Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twitter power user shows how

Some great tips for using Twitter to access rich information

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

As always, things never go to plan

We had a massively long conversation with Zina and Chris last night. Both are involved in developing a new website for their respective places of work, and both are interested in ideas for incorporating social media and more social practices.

I remember 2 core principles being discussed:

Spread content widely, using tools that aid efficiency, and tiw it all together again on the main central site.

Better to ask individuals in your organisation to blog, vlog, tweet etc about the organisation, then to set up an "organisational" Twitter or Facebook accounst that will only die an organised death through lake of authenticity. Detail of this idea was in the discussion, and Chris mentioned an article with words to this effect on Idealog. Chris, I hope you can find the article for us...

Below is rough notes and links from last nighst rather intense discussion:

Wikis as websites:
OUSA Youtube needs to be managed better. Needs responses to comments, needs to make favs and playlists. Use the features.
Also, once you use the features on Youtube, embed the channel on OUSA website using embed codes provided by Youtube.
Upload videos to multiple services at once (saves time, makes a backup, spreads)
Local webdesign businesses
Both have their own Content Management Systems
YahooPipes - Once you have spread your data out across the popular Internet, bring it all together on OUSA. You can use Yahoo Pipes to bring it together, as well as for media monitoring, research etc. This blog is full of crazy ideas for Yahoo Pipes:
SCOPE Art Journal uses Wordpress as a CMS

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pull yourself together!

So, if you follow my advice you will have distributed yourself all over the Internet. You'll have not just one blog going, not just one video account, not just one photo and image account, bookmarks, etc.. but, its important that you tie it all together somehow. You can do this 2 ways I reckon:

1. Create a navigation menu on a central website that points to all the places you exist
2. Bring in all those places via their RSS feeds and display them on one central page

Let's look at both ways.

Here's me with a navigation menu (as well as a bit of RSS content being pulled in)
And here's me 100% RSS

See you tonight (Tuesday) at the Otago Polytechnic's Forth St Campus Community Learning Centre, 6 - 8pm.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tonight will be interesting

We are coming together again after a month apart! And we have a new venue. These things could make or break our little Dunedin group interested in social media.

But tonight I'm expecting 2 new faces and at least 2 old faces. A designer from the university wanting to know how she might incorporate social media into the website she is re-jigging; a usability consultant who is interested in social media generally and who comes to these Tuesday nights; Chris from the university business school interested in similar things as the designer; and myself who wants to share some research I've been doing in Otago Polytechnic's use of social media.

So, see you there I hope. The Otago Polytechnic's Forth St Campus Community Learning Centre, on Union St across from the Bill Robertson Library.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New venue confirmed

Ok, we have a new venue, this time with a projector, good group working space, and quieter (I think we'll have it to ourselves even!). It seems we have some more interest from people at the University too, so they'll enjoy the proximity.

We are now at the Otago Polytechnic's Forth St Community Learning Centre (which is actually on Union St East!) Here's a map:


View Otago Polytechnic Community Learning Centres in a larger map

We're back on deck

Hey ho! Just landed in from San Francisco (sounds fancy hey) and keen to see us come together on Tuesday nights again starting September. There has been a little burst of energy in Dunedin over the past month, with a seminar held for the Otago Chamber of Commerce to top it off.. The Twitter notes look encouraging, and some of these high rollers might even be interested in dropping in with us on Tuesday nights to see what could happen if we get heads together..

I'm aiming for a new venue that is better set up for show and tell, has better parking, and is a little quieter.. The Common Room in town was setting up something upstairs, but I'm thinking maybe the Otago Polytechnic Forth St Community Learning Centre. Still have to ask if it'll be ok.. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not too sure?

I'm not too sure what to do tonight.. but we always come up with a number of things based on who turns up.. so this one depends entirely on who turns up!

Chris points to
an interesting write up by a local media consultant about the level of interactivity in Dunedin through social media.

One challenge I'd love to have a go at is creating a full social media presence from nothing for someone who doesn't even know you're doing it.. a Youtube channel based on playlists and favs, a Flickr based on tags and favs, a Delicious account based on tags.. and pool it all into Facebook perhaps...

Monday, July 20, 2009


Have you been caught without your WYSIWYG editor yet? You know, when you're leaving a comment on someones blog, or trying to add a description to a photo and the text input box doesn't have the button for creating a link, making bold, or making italic.

Let's drill this tonight. It comes in very handy.

1. Do a Google search for "what is the HTML for a link?". If your first result is something from W3Schools - you're on a good path. But just about anything will do.

2. Leave a comment to this post and use the HTML to link to the page you found and are referring to.

3. Now find me a good video on HTML and leave me another comment with a link to it.. but this time I want it all in italics

4. Finally, what does Wikipedia have to say about HTML.. is there a course on HTML at their sister project Wikiversity? So what you can find and leave another comment with a hyperlink and one word in bold and another word in italics.

