Day 26: Bring on the Media

Back to the daily Comment Challenge tasks and I’m hunting down some A-V apps to diversify commenting and make it more dynamic. I’ve had a few words to say over the past week or so on my commenting using Seesmic, so I won’t bang the drum again. If you haven’t read them, just type ‘Seesmic’ into the search pane and you’ll find them and samples of video comments and posts. Let me say up front that I have nothing against words; love ’em, but this is the 21st century, this is Web 2.0 people, so let’s get a little more adventurous. That’s my rallying cry as I feel the claws hanging on hard to the tried and true. I feel it every day as many, many of the much-touted web-savvy Gen-Y in my patch resist the new e-learning ways like crazy!

This morning I checked out and installed Snapvine. This is audio-blogging and commenting which can be done online or via your mobile. If you decide to give mobile blogging a go, you will need to choose your dial-in country from a drop-down list, and validate your phone number with a code. This makes blogging on the go quick and easy; for once, it’s going to be a faster experience than typing words into your keypad. Snapvine, like Seesmic logs all of the posts and comments at your own central Snapvine blog. This is a newcomer to my blog tools, and I’m trialling it for the rest of the month of this Challenge, so you might like to help me out and have a go; it’s over there in the left sidebar under ‘Sounding Stuff.’ And remember, with an audio comment no one can see your bad hair!

Facebook? Yes. It qualifies because it encourages comment through your Facebook social network.  I’ve installed the Wordbook plug-in on my other blog Groundling; this posts a notification with image into my Facebook pane so friends can drop by and comment. It’s my other blog because my Facebook network is overwhelmingly comprised of people in that niche area.

Flickr is perhaps the visual blog par excellence also with comment capability. What more can I say about this free (or pro for $) application that hasn’t already been said. I use it in various ways which boil down to storing and sorting my photos (and short videos … I have a pro account) so they are quickly accessible from anywhere on the web. This year I am taking part in the 366 Photos group (groan … why am I a sucker for these challenges?) A smallish group of us capture an image a day during this Leap Year of 366 days, and post to the group. It’s a sweet way to stay in touch with everyone, share our worlds, and to leave comments … which we do.

Three out: serial commas, barcamps, and babies eating lemons

TARDIS

Image by benleto via Flickr

And on the 20th day, they clicked three times before they rested. Who thought this one up? The 31 Day Comment Challenge became silly today with Three Links Out. We had to go to a familiar blog, click on a link, click on another link there and after landing and dusting off, look around and leave a comment. What did I find?

Well it all got surreal to be honest. On the first couple of blogs the links came to a grinding halt just two clicks out … dead end stuff. PS, lots of blogs don’t have Blogrolls, so you have to plough through postings to find a likely link. So, back I went to ground zero … my own Blogroll. From here I decided to go a blog premised on good design and great ideas, and find where that led. OK. Here I went again, feeling a bit like Doctor Who in the Tardis. You know the bit where he jiggles all the levers and doesn’t know where he’s landed till he emerges blinking into the sun/moon/other light of a planet somewhere.

TARDIS

Image by benleto via Flickr

And on the 20th day, they clicked three times before they rested. Who thought this one up? The 31 Day Comment Challenge became silly today with Three Links Out. We had to go to a familiar blog, click on a link, click on another link there and after landing and dusting off, look around and leave a comment. What did I find?

Well it all got surreal to be honest. On the first couple of blogs the links came to a grinding halt just two clicks out … dead end stuff. PS, lots of blogs don’t have Blogrolls, so you have to plough through postings to find a likely link. So, back I went to ground zero … my own Blogroll. From here I decided to go a blog premised on good design and great ideas, and find where that led. OK. Here I went again, feeling a bit like Doctor Who in the Tardis. You know the bit where he jiggles all the levers and doesn’t know where he’s landed till he emerges blinking into the sun/moon/other light of a planet somewhere. Continue reading “Three out: serial commas, barcamps, and babies eating lemons”

Cinco de Mayo or Day 5 of the Comment Challenge

Now Cinco de Mayo is huge elsewhere, but it kind of passes us by down here in Australia, a bit the way Australia Day would in Mexico. There you go!

However what does unite us globally on a daily … seemingly hourly basis what with television, Twitter, Facebook et al … are words and images, faces and voices of strangers. Eerily, when you’re engaged in a challenge like this one … to become a better blog citizen by sharpening up your communication skills … I reckon we’re doing the long-term cause of international harmony no harm at all. Yes as bloggers we’re probably all homophilic and so on; Michele Martin on the Bamboo Blog introduced me to the term a week or so back. Comment followed on the larger tendency we have as social herding beings to hang out with like-mindeds, and as bloggers to stick within our own niche … the birds of a feather syndrome. I mean look at the way groups and circles work on Flickr and Facebook to name two social-networking apps. Doesn’t mean we have to stay within our own playgrounds though; wandering a little further beyond the safety fence can bring its own thrills and value add to social capital.

