Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Archive for the ‘Metablogging’ Category

Saturday Spam

Posted by lpearle on 20 September 2014

Cleaning out my spam filter and saw this:

spamTorn between guilt that a spammer can no longer find good information and not caring.  Leaning more towards the latter.

Posted in Metablogging | Leave a Comment »

Spammy Thoughts

Posted by lpearle on 27 May 2012

Between this blog and the one I manage for Amawalk Monthly Meeting, I get to see some interesting spam messages.  Here’s the header from one – it made me giggle:

Author : Helena Bonham Carter (IP: 199.116.86.141 , 199-116-86-141.5280enterprises.com)
E-mail : phoebecates@yahoo.com
URL    : http://digghits.com/story.php?id=341552

As if HBC would use Phoebe Cates as her e-mail alias!

A few years ago, I had a friend who worked for a SEO company.  His job was to be what he called a “sock puppet”, to comment blogs and websites as one of the company’s clients, linking back to their websites.  In any one day he might be a ceramicist, a plumber and a construction contractor, searching the web to find appropriate places to post and link.

Some of the spammers swear (by most holy God!) that they’re making money on their blogs… that the Amawalk information is “the best comment on the topic” they’ve ever seen… that if I used SEO this incredible post could have appeared on the first page of Google search results.  I wonder how many of them are from sock puppets like my friend, and how many are robotic spammers with a pre-programmed message.  And I wonder how many of my friend’s messages were ultimately deleted as being spam.

We talk about driving traffic to our blogs, there are seminars and workshops on how to become a Great and Influential Blogger, and one of the cardinal rules is to respond to your commenters.   Maybe I should start responding to mine, rather than assigning them to the spam folder and deleting them.

Or not.

 

Posted in Metablogging | Leave a Comment »

2011 Round-up, part two

Posted by lpearle on 1 January 2012

This year was filled with highlights and a few lowlights – but why dwell on the latter? The most important thing for me this year was learning with, and from, my friends, peers and colleagues. Some are librarians, some administrators, others teachers or “civilians”: my professional life has been made richer by knowing them. Note that I’m not using the overused acronym PLN or PLE, because I think a less jargon-filled world is a good thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conferences, Life Related, Metablogging, Professional organizations, Work Stuff | Leave a Comment »

The right tool for the task

Posted by lpearle on 30 January 2011

My response to Ernie?  Twitter serves some purposes, elist serve others.

Twitter reminds me of the philosophy class I took in prep school.  Our teacher started the year with assignments designed to teach us precision in language: define “me” in exactly ten words, or using no more than five words, define “soul”.  Our final was to define “wisdom” in 25 words (or less), and then write an essay defending our definition.  So Twitter’s 140-character limit feels like another exercize in precision.

But it’s not the same as communicating via elist.  Nothing like.

One of Ernie’s complaints seems to be that elist messages clog inboxes.  Are we really still at that stage when people don’t know how to create filters?  I have filters on my gmail, outlook and eudora mailboxes, and many messages never even hit my inbox.  I’ll happily send a “set up filters” tutorial to anyone still confused by their usage.

Now, there are some thing that Twitter is really good for, and I do use it.  Recently, however, I’ve started to hear people saying “oh, I can’t follow [big name in field] because they overtweet” and “there are too many tweets in [important hashtag] for me to handle”.  My usage of Twitter has fallen off somewhat as a result; stop following my stream because I’m boring or not adding to your knowledge base, not because I’m overtweeting, and if I am overtweeting, tell me.

Part of my biggest problems with Twitter is the way in which you read the stream.  If I’m working, or reading, or sleeping, or any number of other activities, I’m not following the stream.  By the time I’ve checked (and I’ve tried TweetDeck, Yoono, Seesmic, and plain old Twitter), often too many tweets have passed and I end up only going back an hour or so and then giving up.  If I’m following someone who posts great links, the best way for me to not miss something is to put the RSS feed for their tweets into my Reader.

Twitter reminds me of eBay: you can create an alert, but if the item you want is offered at a time when you’re offline for a chunk of time, or you’re not flush enough to purchase right then, you’re out of luck. There are times when I’ve seen a request for information far after it was asked, or questions I’ve had get no response (I choose to think the people I’ve asked are busy, not ignoring me).

Elists, on the other hand, are like any other e-mail: the posts sit nicely in their appointed mailbox until I’m interested in looking at them.  Since I use Gmail for my lists, I can ignore whole threads (for example, the 23 messages on SLN regarding AR usage). But when an interesting discussion, like the recent one on YALSA-BK that started the YAzzies, occurs, I can read it and get more from the comments than a mere 140 characters allows (and let’s be honest, in a ‘conversation’ on twitter, you lose characters for the @ and the username, not to mention any hashtags).  Reading responders thoughts about their least favorite reads, or on publishers and reviewers gave me much to think about in terms of my reading and reviewing.

As I was pondering Ernie’s comments, I read Cites & Insights 10:12 (ok, I’m a little behind in my reading).  Walt talks about just this issue:

Lists have changed. They’re not as dominant today as they were in, say, 1999: How could they be? They’re used for different purposes. Much of the ephemeral traffic has moved to Twitter, particularly for topics where 140 characters is all there is to say. But “less dominant” is one thing; “irrelevant” is quite another. I regard email lists as a lot less useful and central than they were a decade ago; that doesn’t make them irrelevant or dying.