5. If you think you have the hang of it, try commenting me a picture. I wonder if that one will work.

See you tonight at 6pm

Monday, July 13, 2009

What will we do tonight?

No need to ask! Chris has it all layed out:
  1. Linking things together
  2. Work collaboratively to create a presence for something
  3. Mingling a bit more
  4. Creating a youtube chanel

Let's set up a social media business tonight.. and here's our ad:

And check out the Otago Polytechnic's Youtube channel. Notice no videos in it? Can you tell me how it works?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creating a webpage with Jimdo

This one comes recommended by Jonathon.

Jimdo is a WYSIWYG web hosting service.[5] Jimdo offers JimdoFree, a free web hosting service, and JimdoPro, a premium service. Jimdo is operated by Jimdo GmbH, a Hamburg, Germany-based company.

Jimdo's help pages.

How to:
  1. Its pretty easy to create an account with Jimdo so as to get started creating a website.. but you will need to be able to access your email account to confirm the new account and get started on your website.
  2. When you have created an account, the email will issue you a link and a password - open the link in a new tab, and copy the password to use for signing in.
  3. The settings for changing your password are behind a large icon row on the right. All editing is in context and easy to use


SlideShare is a presentation sharing website where users can upload, view and share presentation files.

Wikipedia July 2009

How to:

  1. Set up an account on
  2. Upload a presentation made in powerpoint or open office or similar, by clicking the big link at the top that says "upload"
  3. Then click the big button that says "Browse and select files"
  4. Locate file and upload
  5. Once the upload completes, you will see fields for adding a Title, Tags, Description etc. Fill these in.
  6. If you like, you can click the "Browse and select files" button again, and upload multiple files
  7. Finally, click the big "Publish All" button
  8. If you have an MP3 recording of yourself talking through the presentation, you can upload it and synch it with your slides. To do this, view your slides on Slideshare, and click the link that says "add MP3"

No requests

Ok, so I've been watching blogs and tweets and no requests for how-to demonstration have come through.

I did get a request by email though. Felicity would like to learn how to embed audio with a slide presentation she has on so as to make what they call a Slidecast. is kinda like the Youtube of Powerpoint.. so for those who like making powerful points, or like to get their message down into a nicely illustrated sequence of events, Slideshare is for YOU!

Obviously teachers and students should know how to get the most out of Slideshare, but I am noticing a lot more businesses using it to create short sharp messages about their products and services as well.

So lets spend a little while checking out Slideshare.. starting as always with creating an account.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Social Media and Social Change in New Zealand

Picked this one up from a Tweet by Saah Stewart: Social Media and Social Change in New Zealand by Simon Young.

My presentation to a group of students from Regis University who were visiting New Zealand. Their interest was in the highly successful "Like Minds, Like Mine" campaign, and also the use of social media for social change. Interestingly, although LMLM currently doesn't use any social media, the principles are the same: have a clear simple message, build relationships and spark conversation.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Delicious (formerly, pronounced "delicious") is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. Delicious uses a non-hierarchical classification system in which users can tag each of their bookmarks with freely chosen index terms (generating a kind of folksonomy). A combined view of everyone's bookmarks with a given tag is available; for instance, the URL "" displays all of the most recent links tagged "wiki". Its collective nature makes it possible to view bookmarks added by similar-minded users.

Wikipedia June 2009

A Folksonomy is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content; this practice is also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging. The word folksonomy is a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy.

Wikipedia June 2009

How to use Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free web based calendar application offered by Google. The interface is similar to desktop calendar applications such as Microsoft Outlook. It enables users to view, add, and drag-and-drop events from one date to another without reloading the page. It supports view modes such as weekly, monthly, and agenda. Users can "quick add" calendar events by typing standard English phrases, such as "Dinner with Michael 7pm tomorrow". Events are stored online, meaning that the calendar can be viewed from any location. In the case of a user experiencing a hard drive failure, it also means that no data is lost. Multiple calendars can be added and shared, allowing various levels of permissions for the users. This enables collaboration and sharing of schedules between groups or families. There are also general calendars available for importing into one's account which contain national holidays of various countries. Google Calendar is integrated with various other Google services.

1. Log in to Google
2. Click the link on your Google page that says "Calendar"
3. Enter in a few events for the week to get started with your calendar
4. In the left navigation area, click the drop down arrow that is next to Your Calendar, and change the colour
5. Click the same drop down and select Calendar Settings, change the title etc. When you see the embed code DON'T copy it yet. Instead click the link that says "Customise the colour, size and other options"
6. Adjust settings to 400 pixels (so that it fits in your blog) and other settings to make it look the way you like.
7. Copy the embed code (it automatically updates as you adjust settings) and paste it as a new post in your blog.

Its Tuesday night again

You know, I quite like Tuesday nights. I get to show off new things to people who are actually interested in social media.

