Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thing 27: Twitter

The reading I did convinced me that Twitter is a good tool in many situations, but it didn't convince me that it's a good tool for me. Instead, it left me feeling that I need to get a much more exciting life!

"What I'm doing now," is usually not that exciting! Most of the time it would be, "Messing around on the computer." OK, so that's too literal, but at work, I don't get much desk time, and at home, I have a terribly old slow computer, so when I'm on the computer at all, it's usually because I've made a point of staying after work to -- wait for it -- mess around on the computer!

Helene Blowers' depiction of the new digital divide (see previous post, "From Players to Guides") surprised me! I feel like I'm chasing after the new social media as fast as most people I know (Clue #1: do I mostly know people my own age, the Wrong Generation?), but I am nowhere near the "right" side of her digital divide. I'm still struggling way back at the starting post with being able to afford a newer, faster computer, which I could use at home, and on which I could play, as Helene would have us do.

OK, I think I've ranted that same rant already, sorry, but it's a big issue. The old digital divide still exists!

To return to Twitter: there is a great difference in Tweet value in the people I decided to follow! Many of them I will promptly un-follow. I'm curious to know what my fellow Thingers found valuable.

From Players to Guides

Check out this SlideShare Presentation from Helene Blowers. I'm following her on Twitter, and she sent us to this deck today.

Be sure to visit slides 8, 12, and 20!
Slide 8: The New Digital Divide (it's a big one, and a lot of us are on the wrong side)
Slide 12: using published knowledge as a path to exactly the right source(s) that can create new knowledge tailored to a new situation, in real time
Slide 20: Only subscribe to five blogs:
Librarian in, Lifehacker, LibraryStream, Wired, Learning 2.1

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thing 26: Ning

I joined the 23 Things On A Stick ning in the first round, but as you commented, it was toward the end of the list, and I was completing the list toward the end of the time allotted! So I didn't use it much. One friend, who is always ahead of me on these Things, already friended me for this round, and we exchanged comments.

I was decluttering my Thing blog recently and got rid of the Ning badge. It's back now. The widgets didn't appeal to me, since I don't have a music or YouTube collection. That goes on the Maybe Someday list.

I started a group for Hennepin County Library Thing-ers, but I didn't have an e-mail address to invite my friend. It didn't work to just put in her ning name. I also couldn't upload a new picture to replace the cruddy one I accidentally uploaded.

I hope this WILL be more social this time. I think we all have a better idea of using social networks since last time -- there's a whole lot of Facebook going on, for one thing, and it's a great way to keep in touch with friends at other branches.

None of the other groups seemed appropriate. I was trying to think of a group that would span across library systems, like "Librarians who depend too much on caffeine." Still working on it. "Librarians who Shhh!"--too confessional. Still looking for an idea for this. . .

I added a video of Marian the Librarian. Love that Shirley Jones!

I have been part of two nings, this ning from Round 1, and the Midwestern Tech Conference ning from last winter. Both were disappointing; if there was much social activity going on, I didn't find it. I did use the Midwestern Tech Conference ning for the content posted there. Maybe that is how we will use our 46 Things Ning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thing 25: Widgets and Gadgets

This was surprisingly frustrating. So many of the most useful widgets are about publicizing hits and visits to your blog. Not that many people come to my blog, so I don't feel great about publicizing it! Also, I didn't have good luck finding Blogger widgets that corresponded with the Word Press widgets in the "20 usability tips for your blog" article.

I set up the widget that will allow me to post by e-mail to my blog. I'm not sure how much functionality it really added, though.

I added a "Winston Churchill quotes, a YouTube gallery, "Interesting Photos on Flickr,"and had earlier added a countdown to the More Things deadline. It happens I also used Picture Trail widget, from the first 23 Things, in my Paper Baubles blog today. Widget-minded, I guess. I didn't like the ads on the Churchill widget.

None of the playful widgets, like the art, or quotations, etc., seemed like something I'd go out of my way to put on my blog. They seemed commercial and "cold," not unique or interesting.

I spent some time looking for pictures on some of the picture sites, but ended up going to Google images and because all of the pictures I selected had apparently opted out of Big Huge Labs. Then I switched to a PictureTrail flick, but I just stayed with the pictures I was confident of, since by then my hours on this Thing were piling up.

I enjoyed the "Typealyzer!" My blog type is just about opposite from the Myers-Briggs type that has remained consistent for me for over 30 years! That's good, though, because I was going for a particular style, one that fits well with the Type the Typealyzer analyzed! (Say that three times fast!)

I played around with the tag cloud too, but was ambivalent about the results.

My big goal, after doing this Thing, is to shape up my primary blog, "Paper Baubles," per the "20 Usability Tips for your blog," not a Thing 25-related goal, but the article was just what I needed to refocus my blog.

I might add some sound to my blog, and I definitely want to pursue backing up my blog. That is really useful -- I've been wondering if there was a way to back up, but hadn't gotten that far on my "explore how to" list.

I'm trying to keep pace with the Things this time and not have to do them in a rush at the end. So why am I doing them in a rush now? I don't know, it just works out that way! Today is the day I assigned myself to start Thing 26, so I'm declaring myself done for now. I;ve spent 4-6 hours on this, not completely excessive, but enough for me for now.

Once again, and I suppose this is an acceptable outcome, I'm left with a lot of things I'd like to continue to explore.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More Things! Thing 24: Pimp My Blog

Now I remember how much time you can spend playing around with the Things. I just spent half an hour looking for a new free Blogger template, but ended up with the one I'd already chosen from Blogger's limited repertoire.

I changed the number of posts to show only one at a time, and added an Archive gadget.

BLOG PROMPTS: How much have you blogged since you finished the 23 Things On a Stick?
What do you like about blogging? Have you found other blogs to read? Do you comment on others' blogs?

My blogging has slowed down. I closed down Ex Libris 2.0 with a link to the Substitute Librarian Blog, but I haven't been blogging much there because hours for subs have been so few, it didn't seem worth it.

I continue to post on "Paper Baubles," my books and reading blog.

I blog about my interests and enthusiasms. In the daily rush you don't get much of a chance to hold forth on a subject, or to think something through. On my blog I can do that, and edit too! I find out what I think by writing.

Thanks to the 23 Things, I have tons of blogs I follow. So many, in fact, that I'm not sure I can say I follow them! I subscribe to 60, which even as I write it sounds ludicrous. Time to prune some more. I have a handful of "web 2.0" blogs I follow, a handful of book reviews and book news blogs, a lot of general library blogs, and some arts and crafts blogs just for fun. I can't keep up with anyone who posts a lot, so I have gradually eliminated them from my list. They tend to be the more technical ones, and while I like to keep up, I'm not THAT interested!

I comment on a few blogs, but mostly just to say I like the post.

With my home computer hopelessly slow on the Internet, and very few hours at my desk during work, I'm going online at the public computers (at my favorite libraries that extend your time if there is no queue)for any and all things online. "More Things" is a higher priority than reading blogs, unfortunately.