Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Alert and Aware in the Digital Castle

How time flies. Thing 4 already. I think I'll break this blog down into three sections, as the services dealt with in this Thing relate but don't particularly interact in my practice.


I am relatively-new tweeter, and still feel like I'm working at getting balance of work vs. minutiae right! Upon joining, I chose not to follow lists assembled by stars among the Twitterati,* instead following some people I knew of in LIS sector, individuals I read the blogs of etc: I then followed people who were interesting/relevent within their feeds, and so on. Once again, I subscribe to the Ned Potter view on this.**

I have found tweeting regularly to be difficult for several reasons: I feel no-one will be interested in what I have to say; I struggle to phrase myself in 140 characters; I'm also technically not allowed to social network during work time. However, I do find the 'conversation' of interacting on Twitter useful. When I log on, I tend to scroll back an hour or two to get a flavour of what’s happening, then follow along, occasionally butting in when I feel I can contribute (not very often!). Attending #npc2011 helped, as it gave me a whole heap of Twitter IDs (and a justification for adding them!) - this has given me several more good people to follow. 

I still can’t get up to speed with live-tweeting at events; I'm not a quick-enough typist, and am always afraid of missing something whilst I struggle with my unresponsive phone. Still, my attitude is greatly changed from this time last year, when I was ignorant of tweeting's usefulness. 


I have used Google Reader for quite some time, for personal as well as professional feeds - I mix these together as a rule, but will sometimes focus in one one area: for this reason, all my feeds are sorted into thematic folders. My professional feeds are listed in a package on the right panel of this blog - whilst can’t say I recommend all of them, there’s a selection of interesting things and each one had at least a few useful things to add in the past. 

Personally, I will not be taking the cpd23 RSS bundle: it’s too darn large! I struggle to keep up with my existing feeds, and can’t stand deleting unread articles! Generally, I look for feeds which update less than 50 times a week, and which deliver a substantial part of the article, not just a headline or the first four lines: there are exceptions to this rule (mostly in the Geek News sector), but it’s the only way I’ve found to keep feed-reading from taking over my life!


This service was new to me (as I believe it was to most participants), but I downloaded the plug-in and began using it to comment on interesting sites. Everything seemed pretty nice, and its functionality replaced the text file I tend to pop half-read interesting pages into for later perusal, as well as negating the need to share every link I find using Twitter.***

However, when I wanted to go back to a page I had been reading, I logged into Pushnote and... couldn’t find how to look at my own links. I can find how to delete links, but not how to go back to them eventually found my own links in the ‘Friends’ tab. Well, of course it is. It took me five minutes to find that; partly because I began to vent spleen in draft of this blog^ rather than calmly and rationally trying each of the screens available in both the plug-in and the Pushnote website,^^ but also ‘friend’ seems a counter-intuitive label for oneself (barring certain personality disorders). 

Overall, whilst Pushnote has it’s advantages, I suspect I’ll soon slide back to noting bookmarks in my trusty text file (mostly because I bookmark things I’ve not finished reading, and so shouldn’t be recommending them to peers/followers). The ability to cc Twitter into Pushnote posts is useful, but, only allowing 109 characters for comment suggests that there is further optimisation of link-shortening etc to be done.

Overall, I’m finding it hard to judge how useful Pushnote is going to be. Instead of delaying posting this blog, I think I’ll post an update on how I’m getting along as a post-script in a few days. So there’s something to look forward to!


* I like corny, hackneyed phrases which have fallen into disuse, okay?! It's the same reason I use 'blogosphere'...

** I do feel that someone might be looking at what's coming up on cpd23 and then writing a blog about it prior to it's launching...

*** Not that I tend to do this very much; my reading is historically at least 7 days behind the cutting-edge, and I often first stumble across things only after they’ve had their brief flare of popularity and are already becoming redundant/ridiculed/memes.

^ Believe it or not, I do draft these things...

^^ This is already something I've identified to work on in PPDP; scorn should not be my default setting!

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