So tonight, Chris asks how to set up an interactive calendar and for a look at Delicious again. We can do that! I reckon Google Calendar is pretty useful, and is very easy to get it together, add multiple users, subscribe to its RSS feed, and embed it on your website. So let's check that out.

And we really must check out Delicious - especially now that Chris is finally using Firefox. (yep, its TwitterFox you need Chris. Nice to see Veronique being social, dunno where all the others are?).

Veronique points to the unstoppable Sue Waters over in Australia (I taught her everything she knows ;).. she'll love that.. let's see if she finds us with that mention..
See Veronique's post with a link to Sue's tips for new bloggers.

So, hope to see some of you tonight.. we have some more tools to learn. We'll start with a chat first as usual, and then its over to a computer with a new blog post entry at the ready.

New videos worth watching

I picked up a few new videos about social media worth watching:

Linking Lebanon: Activists Experiment with Social Media

Eight minute video documenting the development of digital activism in Lebanon as a tool for organizing, facilitating outreach, encouraging dialogue and raising money. It also sets the stage for more experimenting with Social Media for social change.

Using Social Media for Internal Communication
Abi Signorelli, Director of Internal Communications at Virgin Media talks to James Bennett, Online Managing Editor at Melcrum about the use of social media for internal communication.

How To Use Social Media To Get A Job (embedding disabled!)
The credits crunched, the recession is biting and certain jobs are getting harder and harder to come by, especially by the traditional means of finding employment. To get ahead of the game you need to utilize the social media world in your quest for another job. That's right, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin can all help you to find that next pay-check... here's how!

The Company as Wiki
A fast paced over view of how a US company called Best Buy is using social technology to improve store communication and productivity. Some interesting approaches in this - if you can see past the hype and blue skies.

The social media playlist

As always, these videos are added to the Social Media playlist where you can see lots of pretty interesting videos about social media and related topics.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Felicity arrives, and all plans change. We are now loading photos to Flickr from our mobile phones.

This sort of funny bizness is called moblogging. This is what Wikipedia editors have to say about moblogging:
Mobile blogging (moblogging) is a form of blogging in which the user publishes blog entries directly to the web from a mobile phone or other mobile device. A moblog helps habitual bloggers to post write-ups directly from their cell phone even when on the move. Mobile blogging is popular among people with camera-enabled cellphones which allow them to e-mail/MMS or SMS photos and video that then appear as entries on a web site, or use mobile browsers to publish content directly to any blogging platform with Mobile Posting compatibility.[1] [2]

Tonight, we will be using Flickr and our mobile phones to moblog photos.

  1. Create and account with Flickr
  2. Scroll to the bottom of your flickr page and click the link to tools
  3. To the right of the Tools page, there is a section about uploading to Flickr by email. Click the link that says "upload using your own private email upload address"
  4. Create a new contact in your phone and add the email address that flickr has given you
  5. Take a photo and send it to that email address (NB. Sometimes, phone providers do not give you a phone with the settings in it to send email.. if this is you, contact your provider and ask them fore the settings)
  6. View your photo on your flickr page, and click the link in the right that says "add tag", and type a word that will file this photo with other photos like it.

1, 2 skip a few: RSS, Delicious, and Widgets

I expect tonight we will have only a few - seeing as the snow day saw us skipping last week, breaking our rythm.

Speaking on snow day! Check out what I did that day:

So what about tonight!

Let's review RSS, look at Delicious and add widgets to our blogs. Chris Labes has been going great guns on her blog, making it fancy and taking the opportunity to requests demonstrations on the Tuesday nights. Veronique is right there with her, going further and offering back how to based on Chris' questions! Great Job V. Remember to post requests to your blog in the week before the workshops, so we make sure we're helping YOU develop social media skills.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Workshops and seminars

On Tuesday evenings between 6 and 8pm we meet in The Common Room (A cafe and computer suite on the corner of Bath and George St Dunedin CBD) where beginner and experienced alike come together to share know-how and discover new things about social media.

To start the evening we meet in the cafe and talk about things we'd like to know more about. When we have 2 or 3 things to look at, we move to the computers and follow along as someone demonstrates on a projector.

The beginners really appreciate the pace in these demonstrations, and the experts follow along while updating their twitter and blogs, and taking a new thing further. There is always something new to try and discuss.

If you would like to organise a workshop or have someone explain the opportunities of social media to you and your organisation, feel free to call Leigh on +64(0)21736539 or email

Useful information - a good way to sell

This video gives a lot of useful insights about the use of social media in a PR sense. The short and sharp sell line was in the back, with the info up front. This method works, especially in the social media sphere, where most people are actively engaged in looking for information and entertainment. But don't forget the 2 way. Anyone could leave a video response, or make a sharp critique of your work, and there it will be sitting right along side you. So be authentic, and give lots.

The smart thing about this ad, is not only is it on Youtube where it gets linked to all the other videos about Social Media, but that it has identified a story that relates to its product and produced a genuinely informative video. The sell is not too up front, although I would have put it even further back, ie.. not in the video where it to easily gets dismissed as just another push.

