Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Farmers' Social Media Benefits

Last week Michele Payn-Knoper @mpaynknoper and I (independently) asked the question on Twitter of what the benefits are of social media to farmers. Through the responses, here is a summarized list of the benefits as seen by those in agriculture.

  • share information and ideas with and learn from other farmers and ranchers and others associated with agriculture.
  • meet connect, interact and share with more and different people--people you'd probably never connect with otherwise.

  • provide quick, responsive networks and communities for farm use and important emerging issues.

  • communicate with niche farmers (for example Angus Breeders), like you.

  • build a great network for agriculture's future.
  • market farm and ranch products

  • connect and interact with consumers, creating conversations and relationships with them.
  • allow agriculture to share positive information.
  • educate people who are not associated with agriculture.
  • serve as important voice for agriculture where there wasn't always one before.
  • create a way to participate in agriculture conferences without being there.
  • widen the scope of local farmers.

Though Twitter these people contributed to the statements of benefits @iamafarmer2 @nel1jack @kansfarmer @gilmerdairy @celestelaurent @kmrivard @HuskerFarm @cruisin88 @swindham @phildawgkey @cornfedfarmer

Advice to Farmers, from @DayAngus

"Hard to believe the average age of IL farmer is 62. I find many are afraid to touch a computer but will run the yield monitor."

"Step out of your comfort zone & join other #ag advocators using SM. Tell your #ag story."

"Sharing information and ideas is the heart sole of #ag networking. SM helps me accomplishes this in an instant.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanking our veterans

On Wednesday, November 11, Veterans’ Day, I kept thinking of what I could write in a blog post or tweet in 140 characters that would show my appreciation for the veterans.

My brother, father, grandfather, uncles, and father-in-law served in various wars. Never I have ever expressed to them or expressed to others my deep emotional appreciation for their serving our country.

Of course, sacrifices of others—spouses, children, and other significant others—are seldom recognized, as well. Birthdays, first steps, obtaining driving licenses, and the feel of warm arms at night are never made up. We all know the sacrifices that families make when spouses, dads, moms, siblings, and parents serve our country, but we seldom talk about these sacrifices.

Though Veterans’ Day has passed and today, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, my mind has been on the sacrifices our military members have made.

Today, in addition to being thankful for family, friends, and our plentiful bounty, I want to thank the Selfless Souls of our military.

Thank You Selfless Souls
by Susan Campbell

I'd just like to say "thank you"
To the thousands of selfless souls
Who serve in the US Armed Forces
And share a common goal.

You leave your family and your friends
To protect us and keep us "free."
You do this for your country.
You do this all for me.

I hope you know how proud we are
Of all that you will do
To keep our country safe and secure
We owe so much to you.

I pray for each of our soldiers
Wherever you may go.
You're making the ultimate sacrifice
For people you don't even know.

I ask God to bless your families
And hold you in his arms.
I pray that he will keep YOU safe,
Protect you and keep you from harm.

So, once again, I thank you
For your courage and your pride.
I feel safe and so VERY proud
To have you on my side.

God Bless our Military!
Susan Campbell
Saturday, November 7, 2009

The poem has a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please share it but give attribution to Susan Campbell and link to this post.

Creative Commons LicenseCreative Commons LicenseCreative Commons License

Sunday, November 22, 2009

When is email the wrong method?

We are tied to email because it is so easy and routine we send email rather than considering that there are better ways.

Using email for all communications is like using a rotary dial phone. It still works to make phone calls, but not all calls. We all know that rotary dial phones will not work on any automated system and eventually they became extinct.

How do you know email is the wrong method?

  • You are sending a large attachment, particularly if you are sending it to several people.
  • You are sending information that needs to kept for future reference.
  • You are sharing a web page by placing the contents into the body of the message.
  • You have converted web information into a pdf and attached the pdf. 
  • You are sending information that needs to be discussed.
  • You are sending information that needs to be edited, crafted and developed.
  • You have a quick question to one person.
  • You are giving your professional opinion.
  • You are sending a video or photo.

What are better methods?

  • Organization-based shared file systems (Shared drives, Sharepoint document libraries)
  • Wikis
  • Google Docs
  • Google Wave
  • Instant Messaging
  • Text SMS Messaging
  • Twitter
  • Social bookmarking (i.e., Delicious)
  • Google Reader
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogging
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • SmugMug

What do advantages do these other methods have over email?

  • Fewer resources are being used.
  • More opportunities for open sharing.
  • More efficiency.
  • More opportunities and ease of use for collaboration.
  • Having information in one place, not distributed into several email boxes.
  • Searching within an organization-system or in the open web.
  • Having the ability to tag the information in your own words.
  • Having the information and products available to everyone for easy sharing and access.

