Tag: Twitter (page 5 of 11)

5 genuinely useful Twitter tools.

There’s eleventy-billion Twitter apps, tools and services all vying for your attention. Some of them are pretty, some tell you some type of score (as if Twitter was some kind of competition) and some, well, some just seem to be side-projects for bored programmers… :-p

But the following five Twitter tools are those that I find genuinely useful. They add value to my little social networking world. 🙂

1. Mr Tweet

(http://mrtweet.com)

There’s plenty of services that will help you find people to follow, but I find Mr Tweet usually gets things spot on. It’s also really easy to follow people directly from the website.

2. Packrati.us

(http://packrati.us)

You can configure Packrati.us in many ways, but I’ve got it set up so that anything I ‘favorite’ on Twitter automatically gets added to my Delicious links. This makes composing my Things I Learned This Week posts a whole lot easier! 🙂

3. Trick.ly

(http://www.trick.ly)

You don’t always need industrial-strength encryption to share something. There are definitely times when a shortened link coupled with a password (you can provide a clue!) does the job.

4. Screenr

(http://screenr.com)

If a picture paints a thousand words, a short video must paint a million! Screenr allows you to create quick screencasts and share them via Twitter. Great for everything from remote support to e-learning opportunities.

5. TwapperKeeper

(http://twapperkeeper.com)

If you create a hashtag (for example #movemeon that I helped make into a book) then it’s good to have an archive of tweets for future reference. TwapperKeeper does just that.

Which Twitter tools do YOU find useful? Share them below! 😀

Twitter is not the best CPD you’ve ever received.

I see this a lot:

  1. Someone is demoing Twitter.
  2. They ask their network why they use Twitter.
  3. People respond “it’s the best CPD I’ve ever received”

No. It’s. Not.

It might be the best Continual Professional Stimulation (CPS) you’ve ever received but development is more than getting a bunch of ideas. Development is:

[The] act of improving by expanding or enlarging or refining.

or

[A] process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage).

That’s why TeachMeets, for example, are better CPD for those who present at them than for those who attend. Those who merely read tweets or attend TeachMeets are being professionally stimulated but not (necessarily) developed.

Happily, many of those who experience CPS end up undergoing CPD as they put those ideas into practice, reflect on it (via their blog, TeachMeet, etc.) and then make it better.

That’s development.

That’s CPD.

That’s all. 🙂

Image CC BY-NC TarikB

#newleaders is #movemeon for… guess who?

I know I usually post about design and infographics on Saturdays, but this is a time-delimited thing that I need to get people involved with ASAP!

Remember #movemeon, the crowdsourced book with tips for teachers that was such a success last year? Well, there’s a new one for leaders, being headed-up by @tombarrett and @stuartridout. The aim is similar – to create a book that collects wisdom for leaders new to their position.

You can contribute simply by including the hashtag #newleaders in a tweet. They are collated at:

http://twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/newleaders

Google Buzz is not a Twitter-killer.

Google Buzz vs. FriendFeed

This is what’s really going on. And I think Google’s only grudgingly pulling in Flickr and Twitter streams. They’d much rather you used Picasa and Google Chat. :-p

Things I learned this week – #1

This is the first of a planned weekly series in which I reflect on what I’ve learned during the previous 7 days. As I explained in My digital reading workflow these links are culled from blogs and tweets I read.

Happy New Year! Feeling guilty because you haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution? Perhaps you could try the New Year’s Resolution Generator! (via swissmiss) It came up with ‘This year I will… declutter’ which seemed most prescient for me. 🙂  I’ve already made my Commitments for 2010 but for those who need things broken down step-by-step, they could do worse I suppose than try out mySomeday (via Mashable). Oh, and Zen Habits claims to have The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions. 😀

Before I go any further I must point you in the direction of this eye-candy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U&w=480&h=385]

The Known Universe by the American Museum of Natural History zooms from the Himalayas to deep space (via FlowingData)