Imagine you're in the tourism business, lets say a heliskiing business.. Find a story that you know all your most likely customers will want to know about.. like, what's the best way to find the cheapest air ticket to NZ.. there's probably a better example, but that's just off the top of my head. Make an informative video about that, and see how many views it gets. It doesn't have to have top quality production values, especially if there isn't any other videos to compete with.. it just has to be there, ready to answer the search query, and ready to relate to other videos remotely like it.

You could make a video on how to powder ski, but then yours would be one of a thousand, and is probably getting viewed mostly by people who aren't even considering heliskiing in NZ.

How bad do you want it Chuck!?

You gotta hand it to the Yanks. They sure know how to talk it up!

More social media videos here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs, competing with Google and Yahoo!. As of June 2008, Technorati indexes 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media.[2]
Wikipedia June 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009


For information about wikispaces:

Here is my wikispace
Here is a link to the workshop wiki

Getting Started

  • Click on the edit button above to put your own content on this page.
  • To invite new members, click on Manage Wiki and Invite People.
  • To change your wiki's colors or theme, click on Manage Wiki and Look and Feel.
  • To set who can view and edit your wiki, click on Manage Wiki and Permissions.

Need Help?

  • Click on the help link above to learn more about how to use your wiki.

The sweet spot..

I reckon we may have found the sweet spot in the social media workshops.

- but as an aside.. I couldn't stop watching this - I'm not sure why... EPISODE 11--"The Sweet Spot, Part 1"

Ever since we changed venues and Roger snatched a projector for us, I think we have the ingredients for keeping going at a pace that suites everyone, and in a way that keeps the workshops fresh and new.

First off, we start the night in the cafe. We spend a little time swapping stories of social media over the week, and each identify at least one thing we want to get done in the night. I try to group and pair people off according to their interests for the night, and get a list of about 3 - 4 things I might be able to demonstrate.

Then, I dunno where it came from, but I set up the projector and had the people interested in the first demo to follow me step by step on the projector. They each opened their blogs with a new post ready, and as I demonstrate, they follow along and write step by step notes to their blogs.

This way, at the end of the demo we each have written notes, and an example. And it keeps the pace right for everyone. If its going too slow, people can go on with other things and easily find a way back in when the demo catches up to them.. and it can't go too fast because I wait for everyone to catch up.

Now ideally, after doing a few demos like this, more and more people will start doing their own thing. I'd like to try and find a way to keep those people coming on Tuesday nights, just to keep the vibes going and gradually lift everyone's levels up.

One idea is to ask people to post to their blogs what it is they would like to do in the coming week. From that I could form up the 3-4 demos before the Tuesday night and txt message everyone what is planned for the night. From that, others can decide if its for them or not.

Also, this way I think new people can join in when-ever, and people can skip a night or two when-ever. The precarious point though, is that the free workshops are at this point sustained by people turning up.. I'm not sure what the longer term will be... maybe a paper money donation at the door each night?

Another goal is to try and go deeper into social media.. we are only touching the surface, there is so much to it, and a lot of opportunities for us in deep dark South NZ.. maybe even careers in it! How might we get the workshops going to a deeper level, while at the same time welcoming new comers? If it gets to that, perhaps the first hour is for beginner level things and the send for advanced?

Would be nice to get ideas from you all.. do you reckon we've found a sweet spot those who came last week?

Further on the theme of sweet spots:

How to Hit the Golf Club's Sweet Spot by Using Impact Tape - Wikihow

Sweet Spot - Wikipedia

The sweet spot of a tank - Youtube

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Social media for marketing a business

Here's a good reader on using social media to develop markets and business. What I'm wondering if I can develop a course or service for local Otago businesses along this vein? Is there, or will there be a demand for such knowledge and insights? Check out the 5th paragraph in the introduction where he describes the gains he made in his boutique tourism business:

  • Slashed my marketing budget by over 80%
  • Fired my publicist and her expensive monthly retainer
  • Increased subscriptions to my monthly news letter by 50%
  • Almost tripled my revenues
  • Increased my profits by 500%

Surely those claims would catch the attention of local Otago tourism businesses? But how might I go about getting their attention and selling my services to them I wonder? Especially when social media is not a big deal in the local scene...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Embedding Youtube Playlists

  1. Sign in to Youtube
  2. Find a video that you like
  3. Click the link that says Playlists
  4. Select an existing playlist, or if you do not have a playlist already, click the button that says Add
  5. Fill in the details for your new playlist and click the button that says Save Playlist Info
  6. Find another video you like that is similar to the first video, and click the link that says Playlists - selecting your new playlist from the list, and then click the button that says Add.
  7. Keep doing this, and create a collection of videos
  8. When you are finished starting up your playlist, view your Channel by clicking your Username in the top right of the Youtube website
  9. As you find videos you like on YouTube, click 'Add to Playlist' under the player to add them to your list. You can change the order of the videos in your playlist by returning to the 'My Playlist' page.
  10. The easiest way to embed a playlist is to create a custom player. Go to your YouTube account by clicking the link in the top right that says Account.
  11. Click "Custom Video Players", then "Create Custom Player". Select a color and format for your player, and then choose what is going to play in it—you can choose a playlist, your own uploaded content, or your favorites—and then click the "Generate Code" button.
  12. Copy and paste the code into your blog entry or web page

