I find this stuff so you don’t have to:
- The power of technology for learning and why creating together is better | Helen Milner
- Barcamp NotForProfits | dxw (I’ll be there representing @tasksquadhq)
- Digital local government: a future in Google Glass and the internet of things
- GDS becomes political as Labour launches digital government review
- The nitty gritty of Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do – @euan
- Podcasting « WordPress Codex
- A plain English guide to how natural language processing will transform computing
- Should Markdown become a standard? | OSS Watch team blog
- Google Analytics Academy – free online course / via @aliceainsworth
- comms2point0 – 10 things about internal comms and channel shift
Not sure how I had never come across this before, but Tame is super useful!
You set up an account as with all these services, and then connect to your Twitter account. Tame then goes away and comes back with a dashboard style view, in three columns.
The columns display the most popular links being shared by the people you follow, the most popular hashtags being used, and the most popular accounts being mentioned.
It’s a simple idea, but for those moments when you don’t have time for much more than a quick glance at Twitter, it gives you a fast summary of what’s popular in your stream – which might be all you need.
Here’s a video to show how it works:
As you would expect, WorkSmart is all over the internet!
The first thing to do is to join the site. Membership is free, and means you get the regular email newsletter. In the future it will also give you access to exclusive member resources – more on that soon. You can sign up here if you haven’t already.
Next, WorkSmart is of course on Twitter, where you can get alerted to new articles published on the blog, and to interesting links as we spot and curate them. Follow @worksmarthq now.
Are you a big Facebook user? It might be that the Facebook page is the best way to keep up to date, and to have your say on the articles and other content that are published there. Like WorkSmart on Facebook here.
How about Google+? I’m not convinced either, but there is a WorkSmart page there, which also has content posted up as it gets published on the blog. Follow WorkSmart on Google+ here.
Last but not least, WorkSmart currently has two (count ’em!) boards on Pinterest. One features all the posts that are published on the blog – so if you like to get your content in Pinterest, they are all there waiting for you. The other one is where content is curated from across the web, and is called Bookmarks.
So, you really have no excuse not to keep up to date with what is happening here! It will be great to see you on our various channels.
I find this stuff so you don’t have to:
- Don’t drown in email! How to use Gmail more efficiently
- twister : peer to peer microblogging platform (interesting from privacy/decentralisation angle)
- Why blogging still matters in business – and always will — @euan
- In 2014, let’s get digital skills out of the classroom – @lesteph
- Do people really care about personal data? – Mydex
- Network Stories: Hacking Complex, Ongoing News by @timdavies
- 10 tips for managing your time on social networks « Learning in the Social Workplace
- The almost-post mortem for Patch — BuzzMachine
I find this stuff so you don’t have to:
- emacs bites – learn emacs and lisp in bite sized chunks
- The real deal | by @helenmilner
- Citizens Advice Bureau: showing things aren’t working as they should
- Remembering the Apple Newton’s Prophetic Failure and Lasting Impact
- You can’t write an app to fix a broken system
- Creating Digital Communities report | Community How To
- A ‘report abuse’ button on Twitter will create more problems than it solves | @sharonodea
- Do Things that Don’t Scale
- RSA Catalyst Project: Network of Networks from @curiousc
- Age UK report reveals challenges of rural living
Recently, as part of a survey of members of the Social Learning Centre, I put together a list of ten sites or apps I use a lot in my own learning activity. Actually, I thought ten was rather a lot, so to share it here, I thought I’d whittle it down to half that number.
I think it’s useful to always remind yourself of the tools you use regularly in your own activity, particularly if you spend time designing sites, systems and platforms for others to use.
What’s also interesting for me is that everything in this list is pretty old! It turns out I am not exactly on the cutting edge. Who knew?
The source of all knowledge! OK, maybe not, but I’m subscribed to over 500 blogs and sites in Reader and it’s the second place I go to every day, after my email inbox. Maybe 80% of everything I scan through on there is of no use, but that’s ok – the 20% is what matters.
I do worry about the future of Reader – RSS is not the hippest of technologies and I’m concerned Google might switch it off some day… which would make me very sad.