Different tools, different tasks.

Posted in Metablogging, Musings, Techno Geekiness | 1 Comment »

Why Twitter?

Posted by lpearle on 10 December 2010

At the NEIT2010 conference, a few people asked me about twitter – most specifically, why Twitter?  It’s something I get asked frequently, and with the help of the amazing @InfoWitch (aka Karyn Silverman) I was able to give people the following (brief) explanation:

It’s better than asking a question via e-mail or text because with those, you need to know to whom to send your query, ditto with instant messaging.  It’s also a great way to find links, follow the thoughts of thinkers/gurus, and learn what’s new in your field of interest.

I have to say, twitter’s made me look like a rock start twice in the past 12 months.  The first time, our Head of School asked me for help finding a cartoon that had appeared in the Wilson Library Bulletin in 1971.  Easy, right?  After looking through CUFTS to find which databases might be of use (none), I started to think big – and tweeted a request for anyone who had access.  @franceyharris to the rescue!  Within a week the issue had been retrieved from deep storage and a .pdf copy had been e-mailed.  My Head of School was thrilled and amazed.  TOTAL WIN!!

Then there was yesterday.  @wsstephens wanted to buy a gift for her husband… but it’s nowhere to be purchased.  I found a copy in Brooklyn and @dmcordell thought she found a copy in Glens Falls.  Today, there’s a copy ready to ship to Wendy in time for Christmas (I’m also throwing in a copy Around the World with Mark Twain, written by my uncle, and inscribed to the lucky giftee!). Another TOTAL WIN!

Does that convince you of the power of Twitter?  The Daring Librarian has created two great posters on Twitter: The Art of the Follow and Twitter Basics (there’s also a post on Listening, Learning and Leading, where Gwyenth lists some of those she follows and includes advice from others).  My advice is to take some time during this holiday season, sit down with a glass of eggnog/glogg/mulled cider and play!

Posted in Conferences, Metablogging, Techno Geekiness | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

A slight rehash

Posted by lpearle on 10 September 2010

Some of this I’ve said before, but check out my post on the YALSA blog anyway.

Posted in Metablogging | Leave a Comment »

Back[stab]channels

Posted by lpearle on 26 November 2009

The idea of a back channel is still relatively new to conferences – for those of you who don’t know what one is, it’s the ability for the audience (and I’m using the term loosely, because it includes both those actually at the session and those following it from afar) to interact with each other and with the presenter. This can work well, or it can be a disaster (see danah boyd, Web 2.0).

danah’s post sparked a conversation between @buffyjhamilton, @activelearning and me and led to Buffy’s post here and Kristin’s post here. My thoughts are complicated: we need a discussion about professionalism on-line (twecklers take note) as well as a new paradigm of what happens at a conference.

As someone who presents (and is planning future presentations), I’m mindful of both sides of the podium. On the one hand, I would like audience feedback. On the other, I’m wary of the Mean Girl syndrome, where a mob “get ‘er” mentality takes over. Yes, one could argue that the better the presentation, the less “mean girl” the audience. But I’m also guilty of that type of twittering, albeit not when there’s an obvious backchannel (because that’s not the presentation set-up or because I don’t tag my posts). So this is definitely the pot calling on the kettle!

To be honest, this isn’t something new. I remember years ago, during a 9th grade pep rally at my school, chatting with my friends about the ridiculousness of the event: who really cared about our Division III football team? And those cheerleaders? please. What a waste of our time to sit and cheer and have all this faux school spirit. I’m sure some much younger version of me was texting the same thoughts to her friends in the same stands at a similar event in SmallTown this past September. Is that ok?

It’s the leap to public that changes things. I can comment to friends within earshot… text to a few friends at a time… or tweet and get retweeted to hundreds (or thousands).

I’m also wary of the quality of the tweets. As I mentioned to Buffy before Conference Season began, this is the type of tweet that I really don’t want to see:

  • Waiting to hear (speaker)
  • (Author) is signing books
  • “pithy quote from wonderful speaker” with no context
  • RT “pithy quote from wonderful speaker” with no context

I much prefer tweets that allow me to link to a presentation, a blog post or something meaty and I’ve been known to use TwitterSnooze to block posts that are coming too fast, too furious without that pause for reflection. Maybe I’m in the minority on this, but, well, that’s my viewpoint and I’m sticking to it.

Ultimately, if a backchannel is going to work, the audience needs to make their comments valuable to the presenter and to the audience (“hey, (presenter) is an idiot” doesn’t cut it, “what does (term) mean” or “is there a link to that study?” does). Presenters need to be aware that even if the backchannel isn’t obvious, it’s there. It’s going to happen unless the room has no wifi and cellphone dampening attached. It may mean upping our game, or it may mean rethinking how we interact with the audience.

This two-way street needs to be negotiated carefully. I’ll do my bit as both audience and presenter. Will you?

