It’s the time of year when green leaves start to anticipate their plummeting deaths, and I’m thinking about what I’m doing on the web.
During this late summer there’s been a lot of reflection concerning where the web has lurched to by 2016. Martha Burtis reminds us of what the web could have been, and why educators need to embrace that vision. Anil Dash shows how much of the web the world of social media has forgotten or eviscerated (why don’t we have blog search in 2016?).
I’d like to overhaul my web practice in light of their observations. That means shifting as much energy and time as possible to the open web, away from the other venues.
In this post I’m thinking about platforms where my practice is mostly, on the balance, consumption oriented. I do contribute some stuff, depending on the venue, like comments, plusses, likes, and so on. Twitter is about 50-50 production-consumption, so I’ll include it here for now. Same for Google+. Fora where I mostly create – blogging, videoconferencing, Skype – I’ll save for another post.
(Last year I posted about this in terms of media diet. Consider this an update, as things changed.)
Twitter: I rely heavily on Tweetdeck for this, reading on my laptops. Sometimes I have to use my phone’s Twitter client, but I prefer the full dashboard. Which looks like this, if you squint really hard:
As you can see (or barely make out) I rely heavily on the ‘deck’s column feature. A bunch of columns are Twitter lists, each staffed (or stuffed) with feeds on specific topics: professional clients who tweet, entertaining accounts, politics, local (Vermont) news and life, selected education writers, futurists, and digital humanists. There is also a column for my family, as my wife and son tweet.
I also use columns for ongoing searches on specific terms and hashtags. These include #FTTE (both my FTTE report and the Future Trends Forum), #NMCHz (the Horizon Report), #smalltales (a group of short short social media stories), and #latism (Latino politics and culture).
Why these topics? Many are professional. Some are designed to teach me about new topics and perspectives.
What I’m doing next: pruning each list for deadwood. Making sure to link to tweets from other venues.
RSS: The once and future heart of my research work is reading feeds. I used to use Google Reader. Now, after some exploration, I rely on Digg’s Reader for my laptop and desktop work. On mobile I use Feedly, although I dislike it, finding it awkward.
You can see about 40% of my feeds in the screenshot to the right. I’ve
obsessively organized curated feeds into folders over time. They’re broken down by headers: daily reads; feeds for my FTTE report; world news; fun stuff.
As you can see from the tiny numbers next to each folder header, I’ve fallen behind on my feed reading.
What I’m doing next: spending more time on RSS. Making this my first social media zone. Also, adding more comments on other people’s blogs. This is going to mean cuts to other activities.
Would anyone like me to post this as an OPML file?
Facebook (my profile): The weird thing is how Facebook occupies a parallel universe to the rest of my social media work. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but most of the people who interact with me there don’t appear anywhere else. Friends from college, from elementary school (seriously), people in Vermont, former students, the occasional relative, people I know through politics: I don’t see them on this blog, or on their own blogs, or on Twitter.
There are some people I know through work, professionally, but they don’t connect with me through other means, except maybe the occasional email. Interestingly, they tend not to talk shop, preferring non-professional topics concerning pets, family, homesteading, politics, and culture.
I push these blog posts over to Facebook, but they rarely elicit responses at all. Is that because my Facebook friends are not interested in my work? Does Facebook hide those posts because …. we have no idea why? When I post about education, beyond sharing this blog’s materials, that also usually meets crickets.
The only exception to this are a few discussion groups, where a handful (<9 people each) comment about the future of education. That’s a pretty minute exception.
What I’m doing next: I haven’t considered quitting Facebook, as some folks have, for two reasons. First, it’s an important research area for me, both in terms of technology in general as well as the social media world. I learn more about it by being within, than observing from afar. Second: Facebook is just too huge. It has way, way too many people for me to avoid in my work as an independent. More than any other platform besides email and YouTube, Facebook is simply where the biggest number of users are. I can’t risk the possibility of losing potential connections to clients and interesting people. Continue reading