by name or by typing topics you’re interested in into the search box), then see who they follow. Most people will have a short bio so it’s quick to see who on this list would be worth following. Then see who they follow!

If you want to follow me on Twitter, then feel free! I’m @maniccharlie

RSS feeds

I have a Google Reader account for keeping up with blogs, but I’m not terribly good at keeping on top of it. I find Twitter a much better way of finding interesting blog posts, and then seeing the reaction to them. Google Reader is good, though, for blogs and websites that have a fairly low profile or aren’t updated very often. It would easy to miss these on Twitter, if indeed they are even on Twitter, whereas Google Reader captures it and has it ready for you when you next log in.

I also find it useful to categorise blogs into folders on Google Reader. (I think it’s that innate librarian desire to categorise and classify everything in life). There’s numerous ways to do this, but – since most blogs I subscribe to are library-related – it’s done by sector or theme e.g. ‘Libraries – academic’; ‘Libraries – health’, ‘Libraries – new professionals’ etc.

And if everything gets a bit overwhelming, then I take great comfort in admitting defeat, clicking ‘mark all as read’ and just vowing to start again!

Storify

This is the first time I’ve used Storify. I do like the fact that you search for a topic over a range of web 2.0 interfaces really simply. That in itself is quite handy. The ‘walled garden’ approach of the internet annoys me sometimes, so I like that I can really easily assemble a story that pulls together info from Twitter, Flickr, YouTube etc. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the finished story, though. I wanted to be able to play around with it, resize the images and drag them into a new order. Instead everything is just linear.

Since it’s the Jubilee bank holiday today and I am multitasking and watching the service in St Pauls while writing this, I thought I’d make a small Jubilee Storify – simply because I knew there’d be loads of material to choose from.

I’m glad I had a go at using this tool since it was new to me, but I’m not I’ll be sticking with it if I’m honest.

[View the story “Diamond Jubilee” on Storify]

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If blog posts needed abstracts then the abstract for this would simply read:

1. Twitter – yay

2. RSS – useful but can never stay on top of things

3. Pushnote – what’s that?

I first signed up to Twitter in 2009, when I saw how incredible it had been as a communication tool during the riots in Iran. I struggled to understand why Twitter was so popular, though. As a committed Facebook user, I just saw Twitter as a series of status updates, without any of the other tools Facebook offers. The sparseness confused me.

I don’t know how it happened, though, but I gradually began to see the use of Twitter after a while. I followed a couple of LIS friends and looked to see who they followed, and then who those people followed etc etc. It took me a while to get over my Twitter shyness (Twyness? Twame?) and start tweeting strangers. But, having a connection such as an interest in library-and-information issues is all the link you need.

I see Twitter as a classic example of “you get out what you put in”. It’s tempting, and very easy, to be an observer on Twitter – but the true value only becomes obvious when you start communicating yourself.

I began using Google Reader as an RSS reader last year when I began the Oxford 23 Things programme. I have never really got into the mindset of using this to follow blogs though, as I find the amount of information overwhelming. Every time I click through and see the number of unread blog posts, I just become demoralised. I find Twitter an easier way to find good, relevant blog posts – either through links tweeted by the blog’s author, or through links tweeted by others who have found it useful.

I had never heard of Pushnote until I came to this Thing.  I found this article on TechCrunch a good overview of what Pushnote is and what it does. I duly signed up for a Pushnote account on Firefox, then spent a long time looking for a webpage that anyone had actually commented on! It’s an interesting tool and I will think a bit more about whether this could be useful. I just think that, if you want to share links, a tool such as Twitter or Delicious might be more appropriate and better designed.

I was also concerned to read, in a more recent Techcrunch article that a website’s owner cannot remove any of the Pushnote comments linked to their site. If Pushnote users flag up scams etc, then this is a useful feature. Worryingly, many comments might be false or malicious.

In essence, I’m glad I now know what Pushnote is, but I don’t think it offers anything new. If a critical mass of web users begin to comment, though, then this may change.