Everything I find really useful gets starred in Reader, and thanks to IFTTT, gets pinged to Twitter as a link, and dumped into Evernote as an archive.
My portable archive of everything. Web pages get copied into Evernote, everything I star in Reader ends up in here, notes in meetings and during phone calls… pretty much everything that passes my eyes online ends up here in case I need it later.
What’s interesting about Evernote is that it has reached that stage of ubiquity in my way of working where I don’t even recognise that it’s there most of the time, I just perform various actions, look stuff up in it, type in notes, clip a web page, without even thinking. Evernote fits right into my workflow, which is a key thing for any technology.
I was thinking about putting Google search in here, but actually most of the time what Google produces is a link to a Wikipedia page, so I thought I’d disintermediate for you. No matter what I’m doing, I find myself looking stuff up on Wikipedia to find out more – reading a book, watching TV, whatever. It’s one of the things I use my Nexus 7 tablet for – just so handy a form factor for quickly looking stuff up.
Not just where I share stuff I found illuminating, but where I get to find things out too. Whether ‘overhearing’ interesting conversations or picking up on links and stories shared by others, Twitter is a hugely important part of my learning network.
Interestingly (perhaps) is that now I have been on Twitter for a little while, and built up a fairly substantial follower/following count, I find it less useful for asking questions myself and getting responses. Perhaps this is because the network is just that much more busy these days – who knows? – but the apparently logical idea that if you have more followers you get more responses doesn’t seem to be true.
Maybe I’m just asking the wrong questions.
Blogging is where all the stuff I’ve learned elsewhere gets written up and formulated into something that’s usually even less coherent than it was before. This has gotten increasingly difficult as the various stresses and strains of life, running a business, etc get in the way; but I do try to blog thoughts and ideas as often as I can.
Hopefully this helps others – but the primary benefit is my own. The process of writing for a public audience forces you to critically analyse your ideas and thinking and there is as much value in the countless posts that never get published because of their idiocy as there is in those that are seen and commented by others.
WordPress is a publishing platform that I feel I have grown up with since I started using it back in 2004 and it just gets out of the way for me.
Twitter has been taking a bit of a pasting in the technology media world recently. Could this mean it is facing a bleak future, and could become the new MySpace, or Friendster? Or even – the horror! – FriendsReunited?
Effectively Twitter are limiting access to the API for many of the apps that people have come to know and love. For example, many of the ‘client’ applications people use to access Twitter, which are independent of Twitter itself, are going to find life more difficult in the future.
On top of annoying the developer community, Twitter has irritated its own user base too, with the over hasty censoring of accounts; and the growth of advertising on the platform.
This latter point is the important one. Twitter has grown into a vast social network, but hasn’t actually made much money over the last five years. What it needs to do is to turn it’s userbase into cash – and the best way of doing that, they think, is ads. Hence the clampdown on third party client apps – which may interfere with the way the ads appear to users.
Finally, a few folk are feeling increasingly nervous about the fact that content they create, such as tweets, isn’t owned by them. It’s all held in a database by Twitter, and they can choose to do with it what they will.
To a certain extent, people should probably just stop whining. After all, Twitter never claimed to be anything other than a for profit corporate company – this day was going to come sooner or later. But given the way Twitter has developed, their recent behaviour does stick in the craw somewhat.
- Who came up with the idea for @ replies? Not Twitter – it was the users and third party developers.
- Who came up with the idea for hashtags? Not Twitter – it was the users and third party developers.
- Who came up with the bird motif? Not Twitter – it was a third party developer.
- Who puts all the content into Twitter? Not Twitter – it’s the users.
The list can go on. Again, all those people who invested time, content and ideas into Twitter have little to complain about, really. Twitter never claimed to be open source. They’re free to take people’s suggestions and incorporate them as they please. That’s part of the deal with using a ‘free’ service.
However, people have started to hit back. app.net is a new Twitter clone with a slight difference: you have to pay $50 to use it. This means no ads, an open API and no corporations interfering with the way the service runs.
It also provides an option to download all your data, which kind of answers the content control issue.
I’ve started using it and my profile is just here: https://alpha.app.net/davebriggs. It’s slow, as you can imagine any new network is – let alone one that you have to pay to join. I’m not convinced it will succeed as anything other than an online ghetto for people who have fallen out of love with Twitter.
