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.