100 Extraordinary Examples of Paper Art (via BoingBoing)

While we’re on the subject of design, swissmiss had a useful blog post on Japanese design principles. There are seven basic principles:

  1. Fukinsei (imbalanced)
  2. Kanso (simple)
  3. Kokou (austere)
  4. Shizen (natural)
  5. Yugen (subtle profound)
  6. Datsuzoko (unworldly)
  7. Seijaku (calm)

I’d like to think that this blog has elements of 2, 5 and 7. 😉

Not that I write much any more, but I was interested to (re-)discover that some people claim to be able to tell whether a person’s handwriting is ‘male’ or ‘female’. To be fair, if they managed to decipher mine they would only be able to tell that it was ‘messy’… In other quirky news (for which BoingBoing is an excellent source), it turns out that “there are more people currently alive in Asia, Africa and Latin America than the total number of people who died—anywhere, and for any reason—during the entire 20th century.” Wow. More at Census of the dead, in infographic form.

It’s been 5 years, apparently, since Google first started blogging. They’ve no got so many blogs that it’s difficult to keep up with them all. If you, like me, are becoming overwhelmed by the unread items in your RSS reader, why not get everything delivered by email? If you’ve got a decent system (see my How I deal with email) it can be a very efficient way of keeping up-to-date. The trouble is, of course, that some blogs don’t have an subscribe-by-email option. That’s where FeedMyInbox is useful. Enter website URL and your email address and, hey presto! If you want a quick-and-easy way of getting all of the links from your Twitter followers, try ReadTwit. It creates an RSS feed of tweets that contain links from people you follow. You can put that through FeedMyInbox too. And if all that sounds like too much effort, why not try LazyFeed? (via @heyjudeonline) :-p

Talking of productivity, Hans de Zwart (who has recently been promoted to the cool-sounding Innovation Manager: Learning Technology) has a great post on The Influence of a Workspace on Performance. In it, Hans cites a book by Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness of which I wasn’t aware. His main thrust is highlighting the discrepancy between the exquisitely designed office space he works in, designed by David Leon, and the stupidity (his word) of being locked down to Windows 2000 and Internet Explorer 6. As Hans quotes David Leon as saying,

Innovation depends on bright people. These people cost more and are far more valuable than the buildings they occupy… but it is a proven fact that the environment in which they work has a major impact on their effectiveness.

For that reason we design workplaces and buildings round the needs of people and the business aims of their organisations.

He contends – and I agree – that should go for digital surroundings as well as physical surroundings. I recently reorganized my study, including building my own desk, to get things just right. 🙂

Motivation and productivity can be affected by surroundings, but a great deal of it comes from within. As Chris Guillebeau notes, there will always be people who say that you “can’t” do something. His reply (or rather, that of one of his readers) is:

Reading a lot of books is definitely a worthwhile thing to do, but one that takes dedication and motivation. How To Read a Book a Week in 2010 (via @chrisbrogan) is a useful reminder as to why setting yourself a definite target (e.g. one per week) is more useful than a hazy one (e.g. read more books).

And finally, some quotations I came across that I warmed to immediately. The first comes from a blog post on The Innovative Educator entitled My Top 20 Education Quotes from 2009:

Many of the most brilliant and creative people didn’t really discover what they could do and who they were until they’d left school and recovered from their education.

Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open. Thomas Dewar (via @timekord)

If you can find something everyone agrees on, it’s wrong – Mo Udall (via @russeltarr)

The only one thing I can change is myself, but sometimes that makes all of the difference. (via @Vincent_Ang)

Stuff to which I didn’t find a segue:

Can’t wait until next week? See the tweets I favourite in real-time at http://twitter.com/dajbelshaw/favorites

#movemeon book now available!

I’m delighted to announce that the #movemeon (e-)book is now available! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the contributors, but especially Stuart Ridout for his amazing help and design skills. 😀

The PDF is available for free download: http://bit.ly/movemeonpdf

The book is available at cost price: http://bit.ly/movemeonbook

Badges to promote the book are at: http://bit.ly/movemeonbadges (no need for CC attribution, etc.)