Like many died-in-the-wool educators and other people of good will, I’m keen to push the boundaries of my own and others’ thinking whether it’s round the block or somewhere far, far away. The proliferation of technologies enabling instant communication gives opportunity to share in and debate many collective wisdoms. Add accessibility and the will to change for the better, and I remain ridiculously optimistic perhaps that present and future citizens of the 21st century and beyond can have a real chance to set their own agenda.

And Day 5’s task? To comment on a blogpost I didn’t agree with. Well I guess I put a dissenting (but I hope kindly) point of view to a young’un from the lofty heights of my own great experience! Haven’t heard back yet, but if I do I think the debate can only enrich both sides of the fence … the way that accepting diversity of race, beliefs and so on will need to happen if we’re going to claim the 21st century we all desire for our children and theirs.

Video and Blogging: the chatter increases

It’s been a while between drinks here on Spinning … . I’ve been engaged in a blogging and life-activity sense elsewhere. Not that I haven’t been busy in the world of e-learning, but it’s been the Clayton’s blogging (blogging you do when not blogging) i.e., tweeting, instant messaging and so on which has been occupying me. The whole Twitter universe seems to have expanded incredibly in the past week; I am being followed by hordes of people suddenly (hmm … another spammy manifestation which makes me feel as though I am being ‘collected’ randomly). Quite a few of my colleagues are suddenly ‘getting’ the point of Twitter. Me, still not sure, though good for a quick notification, help me out here, late night roundups of activity sort of thing.

Tom and Me on Seesmic
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

It’s been a while between drinks here on Spinning … . I’ve been engaged in a blogging and life-activity sense elsewhere. Not that I haven’t been busy in the world of e-learning, but it’s been the Clayton’s blogging (blogging you do when not blogging) i.e., tweeting, instant messaging and so on which has been occupying me. The whole Twitter universe seems to have expanded incredibly in the past week; I am being followed by hordes of people suddenly (hmm … another spammy manifestation which makes me feel as though I am being ‘collected’ randomly). Quite a few of my colleagues are suddenly ‘getting’ the point of Twitter. Me, still not sure, though good for a quick notification, help me out here, late night roundups of activity sort of thing.

And then of course, Facebook got instant messaging a day or so back. Well that opened another little time-wasting can o’worms didn’t it? So the adaption to quick messaging seems to have come of age, at least in its present state.

But from where I sit, the big chat right now is all about the proliferation of video in blogging … the next big thing? Suddenly there are easily-embeddable and more sophisticated video apps and plug-ins coming available for blog use. The Seesmic video comment plug-in for WordPress looks to be an interesting development as does 5 Mins Smart Player. I’ve downloaded Seesmic’s plug-in for this blog, and await with interest the reaction by readers. Will words win over pictures? Does the design make it sufficiently attractive and simple enough to encourage use?

And I wonder whether Gen-Y will take this up faster than other Gens out there? They’re supposed to be the visually-literate gang aren’t they?

PS And why didn’t I post this as a video? Because I can write (as I am) in my pyjamas and no one would ever know! Now put a camera on THAT ….

Animoto: instant videomaking but is it art?

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my niece’s wedding. I’d been feeling guilty about the dozens of digital images I had lurking in iPhoto and my tardiness in getting them out there for sharing as I’d promised. Truth is, I was looking for an app that would make putting a slideshow together quick and easy. Yes I have FotoMagico which I enjoy using, and there’s always the option of putting together a slideshow up on Flickr, or posting to my .Mac gallery or, or or … but I knew I didn’t have the time for fiddling with all that Ken Burns effect stuff; slideshows aren’t what they used to be these days … thank goodness.

And then yesterday I read Ewan McIntosh’s update on Animoto, which now allows users to create and download videos created from still images. Continue reading “Animoto: instant videomaking but is it art?”

Social Media: Who Needs them?


They are not called social media for nothing. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of these sites designed to bring people together for fun, profit, procrastination, support, catchups, and now I discover, to drive your blog traffic! Aha.

I felt overwhelmed when I saw Problogger’s list of possible sites to explore as Task 30: Explore a Social Media Site the penultimate task of the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge. I ticked off the ones I’m already familiar with, or use regularly, or not so regularly. I’ve been a bit slack with Delcious of late, and I’m not a great Twitter ‘follower’ I have to say. Too many randoms:

  • Facebook – mine
  • Delicious – mine
  • Flickr – mine
  • Twitter – mine
  • YouTube – not going to share. Stupidly silly stuff … I have my reputation you know!

Now I could have picked one randomly from the list to get the task done, but how could I resist this Pandora’s box of goodies!

One pot of coffee later, I’ve decided Linkedin does it for me. It has the potential to provide clusters of contacts, or communities of practice (in academic-speak) with a tonier look and feel than Facebook, which I still love by the way.

I’m going to take Linkedin for a spin. Newsvine appeals too.

Do I need another social bookmarking site? Nah … Delcious rules!