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to creat a Google Map

  1. Sign in to Google Maps
  2. Click the link that says My Maps
  3. Click the link that says Create New Map
  4. Name your map and give it a description
  5. Click save
  6. Find your location on the map
  7. Click the blue marker, move your mouse over your location, and click again to drop the marker
  8. Enter details into the popup box and then click OK
  9. Save your map
  10. Click the link that says link
  11. Click the link that is the pop up that says Customize and preview embedded map
  12. Adjust the map that is in this new pop up, and then copy the text
  13. Paste that text in your blog, and publish blog

View Awakino in a larger map

How to make a hyperlink

This one's for Afife.

This is a link to a video on how to make a hyperlink.

Here is some information on what a hyperlink is!

Here is a link to Leigh's professional blog

Its wikis again!!

I thought last weeks format worked pretty well hey? We start by sitting down away from the computers, going round each person and coming up with a plan each for the night. I think its a good way to get to know where everyone else is at, and to get a sense action before we zonk out in front of the computers.

I'm pretty keen on showing people Wikispaces. Its a free and very easy place where you can set up your own wiki, even create a fancy looking website that is always quite and easy to update.

Good old Common Craft comes to the rescue again, and gives us Wikis in Plain English

So.. what shall we do with a wiki?

How about you set up your own wiki and start a CV for yourself.

Then, lets talk about a Social Media wiki where we can keep notes and collaborate on things...

Here's some help getting started with Wikispaces

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dealing with Youtube and other media

Hi everyone! We are back on deck with a new venue.

Corner of Bath and Goerge St. Watch me embed a map of the location!

View Otago Polytechnic Community Learning Centres in a larger map

Would you like to learn how to do that? Its much the same as with Youtube videos too.

Tonight we will learn how to embed media into our blogs AS WELL as how to set up an account on things like Youtube so that you find the best stuff for you're interests. You you don't have account on Youtube, then you're probably missing the best parts of it all! To you, Youtube must seem like a bunch of teenage home movies. Not so! The best stuff will reveal itself to you when you set up an account and start using it better!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This is a kind of guest book. If you've hung out with us exploring social media and you think you're going to keep it up, how about you comment in your blog so we can follow your progress? If you keep reasonably active with your blogging, we'll list you here:
  1. Felicity -
  2. Michael -
  3. Chris -
  4. Marc -
  5. Jonathan -
  6. Veronique -

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Michael Wesch lectures

Hey, take an hour out (there's nothing on TV anyway) and watch this lecture by Michael Wesch:

A Portal to Media Literacy

If you liked it, I'd recommend taking another hour out and watching his other lecture:

An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube. No link 'cause I'm going to let you find it :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Week 2: Finding Delicious links

Hello everyone, it was a great turn out last week, and even though we were thwarted by Twitter not letting us all through, we still managed to get some good runs on the board. I have seen quite a few follow through with Twitter accounts, with a special mention to Veronique who went the extra yards and wrote something to her blog about Twitter! Thanks V

This week we'll separate the group into those who have a Google Reader account and those who don't.

Those who already do have a Google reader account:

Your task is to research recent information on "Social Media" using the Delicious online bookmarking service. Basically you will be browsing what other people around the world have bookmarked about social media, and noting good finds to your blog.
  1. Go to
  2. You should be able to tell by the URL that you are looking at my delicious account, were I have bookmarked a number of items to do with social media.
  3. Browse the links in this list, and open things that interest you in a NEW TAB
  4. When you have finished browsing the list, look closely at the things you have opened, and prepare to write a post to your blog on the things that stood out for you most of all. Note what the link you like is, why you think it is important, and how you think you might use it in future.
  5. Now spend some time looking at bookmarked items that all delicious users have under "socialmedia". The URL therefore will simply be
  6. Notice the "Popular and Recent" link at the top of the list that will assist your browsing.
  7. Subscribe to the RSS feed for these bookmarks
  8. If you have time, write another post to your blog for anything you have found that you think Leigh should use in the course.
For those who don't have a Google Reader account:

  1. We will simply set up an account with Google Reader and use it to subscribe to information feeds like blogs and bookmarks. Review the notes from the last workshop.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Week 1. Microblogging (Twitter) + setting up a blog and/or applying a fancy template

Hello all, and welcome to our new participants.