If you are leading a group, a committee, a unit, a department, or an organization, stop the madness. Continuing using email for reasons it was not developed for is like continuing using a rotary phone.

Photo:  squircle old phone Originally uploaded by zen

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go where the people are

In the social media presentations, I spend a few moments looking at user participation in some networks.

My approach is for people in these discussions to consider the social networking numbers. However, I warn them to not be misled. These networks are not the only ones you should consider, and don’t be fooled into thinking that they will be the only ones in the future. People will shift and migrate to networks that serve them better, provide them with customized information, niche social networks, or better filters.


  • More than 300 million users.
  • More than 2 billion photos uploaded to the site each month.
  • 14+ million videos uploaded each month.
  • 2+ billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week.
  • Fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older.
  • People who use mobile devices to access Facebook are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • More than 180 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy Facebook mobile products.
    facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics Retrieved 10/1/2009
            • If we have not already realized that there is growing of importance of mobile connections, this should be our wake-up call to make our information--text, presentations, pictures, audio, video, or games--more portable and accessible for mobile devices. What are we doing to move our content to be mobile accessible?

An example of an educational approach to “go where the people are” is a Facebook Page Eat Smart Play Hard Together nutrition program. Julie Garden-Robinson, nutrition specialist at North Dakota State University, created this page to extend her web site to the youthful audiences. She partnered with the NDSU Bison Athletic Department and has student athletes (local celebrities) help promote her program. She used this page as a means of directly connecting and interacting with visitors to the web site.

Cooperative Extension, Julie says, “has a lot of research-based ‘static’ information to share, but we wanted a ‘dynamic’, innovative feature on Eat Smart Play Hard Together. Using social media has increased the number of people, exposed to health messages through the networks of ‘friends’ on Facebook. As a benefit, we continue to attract and interact with ‘fans’ from around the country.”


This tells us that the vast majority of Twitter users are not interesting in hearing from lots of people, but rather be selective in who they followed. Another point is niche content and education has an important role for those who really want it. So consider niches, and specific information rather than general information.


  • 50 million members in over 200 countries and territories (October 14, 2009).
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members. press.linkedin.com/about retrieved November 14, 2009.


During workshops on social media, the Wikipedia discussion is always interesting because I ask how people feel about using Wikipedia. Their statements and my responses are:

  • A statement: It is a great resource.
  • A statement: I use it as a starting point.
  • A statement: Schools don’t allow the use.
    • My response: It is a great starting point, and we should be teaching kids and ourselves how to use it to begin a search and investigate the sources.
  • A statement: It is not accurate.
  • A statement: Afraid to use it because anyone can edit the articles so I don’t trust Wikipedia.
  • A statement: Schools don’t allow the use.
    • My response: Have you found any inaccuracies?
  • A statement: No, I have not found any inaccuracies, but I have heard stories.
  • A statement: No, but sometimes the articles are gaps of information that should be included.
  • A statement: Yes, I have found an inaccuracy.
    • My response: Since anyone can, add, and correct information, then you have as much ability to edit and add Wikipedia articles as anyone. Wikipedia requires sources so when you make edit, be sure and give the source. Guess where the sources will come from? As educators within land-grant universities, most of your sources will be researched articles such as journal articles, research bulletins and Cooperative Extension publications. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility, as members of land-grant institutions, to edit and add Wikipedia pages to ensure that research-based information is part of the Wikipedia sources.


According to Bob Johansen, video will be part of almost every brand strategy in the future and will be available everywhere—including clothing, Video is and will be provoking and engaging.

The first step for beginners is to start now using video in all kinds of ways by multi-purposing your content. Consider uploading video to several sites, such as:

  • Your own web site
  • YouTube
  • iTunesU

With every video uploaded, be sure and describe it well and provide links back to your site.


What are the implications from these numbers in social networks? It is where people are and we should be there too. As we consider our goals and mission of our organizations, we absolutely cannot afford to not be where the people are.

However, don’t consider only these big networks. You want to find where niche communities are, such as in forums or specialized networks in Ning.


Eat Smart Play Hard Together Originally uploaded by aafromaa

Pointed question Originally uploaded by skipnclick

This outline was taken in part from Ideas for Social Media Strategy by Anne Mims Adrian, Rhonda Conlon, and Jerry Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at www.slideshare.net/aafromaa .