Posted in Conferences, Ethics, Metablogging | Leave a Comment »

Making Connections

Posted by lpearle on 18 November 2009

Julia Stiles’ post about Twittering in a forest struck a nerve.

People need to have a record of their experience to validate it, to remember it, to understand it. Why else did we start writing? That’s all the more exaggerated now in this hyperactive age of constant reportage; Twitter, Facebook, three million “news” stations each with incessant tickers and four screens. Everyone seems to want a record of even the most mundane occurrences. “I wish I had a tissue” “I’m talking to my Dad!” “I can’t get my hair to stay still!” “I missed my train!” “I’m taking a dump!”

It feeds into this session I attended at NEIT09. Scott McLeod asks Are we too connected? (SwissToni might disagree).

I love connecting to my PLN with Twitter/Facebook and reading their blog posts (although nothing beats being with them at a conference). The amazing Elizabeth Abarbanel wrote a post about her PLN (linking to this from David Warlick). So… where does that leave me?

Conflicted. Putting myself “out there” professionally feels right, but sharing innermost thoughts this publicly feels increasingly wrong. Of course, there’s the permanence factor – all those old posts are cached somewhere. I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

Posted in Ethics, Metablogging, Privacy | Leave a Comment »

My Library 2.0 odyssey

Posted by lpearle on 10 March 2009

Elizabeth’s post on Archipelago isn’t quite a meme, but I’m tossing it out there to all my readers as a “where/when/how did this happen to you”?

I think my first stop was at The Readers Vine, where I met Kar, Cam, Aravis, Jandys, Shree and others. We had a place in which to talk about our passion for books and I think that helped break the ice for me. My questions about being “out there” never really arose: I had a new identity there, yet it was purely me and my voice.

In 2001, Mark started his blog, and I started going to different pages daily – some personal faves, some professional help. Then came Bloglines, and my life got easier. During the summer of 2004 I decided to dip my toes into blogging. The impetus was two-fold: practice for creating a blog at MFPOW and to avoid clogging all my friends e-mail inboxes with my rantings and FYIs.

Did I mention KQWeb? The prototype for the AASLBlog (started in time for our 2005 conference in Pittsburgh)? No? ok, well, there you go. Somewhere in there I got interested in having our catalog at work function somewhat more like Amazon, with patron reviews and book covers. Athena (our current provider) didn’t offer these things so I migrated to Surpass. When I moved to MPOW we were again using Athena, but upgraded to InfoCenter. As Elizabeth points out, it has its problems integrating with LibraryThing (which I’d love to use for our catalog, but we’ll have to see about that).

I started to use GoodReads to track Mt. Bookpile (and immediately felt comfortable, because of its closeness to TRV)… Twitter… Storytlr… FriendFeed… Delicious. Again, the primary impulse was to get used to these things so I could integrate them at work (but one wants to be comfortable with a tool before one goes public, right?). The trick is figuring out which will be useful (I’m not seeing FriendFeed, GoodReads or Twitter as useful; Storytlr and Delicious will be a great addition!). I joined Facebook, but that had nothing to do with “practice”.

I’d love to get into Pageflakes and LibGuides, but MPOW has bought in to WhippleHill’s content management system and so we’re trying to simulate them in house (it’s not going as well as I’d like, but perhaps WH will partner with one of them and we can move on). I think that an on-line pathfinder, filled with direct links and easy-to-use widgets, will be a great way to entice students doing research (for class or pleasure).

Wikis? Nings? I don’t see those as part of my role – I’m happy to work with teachers to create them, but as part of the library offerings? Not so much. As part of my PLN? That’s a different story.

The thing is, all these 2.0 tools – all bright and shiny and Oh!Wow!Cool! as they are – aren’t really changing anything. Doug posted about the new AASL standards, and in his response to my comment, he said “And yes, today’s tres chic tools will be the gophers and CD-ROMs of tomorrow.” What needs to change is our way of interacting with our students, and thinking about how that will influence their interacting with information.

Posted in Metablogging, School Libraries, Techno Geekiness | 1 Comment »

Public admission

Posted by lpearle on 25 June 2007

Walt Crawford wrote about being wrong – and publicly acknowledging it. This has been resonating with me as I sit in Meeting, as I interact with my friends/colleagues, and as I go about my professional life.

Some time ago, I wrote off Will Richardson as being a one-note pony, always blah blah blahing about blogs (and blogvangelism). When I hear bleating, I turn off. So I stopped reading his blog and moved on. This year, at the Mohonk conference, he was a presenter. It truly wasn’t his fault that the presentation stunk (although I had a blast getting to know – and heckle with – Nancy White and Dave Cormier). We (Nancy, Dave, Will and I) sat at the same dinner table and I told him then that I’d begun to change my mind. I started peeking at his blog again, and I can say that he really has changed. It’s more thoughtful, less pushy. More meat, if you will.

Some visionary blogs I read don’t take the time to reflect how their vision might be misinterpreted, or dismissed, by us plebes. He did. Don’t mistake me, he’s still thinking about how this read/write/review/revisit/respond thing we call blogging can be used best, but he’s better at it now.

So, publicly, I was wrong.

Posted in Metablogging | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

 
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