Also, remember Diaspora? Thought not. They tried to do a similar thing, but to Facebook. Didn’t work – nobody cared enough.
Others like Dave Winer (the somewhat cantankerous tech legend who invented RSS amongst other things) are promoting a much more open way of publishing, where people control their own servers running their own software, and through protocols and standards, they talk to one another. In other words, decentralising the whole social networking concept.
An example of this emerged recently, called tent.io.
This makes sense for people with the chops to run software like this, and perhaps to serious, professional content creators. But for people chatting about what’s happening on Xfactor? Probably not.
What does this mean for digital engagers in government and beyond?
Not a lot. Keep calm and carry on, as the increasingly irritating posters, tea towels, coasters and rolls of toilet paper keep telling us. Twitter isn’t going away. Many of these debates are fairly arcane and only of interest to the tiny percentage of the population that actually care.
Twitter remains an easy to access, free to use channel for people to quickly share their thoughts about what is happening to them at that moment, and it has enormous reach too.
For those that do worry about owning your content, keeping records and backing up, you can always make use of tools like ifttt to keep a copy of everything you publish.
Twitter will be with us for a long while yet.
I find this stuff so you don’t have to:
- HELLO CAMPERS: Three years on from the first localgovcamp… so whats changed? – Nice bit of reflection from Dan Slee ahead of Saturday's shindig.
- Knowledge Hub: A response – Steve Dale gives part of his side of the story.
- Refocusing our efforts and investments | Talis Systems – Interesting. Is there really no market for open linked public data? Probably not.
- Exactly how digital do we need our leaders to be? – "This is an agenda that I would like to the see the LGA, the political parties as well as SOLACE take up more seriously in the future as we need our senior teams to take a central role in exploring and shaping what happens when we become ‘digital by default’ as a result of both financial pressures and social change."
- What makes Twitter Twitter? – alt.adrianshort – Adrian's blogging is the best there is at the moment! A great discussion of the issues facing the service.
Helen Coen is currently online community manager for the RSPCA, the UK’s leading animal welfare charity. Previously she has been a senior RSPCA press officer and award-winning journalist. She is also Dave’s sister.
I admit it: I wasn’t always that interested in the internet and social media.
In all honesty I was a tad old-school – I’d started out as a newspaper journalist before the internet really took off, and before social media became mainstream.
I just didn’t quite get it.
As far as I was concerned print and broadcast media were very important and social networks and blogs were something ‘other’ and a bit of a mystery.
Luckily I had a hunch that I needed to get with the times (and keep up with my brother!) and learned through courses, conferences and trial and error.
As my knowledge and experience increased I realised that online is where people are now and how wonderful – and important – online and the communities that form there really are.
It was natural to feel that communicating online – and directly with the public rather than via journalists – was a risky business. After all, I was responsible for protecting the RSPCA’s reputation.
It’s a common fear that by having an online presence you’re making it easier for the general public to slate you whether you deserve it or not.
To some extent this is true. But people will say negative things about you online whether you’re there or not.
At least if you’re easily contactable and listening to the conversation you have a chance of putting things right or setting the record straight.
There’s no getting away from it, entering the digital world does involve risk and not a small amount of time and money. But there is no doubt in my mind that not getting involved is a huge opportunity missed – and frankly not an option.
I’ve found that communicating online is an essential way of building relationships direct with key influencers – whether it’s through working with bloggers and forums or building your own online community.
The most rewarding and worthwhile element of my online work so far has been talking with bloggers.
I’ve been blown away by how hard bloggers work – mostly in their ‘spare’ time – to make sure their content is genuine, engaging and well written, and also by their brilliant help spreading the word to the right people.
A handful of bloggers I’ve contacted have said that it’s not a cause they can support or agree with, or they already support their quota of charities.
But (approached in the right way) most are happy to do what they can to help, have a vital part to play and are a pleasure to work with.
Okay, not all bloggers have a huge readership, but small, carefully chosen blogs have massive influence on the people that matter – and don’t forget that newspaper articles (and content on news sites) are here today, gone tomorrow – blog posts stick around for years.