My digital reading workflow.

My digital reading workflow

The above is my first effort at visualizing how I approach reading stuff online. You’ll notice that it all ends up back at my delicious account. That’s because it’s important that I can re-find stuff that I come across, even if only briefly.

Down the left is the information I glean from blogs and news sites. I subscribe to these by email nowadays as I realised that the problem was with having to go somewhere else to read stuff other than my inbox. It’s sent to me, I read it and then bookmark it if important.

Down the right is the stuff I read on-the-go through my iPhone and Tweetie, my Twitter client of choice. The great thing about Tweetie is that it has Instapaper integration. If you haven’t come across Instapaper yet, I really do recommend it for providing a clean, stripped down version of text you want to read later. Once I’ve read the article/information on Instapaper I bookmark if I deem it worthy.

In the centre is my Twitter favourites. It’s really easy, using Tweetdeck (my desktop Twitter client of choice) to ‘favourite’ tweets. I then go back through these at http://twitter.com/dajbelshaw/favourites periodically and bookmark most of them.

So that’s how I roll. What about you?

E-safety: the ‘googleability test’ (a suggestion).

The problem:

@4goggas (Kerry Turner)

Kerry Turner:

Any educator launching into the world of social media has to know its risks.

One evening, after reading several posts on Twitter, it was mentioned that school Acceptable User Policies were declaring that all contact with students on social media was to be avoided.

There are strong cases for and against its use. Most important is where the very public nature of social media spotlights professional conduct, where it is used as a vehicle for bullying, or presents us with evidence which we might need to flag up or report to a higher authority. Teachers worry that their natural way of conversing; expressing themselves after a frustrating day, or humorous posts about their personal life could compromise their position at work and result in a telling off from a superior. Yet we teach children to mind themselves online. Within reason, do we not need to consider the same? My belief is that as more students and NQT’s are educated about their use of social media, so the number of incidents which have resulted in censure will become less.

(my emphasis)

A solution?

IF “teacher” AND “http://www.google.com/search?&q=teacher” = “unprofessional” THEN “censure”

Goodness knows I’ve tried my best to put together some reasonable Acceptable Use Policies and ‘Digital Guidelines’ in the past. I think that we have to come to terms with the fact that people live increasingly large amounts of their lives connected via social media. So if you’re a teacher, use Twitter and occasionally swear, then protect your updates. If you don’t, and mind what you say, then as you were.

Using Google (or any search engine, for that matter) to search for an educator should bring up positive results on the first page. If it doesn’t, you’re doing something wrong.

After all, anyone can find out something negative or ‘unprofessional’ about a person if they do enough digging. :-p

#twitter365 (2009)

#twitter365 mosaic

The guidelines:

#twitter365 instructions

My response:

I know 2009 hasn’t finished yet, but Animoto (which I used to create the above video) has an image limit of 250.

View all of my #twitter365 photos and those of everyone who took part in the project. 🙂

The difference between visualizations and infographics.

All that glitters is not gold, and not everything that looks pretty is an infographic. For example here’s a visualization of my recent connections on Twitter using mentionmap:

(click to enlarge)

This looks good but isn’t very really very revealing. I’m well aware that I’ve been tweeting about tomorrow’s EdTechRoundUp TeachMeet (#TMETRU09) and with the people featured in orange. That’s why this is a visualization. It’s a pretty rendition of stuff I already knew.

TweetStats, however, produces something more revelatory:

(click to enlarge)

We’ll ignore the fact that the service has mis-reported early 2009. 😉

What’s interesting is that this reveals something. It shows when I tend to tweet, how often I’ve done so in various months. There are other graphs beside these that give other interesting details.

Herein lies the difference between visualizations (uses non-numerical, qualitative stuff to represent something already known) and infographics (uses quantitative data to show or reveal something new).

Wikipedia:

(inspired by posts at FlowingData & information aesthetics)

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