Keeping Up

Are you keeping up? There is not only a plethora of information available, but the amount of information is ever increasing and is often untidy. In order to keep up with new information on in our areas of work, we must become technically adept at managing the flow of information through using appropriate and customized tools and constantly adjusting the way we managed the flow. We must learn to “drink from the fire hose” by deciding our own filters, not being reliant on old technology nor on only one technology. Also, we don’t want to become dependent on only one source or one authority for information. 

As professionals, we don’t want to get caught not knowing our industry—information and knowledge in our area of expertise and passion.

“Today, if you're not staying current with Web 2.0 technologies' impact on business, then you're just not staying current. Period.”  Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb

The tools allow us to stay relevant if we focus on using the tools to engage and build relationships that help us accomplish our goals. Staying engaged means you know if and how you are effective.

“Friends, it (social media) keeps us relevant.” Andy Kleinschmidt

Keeping up means using different technologies to keep up with the flow of information and beginning engaged in communities that are important to us and our organization.

Using all in one applications like Tweetdeck helps. But, we also need to understand feeds—Atom feeds and RSS feeds. Managing feeds to keep the information flowing to us by using a feed reader, like Google Reader or Netvibes, and incorporating feeds into existing sites is a must in drinking from that fire hose.

Photo: Keeping Up. Originally uploaded by Picture Taker 2

This post was taken in part from Ideas for Social Media Strategy by Anne Mims Adrian, Rhonda Conlon, and Jerry Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at www.slideshare.net/aafromaa.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Twitter Lists

Twitter has implemented lists. Ideas and features of Twitter lists are:

  • Lists are public by default, but can be private.
  • Lists are linked to Twitter profiles.
  • Other Twitter users can subscribe to your lists.
  • You can subscribe to other Twitter users' lists. In other words, if you see someone has an interesting list, just follow their list.
  • Lists can be used to divide content by topic or divide twitter friends by personality or how they give you value. 
      • I have used Tweetdeck for this, but organizing Twitter users in Twitter could be even more helpful. However, I wonder how hard it will be for me to keep the lists updated.
  • Lists have the potential to serve as a discovery mechanism for finding great tweets and accounts.
  • Expect APIs to support lists in new Twitter apps.

Yesterday, someone asked how I am using my lists.

I have created a few lists. At this point, my goal is to point new Twitter users to these lists.

Some of the people I work with find social media, the openness, the chaotic nature to be overwhelming. In Facebook, I use the “recommend” feature to connect new Facebook users to some friends they may not know are in Facebook.

By using the Twitter list feature, I can give Twitter newbies a little guidance by showing them my lists. The newbies can decide who to follow or just follow my one or more of my lists. After all, there is not much fun in using social media if you cannot find friends or potential friends.

Here are some of my lists:

Ag list contains the people I follow in the agriculture industry. These may be ag journalists, ag marketing professionals, agribusiness people, Cooperative Extension agents, University faculty, and farmers. (This list is very similar to the same people in my Tweetdeck Ag column.)

Cooperative Extension list contains people who work in Cooperative Extension or people who work closely with Cooperative Extension--usually the relationship is through land-grant university affiliation.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System list contains people who work with Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

If my goals were different, I might organize the lists to include some of my priorities, like my favorites, the ones who make me think, those who make me laugh, the ones who tweet interesting links, photos, and quotes, and my favorite restaurants.

Some have created lists as to indicate the top people to follow in particular areas, (i.e., top public relations people to follow). I, instead, am looking at the list feature to organize and to share—not by limiting but by giving choices.

I am still working on my lists, so give me more suggestions.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What is Online Engagement?

While I talk to various groups about the value of social media, I try to help them think about using social media for their own learning, for collaboration, and for engagement.

Almost always in these discussions, participants think of using these tools to broadcast information. "We can use Twitter to publicize a new blog post." These suggestions are great, and absolutely can be used.

But then, I try to move the conversation to how social media brings many other benefits that we have not been able to capture in typical web pages. One power of social media tools is the ability to engage others.

But, a question that comes to mind for many is "What is online engagement?" First, we need consider the basic definition of engagement.

The act of sharing in the activities of a group
"the teacher tried to increase his students' engagement in class activities"
- participation, involvement, involution

Allegiance defines engagement for business as:

The “emotional bond” or “attachment” that customers and employees develop with your business during repeated, ongoing positive interactions with your company. This bond goes beyond a single moment in time and is instead, defined by the enduring behaviors, attitudes and heart of your employees and customers.

When we engaging others, we are not pushing content (products, services, advertisements), but rather we are conversing, asking for opinions, involving others in problem solving, idea and content development. Engagement means we are engaged and involved, and others are engaged and involved.