Tonight, lets focus the first hour on Twitter. I suspect that twitter will help us all understand the nature of blogging more quickly. Twitter is becoming VERY popular, and to experienced bloggers, it seems to operate much the same as blogging has done for several years, but much more quickly, mainly because when you post to your twitter you are limited to 140 characters! Making it quick to write, and quick to read. For this reason, things like twitter are known as microblogs.

Here's a video showing you how twitter works:

It is my hope that by using twitter for an hour, the new comers will more easily appreciate how blogging works, and the veterans in the group will learn something entirely new and fun!

After that, the new comers have the option to set up a propper blog (here's notes on how from the last workshop), at the same time I'll show the veterans how to apply a fancy template with navigation tabs. Hope to see you all tonight at 6pm

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hic ups.. how to start?

I left with a bad feeling from the last workshop.. mainly because I always struggle with where to start!? It usually becomes easier when I get a sense of what people want to do, but at the same time - how are people meant to know what they want to do when they don't know what is possible?

Usually I start a workshop with an overview of social media. But I stutted, ummed and arghed, and probably left new comers feeling a bit bewilded and wondering about what they're doing here.

It seemed people were anxious to get in and "do some learning", but we're back to the first problem.. try what and why? Perhaps a workshop on "social media" is too broad.. and I need to simply focus.. Tonight's workshop is on Twitter for example - make of it what you will? But as Beverly said, social media is not a linear thing, and engaging with it like this risks a very disjointed understanding of it. My approach has been to try and look at it as much as possible first, and see if a light turns on. But this has just as many problems, not the least over whelming people with new information.

For some people, the non linear approach of looking at things and seeing where questions and comments lead us seems to work to a point. It really depends on how willing people are to engage. We focused a lot on the makings of Wikipedia.. and that lead to a deeper understanding on how we can assess its accuracy and authenticity. But over all, many people are so new to it all, that it is hard to question or comment or engage generally - its just a task in concentration alone!

Eventually I bit the bullet and realised non linear is just as difficult as linear. So we knuckled down to setting up an RSS news reader, using Google Reader. Those new to the course all successfully set up an account and subscribed to at least 2 feeds. Here's a video by GoogleReaderHelp to get you thinking about how to use your reader effectively:

If video is a good way for you to understand things, check out GoogleReaderHelp's other videos.

One new person (sorry, names!) discovered a wonderfully quick way to search for feeds! Simply click the "subscribe button" and type in a subject search, such as "gardening with native new zealand plants". Google reader will search for social media (that being media created largely by people like you and I) and return information that includes: The title of the media item it has found, a snippet of the content, the website address that the item comes from, and how many people are subscribed to the feed. From this we have just enough information to decide whether to subscribe to the feed or not. I think this is a very quick way to find feeds that may (or may not) lead us to new and interesting information in the future. Think of feeds as pathways to future information, rather than static and already available information. You're looking for feeds that appear like they will provide you with information around your interest generally.

The Google Reader is hard for people to comprehend I find. A lot of people struggle to use it well, such as finding good feeds, and regularly checking it for updates. But it is fundamental for entering the social media scape. If you can work this tool out, it will help you access interesting media, and help you manage all that you find in an efficient time saving way. With all this stimulation will likely come inspiration and new ideas, which will hopefully lead you to want to create your own media, and that will see you becoming connected to people who eventually subscribe to your feeds. In time and careful management, you will draw yourself into deeper understandings, direct contact with experts, and you will start to feel the "social" side of the Internet.

Next week, I think we'll go linear again and look at Twitter. I think Twitter is useful in helping us understand how blogging and reading fit together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The next workshop 28 April

Social Media workshops.

Come and learn! You are invited to attend the second running of our FREE social media workshops on Tuesday evenings at the Princes Street Community Learning Centre.
  • Making sense of social media, what is it and how can I use it?
  • How to blog. Develop an online presence, network with others, and create your own websitein under 10 minutes!
  • Getting fancy with Youtube, podcasting, Flickr photos and online slide presentations!
  • Wikis! They're quick and a great way to learn new stuff.
  • Free software - save yourself a couple of thousand dollars hey!
  • The mash up! Bringing it all together, rounding it all off nicely, its up to you to make the most of it.
Tuesday nights at 6-8pm sharp

The Princes Street Community Learning Centre

Cnr Princes Street & Moray Place Dunedin

Commencing Tuesday 28th April 2009



Txt 021 736 539

Workshop 5, podcasting and then bringing it all together

Jean has requested a look at podcasting.. I think that would be good to check out for an hour before we tie the whole workshop off with a review of this distribution re centralisation method of using the Internet.

  • So on Tuesday night, lets start by opening up our GoogleReader and seeing what everyone has been up to.
  • Then open your blog from your reader and write a quite post that links out to things that other's in the group have done that inspires you.
  • We'll spend about 30 minutes on that before taking a look at podcasting. I'll explain what it is and do a demo, then its over to you for an hour.
  • Finally, in our last 30 minutes we'll try and get our heads around the idea of distributed networking, or "bringing it all together".

