• Travel

    In Palo Alto

    I’m in Palo Alto for a few days (I’ll explain why in a later post). We’ve had some excellent meetings at The Institute for the Future and SocialText (where I saw Dan Bricklin chatting away – when I chaired T171 Dan Bricklin was one of the main characters in the history of the PC). But really this post is an excuse to show the obligatory Facebook shot: It’s the geek equivalent of the summer bay shot in Australia.

  • higher ed,  Weblogs

    Technorati as scholarly metric

    The other day my technorati authority finally nudged past 100. This is significant for me because in my annual staff appraisal meeting last year one of the goals I set myself was to achieve this. I did this because I wanted to test the whole staff appraisal system, and as part of my campaign to get blogging recognised as a scholarly activity, in the Open University at least. Having measurable outputs then is a means of bringing blogging in to the fold – like publishing a number of journal articles, or delivering a number of presentations. It’s measurable, therefore it’s real in the eyes of official processes. Having achieved my…

  • web 2.0

    Social networks – the definition thing

    During the recent Economist debate on social networks, danah boyd pointed out that people were including lots of examples that weren’t social networks. She suggested that we define our terms rigorously. While she’s right that it’s difficult to have a debate if we’re actually talking about different things, this getting bogged down in definition is a habit that bedevils academic discourse to the point where we spend all our time debating what it is we will be debating. Quick joke: How many academics does it take to change a lightbulb? A: What do you mean exactly by an academic? And in what context are you using change? What type of…

  • Asides

    DIY Despair

    If you haven’t come across them Despair Inc offer parodies of those motivational posters you see up on the office wall of a David Brent type. Some are very funny indeed. You can also create your own, so here is mine. This is what someone said to someone I know recently when discussing a project. If I wasn’t moving to an open plan, I’d have it up on my wall. (image – TPorter2006 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tporter2/1392077364/).

  • e-learning

    Pity the Google generation

    (RadioFlyer007 – http://flickr.com/photos/radioflyer007/402409100/ ) First they’re told they are the cut and paste generation, then they’re told they don’t exist. John amongst others points to the British Library research looking at people’s use of virtual libraries. The headlines of the report are that: i) For some habits there is little evidence that youngsters use the internet particularly differently to others, we all have bad habits ii) The behaviours people exhibit are: Horizontal information seeking, lots of time navigating, view rather than read, squirreling (ie downloading for later use), quickly assess authority for themselves. iii) Young people do not find library sites intuitive and prefer Google iv) Children make narrow relevance…

  • Facebook,  twitter,  web 2.0

    Disaggregated communication

    I was chatting with Tony Hirst the other day and we were reflecting on how varied our communication methods were amongst the Facebook project team (Tony, Stuart Brown, Liam Green-Hughes and me). We sometimes use Facebook itself to have a discussion, or we might have an email exchange. I can’t really see any reason for why we use one instead of the other at any particular time, but these tend to be discussions along the lines of ‘have you seen this?’ Then there are our blog posts and related comments. Sometimes we will respond to each other’s posts in our own blogs, other times we will add a comment, but…

  • e-learning,  higher ed,  web 2.0

    The Economist debate – my 2p worth

    As most people have blogged, there is a debate on social networking in higher education over at the Economist. Ewan Macintosh takes the pro side. For what it’s worth here was the comment I posted: In some ways the argument is irrelevant – it’s like asking ‘is alcohol beneficial to study?’ You could argue either way, but regardless of what we think students are going to use it anyway. But, that aside, let’s look at what SNS offer – a sense of community, peer support, enthusiastic users, engagement with technology, resource sharing, democratic participation – hmm, these are all things we’ve been desperate to have in higher education for years.…

  • Facebook

    The Facebook lessons

    (avlxyz – http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=2077892948&size=l) So, as I said in my last post, this will be the year Facebook fades away for many of us. It won’t disappear – I’ll probably have a Facebook profile still, but I just won’t use it much, rather like I have a LinkedIn profile that I never do anything with. So, before it goes and we become all dismissive about it, here are some of the good things the Facebook experience taught me. I am focusing here on personal lessons rather than the more general business models, or social network success factors which have been widely commented on (e.g. having an open API): Social networking wasn’t…

  • Facebook

    Facebook – the holiday romance

    (Steve Sawyer – http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevesawyer/1443530999/) One thing is certain for this year – it will be the year we fall out of love with Facebook. I know, I know, we only fell in love with it last year. As I’ve commented before, my Facebook use has dropped off considerably with the use of Twitter, and this week I’ve seen D’Arcy Norman announce his deFacebooking (as he put it in his status ‘The ugly, it burns’), and via my Twitter stream Scott Wilson performing a kind of Facebook striptease, or deconstruction, as he removed the various apps, left groups, deleted his profile pic, etc. Yes, Facebook will definitely fade this year. But…

  • Social Objects

    Social objects – meaningful or meaningless

    (Image ‘Socializing’ Noamgalai http://www.flickr.com/photos/noamg/218169158/) This is a follow up to my earlier post on Social Objects in Education, and is an attempt to wrap up some of the discussion around it and the thoughts these have prompted. In my Twitter stream John Connell said he wondered if there was something of a tautology around social objects. I think I know what he means, and it relates to a point I’ll come to later on definitions. Put simply the argument goes something like ‘what’s a social object?’ Answer: ‘It’s an object that’s social.’ Something is a social object if it acts as a social object – the danger with this kind…