When broadcasting (one to many), we are speaking to or lecturing to audiences, students, clients, customers, or potential customers. When we are engaged, then we become community or group members (formal and informal groups). Also, customers, clients, and students are community or group members. We converse with people who share our interests and with people we enjoy listening and talking to.

Methods that indicate that our organization is engaged online. 

  • We listen to others, even to those who believe differently.
  • Authentic communications that describe events, opinions, and information in ways that others know and can identify with the individuals within our organization, as well as our organization as a whole.
  • Transparent, upfront and open content, processes, ideas and opinions that help others understand our organization and that we leave no doubt about our intentions, purpose, and values.
  • Practices that indicate that knowledge is built and created by many and our organization, nor any individual, is the only expert.
  • Fast and responsive communications that indicate we are listening and value the importance of at-the-moment thoughts, problems, discussions, and issues.
  • Flexible and agile processes and reactions that indicate our organization is designed to meet every changing needs of others.
  • Real empathy for community members where we develop an understanding of others and their needs.
  • Ongoing demonstrations that indicate we believe in the importance of building relationships with others outside of our organization.
  • Immersing ourselves in environments where others are.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do you use your real name?

I am reminded of a post when I first started blogging, Social Networking, the Creeps, and Learning, when an Extension educator asked me "Do you use your real name when you sign up on Twitter?"

My answer is yes, for personal/professional social media accounts.(YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, Friendfeed, Twitter, as examples).

How do people know to engage with you if they don't know your name or something about you? I use aafromaa for a user name which is slightly shorter than Anne Adrian. In my opinion, creating a short user name is important, particularly in Twitter. I definitely use my real name in profile descriptions.

Imagine you are at a cocktail party, a conference, or a business meeting, sitting by someone who you do not know. You reach your hand out to shake hers and say your name. "Hi I am (fill in the blank)." The other person extends her hand, but says only "Hi." What do you think when she does not state her name?

I don't know about you, but my immediate reaction is that this person is trying to hide something or simply does not want to talk with me. (Honestly, I wonder why.)

Twitter and other social media tools are about engagement and about people who we can learn, enjoy, and interact. 

For people to know who you are, provide your real name and something that helps others identify you. If you are using Twitter for professional use, indicate your organization (for me that is Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University).

In your profile, indicate your interest or expertise area and a web page to give them a chance to check out your thoughts, your organization, or find out more about you.

When I am deciding who to follow, knowing who you are is very important. Because I am part of larger organizations of Cooperative Extension and Auburn University, I will follow anyone who indicates that is their organization is either of these two. In Twitter, I will follow anyone I personally know. If you don't use your real name, how will I know to follow you?

I will also follow anyone who indicates in their profile, their tweets, or their web link similar interests.

Your personal and professional credibility happens over time, based on your ideas, thoughts, links, engagement, and transparency.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Some discussions centered around social media in Cooperative Extension

In the last two weeks, I led two discussions about using social media in Cooperative Extension. The first was a discussion with the Southern Region Extension Directors.

We discussed the following points with the leaders of the Cooperative Extension for the Southern Region.

1. Extension must participate in social media, as an organization and as individual professionals--including them--the Directors.

2. Learn to listen first. Use Google Alerts and Twitter Search to know what is being said about our organization, when one’s name is used, and topics of interest. Do this now. You do not have to have a Twitter account or a Google account to do either of these.

2. There are many tools available--you don't have to use all of them and you don’t have to choose the big ones, such as Twitter and Facebook. Pick 1, 2, or 3 social media applications. Possible social media tools for Extension Directors are:

Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Linkedin, Slideshare, Ning, drop.io, Friendfeed, AIM, RSS Feeds (learn what this is and how to use RSS), eXtension

3. Trust Extension professionals to stay professional online as we trust and expect them to stay professional in their own physical communities.

4. Christopher Rollyson and others suggest that there will be a decrease in the rate of the use of social media after people and organizations have tried them and have failed to capture an impact.

5. Extension should learn to use the tools "properly" which means that there are times we need to forget old rules and use new rules of education, marketing, and evaluation.

I suggested these resources as handouts for Extension directors to begin their own use of social media.

The presentation is I used during the Extension Directors’ session is:

A week later, I led another discussion on social media with Georgia Extension Association of Family Consumer Science.

They asked great and challenging questions.

Points made in this discussions were:

1. Social media, mobile computing, abundant flow of information, and disruptive technologies are here to stay, changing the way and the expectations of how we work.