Basically - when you starting thinking of the Internet as one platform - like your Office software is one platform, then you know you are well on your way to developing solid network literacy.You have your videos over there, and there, you have your images here and there, you have your audio there, and your documents there and there, and it all ties together on your blog. It doesn't have to be your blog, but a blog rounds off all that you are learning nicely. Some people use Delicious to bring it all together, others use Facebook, or iGoogle - these are different tools that can be used for teh same purpose dependingon your preference. Tools to bring it all together.

The point is that you should be starting to think of the Internet as one big platform that you spread out all over.. and once you are spread out, or distributed over it, you set up a tool like a blog to manage it.

So this Tuesday night we will take a look at podcasting. Try to bring a headset with you for that, so we can record audio with the microphone. Podcasting doesn't have to be only audio.. maybe you want to podcast with video? In that case bring a web cam.

Oh, and another thing.. check out Phil Kerr's blog.. he's back blogging - sort of :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Workshop 4: Reviewing RSS and multi media, then looking at free software

You know, I get this funny feeling that we've forgotten that one thing I said to remember.. the Google Reader. Last week I asked a few people if they were checking their Google Reader and the responses where on the whole questioning what the RSS reader is for. So I think we need to review some of week 1.

As Sarah Stewart said once, blogging has more to do with reading then it does writing.. or something like that.. and I couldn't agree more. Beverly echoes the sentiment in her blog post recently. I spend most of my blogging time keeping on top of the 200 or so feeds I am subscribed to. (It sure beats the Sunday papers!) And from time to time, the reading, looking, viewing and listening I do when I go through my reader is the stuff that triggers me to want to write a blog post about something. It might be a comment about something, a shout out to a great idea, or a more academic deconstruction of some publication, what ever it is, it is usually always inspired by reading.

When I do post about what others have done, those others notice that and sometimes they respond. This is the networking bit, and when done well is what leads to what many call networked learning. When we manage to build a professional relationship with others through this sort of expressing and ourselves and connecting with others, that's when all this blogging stuff starts to make sense. That's when we start to get a deeper understanding of the value of social media to personalised learning and collaborative productivity. But it takes time and investment, 2 things we teachers are poor on.

So I think we should review RSS. Have a look who and what we are subscribed to, leave comments on those blogs, and maybe even write about what we have read on our own blogs. Depending on who and how you do it, this practice can lead to great things.

Then for some enriching fun, we should have another look at adding multi media to our blogs. Its easy, you know that, but it goes beyond embedding youtube movies that's for sure. We can do audio, maps, readings, charts, pretty much anything these days can be embedded in a blog. Its fun and makes us look like media experts.

Finally, if we have time, lets take a look at free and open source software - if only to become aware of what it is, how it works and how it relates to social media. In fact, I would go as far to say that free and open source software is the grand daddy movement that brought us the social media we have today.

Hope to see you tonight :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wikis are quick but I'll be late

Hi everyone. Tonight we have a workshop on wikis! But it might just as well be a review seeing as very few in the group appear to be practicing through the week. The workshop starts t 6pm as usual, but I will be about 30-40 minutes late as my flight gets in just before 6. Looking forward to seeing everyone, and hearing how last week went.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Workshop 2 Getting all multi media

It was a bit of a messy start to workshop 2 I'm sorry, we got through it though, even if we were all a bit flustered by he end of it. I find this video on Mike's blog reminds us why we're all here. And this video on Jean's blog perfectly captures how it all feels at the moment.

Thanks to Jill for stepping up to the plate and showing us Delicious. I'm pretty sure everyone can appreciate it is a valuable tool to have in the social media swag.

As an example here are my Delicious bookmarks for:

Tagging (that's delicious)
Social media generally
Vlogging (that's video blogging)

Jenny asked me to provide videos to help learn about this social media thing. Here's a playlist on Social Media I've been building...

I don't have one at the ready for "How to Blog" videos.. but I reckon that should be a group activity. As a group we should search for "How to Blog" videos on both Youtube and If we find good videos we should embed them on our blogs. At least 3 each hey!?

But videos only tell us so much. It might pay to Google search "How to Blog" and see how many print out instructions you can find. Blog those links too. Lordy knows you guys need the blogging practice :)

See you Tuesday week! I'll be 30 minutes later than 6pm.. my flight gets in at 6pm on Tuesday night, but I'll be in a cab directly to the CLC to see how we are getting on and to introduce WIKIS!!!

Delicious is a very powerful tool and it is hard to illustrate how useful it is. Try and spend some time getting to know it, even start using it.. its very useful for keeping track of websites, preparing reading lists, research, collaborative research, information management, generating RSS feeds, search, and much more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Workshop 1: a blog, online bookmarking, and an RSS reader is everything you need

We had the first workshop on Tuesday night, and didn't we set the pace early! These workshops will be full throttle, flying by the seat of our pants, jam as much in the 2 hours as we can. That said, I'll try to work out activities and such so that people get a chance to move a bit at their own pace and in their own direction.

