Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 10 - Twitter and Wrap Up

It's All Over But The Tweets

For our final assignment, we're going to join the wild world of Twitter. Twitter has been around since 2007 and seems to be increasing in popularity to the point where you can't go a day without seeing reference to someone's tweet, either good or bad.

Twitter is called a micro-blog by some, as it serves the same purpose: to share your thoughts with the world (or a select group of people). In contrast to blogs however, Twitter limits your posts (a.k.a. tweets) to 140 characters, which makes it tough for those who like to type and type and type. You'll see a lot of slang and shorthand notation on Twitter, much like with cell phone text messages.

While Twitter often appears to be dominated by celebrity feuds or banal details of daily life (a 2009 study of 2,000 tweets broke them down as Pointless babble– 41%, Conversational – 38%, Pass-along value – 9%, Self-promotion – 6%, Spam - 4%, News – 4%), there are some good uses for it. For example, TPL uses Twitter to promote upcoming events and it has been used in a number of emergencies like the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

For this week's assignment, please follow the At Your Fingertips - Twitter guide available on the TPL iNet under Public Service -> User Education -> 01 Programs -> TPL at Your Fingertips. At the end, please start following tpl23things, torontolibrary, and one more Twitter account of your choosing. The make a post on your blog about your experiences and thoughts.

And finally, congratulations everyone, you have successfully reached the end of the 23 Things journey. It's been a fun and informative 10 weeks, and I've really enjoyed developing and delivering this course to you. Let's recap what we covered:

* Creating a blog

* Posting to and editing your blog

* Creating a Flickr account

* Uploading photos to your account

* Adding photos to your blog

* Exploring various Flickr tools

* Creating a Bloglines account

* Locating RSS feeds

* Subscribing to RSS feeds

* Photo editing with BigHugeLabs

* Using generators for fun and ideas

* Tagging and exploring with del.icio.us

* Creating gmail accounts

* Creating a Google Docs file

* Collaborating on a Google Docs file

* Finding and subscribing to podcasts

* Adding YouTube clips to your blog

* Creating a wiki and adding pages

* Using Twitter

Not to mention all the exploring and discovery of new Web 2.0 tools that you undertook on your own. I hope everyone feels more confident about using these tools at work and at home.

For those of you still catching up on previous assignments, I will be monitoring the 23 Things e-mail account over the winter.

For your final task, please complete the evaluation form I've e-mailed to your GroupWise accounts and send it me in Planning, 3rd Floor, NYCL.

Thanks for being a great group.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 9 - Wiki, wiki, wack

Another web 2.0 phenomenon in the last few years has been the concept of wikis, and in particular Wikipedia. Wikipedia currently has over 3,300,000 articles in English and hundreds of thousands of articles in dozens of other languages. But it wasn't always so impressive: here's a glimpse back to 2001 when the site was new and had a mere 8,000 articles.

Wikipedia has been compared favorably to Encyclopedia Britannica, cited as a valid source in court cases, and been at the centre of controversies over accountability and accuracy. Most recently a software tool called Wikiscanner was created which shows which articles were edited by particular computer IP numbers. Try it out - you'll be amazed which pages were edited from TPL computers.

Of course Wikipedia isn't the only wiki game in town - just the most successful and fastest growing. There are tens of thousands of other wikis out there, since thanks to the Web 2.0 concept it is quick and easy to create your own wiki. A great example is the Web Tour wiki creates by Frances West and others at the Lillian H. Smith branch, and used for user education.

This week I've created a wiki at tpl23things.wikidot.com. Go there to see the rest of this week's assignment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 8 - Do You YouTube?

Do you remember trying to watch video clips on the internet a few years ago? Postage stamp sized windows, jumpy images, and painfully slow loading seemed to be the standard features. Then PCs got better at displaying video, network connections sped up, and three guys from California decided to start a website with headquarters in a garage (the classic computer/dot com genesis). It's been just over four years since YouTube launched in November of 2005, but since then its influence, popularity, and infamy have been massive.

Within a year of the launch, YouTube had 100,000,000 clips being viewed daily, and 65,000 new videos being uploaded each day. A lot of people and companies took notice. Instead of fighting YouTube over copyright infringement, networks like NBC, CBS, and CNN began to see the value of having their shows promoted on the site and began developing original YouTube-only content. Google wanted a piece of the action and bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. To cap it off, TIME Magazine named the 2006 Person of the Year "You" and featured a YouTube style window and reflective cover.

It's not exagerating a great deal to say that you can find anything and everything on YouTube, from the stupid to the sublime, the bland to the brilliant, and the useful to the useless. Here's a few choice library related clips:

Your Life Work: The Librarian

Fucked Up Play at TRL

For this week's assignment, please do the following:

1. Go to YouTube and seek out a library or Toronto related video.

2. To the bottom right of the video window is button called Embed, which reveals a field with a some HTML coding in it. Click in this window and then copy the coding (Ctrl and C)

3. Open a new browser window, log into your Blogger account and start new post called Week 8.

4. In the composing window of a new post, there are two tabs in the upper right: Edit HTML and Compose. Click on the Edit HTML tab and then paste (Ctrl and V) the embed coding. You can then click on the Compose tab to write in your blog post as normal. Once you publish your post, the video will play directly from your blog.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 and add another video to your blog. Make a post about your YouTube thoughts and experiences. How could TPL use YouTube? Promotion? Explaining library services? Connecting with new patron groups?

When you're finished, send an e-mail to 23things@torontopubliclibrary.ca including the address of your blog.

Until next week....