Below is a review of what we did, as well as what you need to prepare for next week:

Set up a blog

So we all set up blogs. Here's the list I have:
We all practiced logging out and back in (good way to sort out user name and password issues). We all practiced writing a basic post, and adjusting the blog settings. Some of us quickly discovered the social side of blogging and left comments on each other's blogs.

Google Readers

Next we all set up Google Readers and subscribed to as many people's blogs in the workshop as we had time. I'm pretty sure I have everyone's in the list above, but if I missed you please leave a comment here.

Social bookmarking

We ran out of time for this, but I did quickly show delicious - a social bookmarking tool, and basically explain how it works. Jill gave it a glowing endorsement as she has been using it for some time now. Jill, if you're reading, perhaps you could write up something about Delicious on your blog? Something that explains what it is, and even how we can get started using it? Remember, often this information already exists so if you search and find a good video, or a good wikipedia article or other online resource, see if you can work out how to link to them ;)

Here's a video on how to set up a blog (for review) and in it is a brief mention on how to make hyperlinks:

What's next?

enrich your online self with multi media (youtube, flickr, slideshare, second life, etc)

I'll be showing you how to embed video, images and slideshows in your blog, as well as how to make your own videos, pictures and slide shows!

To prepare, see if you can put aside 55 minutes and watch this video: An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube. This video is a presentation that was given to the Library of Congress in the USA, and helps explain some aspects of social media - focusing on Youtube. Remember to press play and then press pause and let the red bar load some before you play it through. The video will only play as far as the red bar has loaded. Forget it if you're on dial up.. poor soul.

What to bring

Try and bring along some of the following items. If you have 2 or more of one of these, bring both in case someone doesn't have one:

Headphones (preferably the ones with a microphone on them)
Digital camera (fully charged and with the cables you need to connect it to a computer)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Part 1 workshops have started

I've started running social media workshops on Tuesday nights, 6-8pm at the Princes Street Community Learning Centre. We had a full house last week, and we spent the time getting a social media over view, using my own online presence as a basis, but responding to questions and comments as we went.

From blogs to video blogs - social interaction is important
I used the blog as the central defining element of social media - specifically its constantly updating, always new posting aspect of a website. With that, we looked at video "blogs" as Youtube User Channels, repeating the feature description of a regularly updated website, but introducing more of the social features, like contacts, bookmarked videos (favourites), comments made, visible profile, recommended videos. We then looked at as an alternative to Youtube. With the social tools highlighted, I stressed the point that passive consumption of media through search was not very effective as way of finding and engaging with social media.. and that making personal connections with people in these spaces was the best way to uncover the richness in social media.

Origins of social media
The birthplace of social media online is arguably, and at the time OurMedia launched on the back of it seemed to spark a flurry of commercial services such as Youtube, Flickr and other media sharing services that offered 'unlimited' file hosting and communication features. So we looked at the non-commercial side and origins to social media, starting with Ourmedia, then Archive, and then of course Wikipedia!

Conversation about copyright emerged, and we looked at Creative Commons licensing.

The RSS News Reader
I repeated the 2 important features of social media:
1. Websites that regularly update with new media
2. Social interaction features

and then introduced the 3 feature that brings it all together in a usable way, and so as to help facilitate connection and interaction:

3. The RSS News Reader. Perhaps the most important tool for engaging in social media, the newsreader enables people to subscribe to websites that regularly update with new media, and bring any new updates into a central and personalised website. If something of interest arrives, then the user can click through to where the media comes from and engage by way of the site's social tools. This sort of interaction often results in personal connections over time, and leads to new websites (or individuals) to subscribe to and follow.

Other stuff
We briefly looked at Flickr and SecondLife and mentioned CCMixter. There are many many social media sites people use, most people use several. I made mention of Facebook and pointed out the unfortunate features of Facebook that sever the potential connections across different services. (To connect with Facebook, you must join Facebook, a kind of market cornering strategy on the part of some social networking sites).

Learning skills
So after that hour and a bit overview we tried to decide in what order we might get our hands dirty and start using this stuff. It seems that to most people in the workshops, social media is a very new concept, and so they might prefer to follow my lead. I warned everyone therefore that in the long term they might come to see that my lead wasn't the best path for them to follow, but none-the-less they will pick up skills and considerations that will be transferable to what ever social media path they might like to follow later.

So the next few weeks will be focused on the following:
  1. a blog, online bookmarking, and an RSS reader is everything you need
  2. enrich your online self with multi media (youtube, flickr, slideshare, second life, etc)
  3. wikis! They're quick and they're organised
  4. free software - save yourself a couple of thousand dollars hey!
  5. the mash up! Making it all come together.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Call for the course?

Samuel Mann posts about a need for a new type of course that helps software developers aquire jounalistic skills. I think the Social Media course could help here. It uses software, from a social perspective, with journalistic analysis.