2. To be successful, we must

  • learn to adjust
  • make the most of the technologies
  • learn to manage the flow and what is important
  • use the tools to listen, and at times using these tools to assess needs (much like we do in physical communities)
  • be willing to try different tools and techniques.

3. Use these technologies to join communities, create relationships (much like we do in our physical communities), where we build relationships, understand needs, and build educational programs.

4. Go where the people are.

5. Look at Wikipedia articles. Add and edit pages that seem to be lacking or misleading or not using research-based information. Create new pages in Wikipedia. Because you link to sources in Wikipedia, the sources are often land-grant information, Extension web pages, eXtension as sources, and journal articles.

The presentation is here:

After my presentation with the GEAFCS educators, University of Georgia's Associate Dean of Extension, Beverly Sparks during her luncheon address, "Bag Phones to Facebook", described

  • Cooperative Extension must change as technology changes and gives us opportunities.
  • Changing is not new to Extension.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Linkedin, Slideshare, Ning, drop.io, Friendfeed, Flickr, and YouTube are social media applications Extension professionals should consider. 
  • Everyone in Extension should explore social media tools. Start by trying any three social media applications.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Beginning your social media journey

Lately, more and more people within my organization are joining Twitter and Facebook. Some are joining because they know that is where the people. And, some want to know what the hype is about. Certainly, joining is part of being the ball.

One of the early challenges to being new to these technologies is understanding how to use them. For instance, one should know what a profile is, what private updates mean, how to upload a profile photo, and how to find others in networks.

Ohio Farm Bureau offers "Discover Your Social Web: An Ohio Farm Bureau Guide to Social Media" (pdf) to begin using social networks. In the first 2 pages, the guide offers reasons that farmers should have an online presence and participate in social networks.

Starting on page 3, the guide offers great instructions for opening accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Here are some other beginning guides and instructions:

Beginners Guide to Social Media in Extension

The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

A Non-fanatical Beginner's Guide to Twitter

Though the Ohio Farm Bureau guide mentions other social media and RSS feeds, it does not cover the opportunities that are available beyond the three big and easy tools (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Once comfortable with these networks, one should be wondering "What's next?" and "How can I manage all of the new information from new networks". This is referred to "Drinking from a fire hose".

Once you learn to use the tools and applications, like uberTwitter, Tweetie, Twhril, and Tweetdeck, one should be asking What's next? and How can I drink from this fire hose? There is definitely a need to manage and filter a barrage of information.

Part of managing the flow of information is to use the tools that enable one to do so. Managing the flow of information also means learning, and constantly adjusting tools and methods to efficiently and exponentially access more information.

Also, one should learn how to manage and become more efficient in delivering one's own information, thoughts, and resources and to become better at engagement, by adopting some integration tools like Friendfeed.

One of the possible downfalls of using social networks, like Facebook, is that the information is closed within the application. And with Twitter, you may talk only to those who think like you.

Don't get me wrong--these tools are great from learning from others like you--but to really learn, engage, advocate, and make a difference--we must also learn to listen to those outside of our circle of friends.

This means using tools like Google Alerts, Feed readers (Netvibes, Google Reader, and Friendfeed,), wikis (to contribute), discussion forums, and to follow others who can teach you, who think like you, and who disagree with you. Kevin Gamble offers some suggestions for in his post, Freeranging tools.

One final point: As my friends and colleagues are adopting these tools, trying them, and in some cases becoming immersed, I remind them that these tools are different than tools of the past that provide the flow from one to many. The power of these tools is engagement and to learn to make the most of the engagement.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why would an Extension Specialist use Twitter?

Steven Newman, Commercial Horticulture Extension Specialist, Colorado State University, has graciously agreed to be a guest blogger describing how he uses Twitter as an Extension specialist.

I was recently asked, why do I use Twitter? By their own definition, "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?" And for the why. Because even basic updates are meaningful to family members, friends, or colleagues—especially when they’re timely. -Eating soup? Research shows that moms want to know. -Running late to a meeting? Your co–workers might find that useful. -Partying? Your friends may want to join you." If you are interested, Twitter does have an interesting history and you can read more on Wikipedia.

I first started using Twitter early last fall after jumping into Facebook. It was more of curiosity than a conscience effort. I was trying to learn what it was all about. I have since learned that Twitter is a quick and easy way to stay up-to-date with issues of the day and a fast way to distribute information. But there are a whole lot of issues to consider if you intend to use Twitter professionally and/or personally.

First, I have chosen to combine my personal life and my work life in how I use social media. Let's face it, in Extension, we don’t make enough money to justify anything else. We are here because we love our work and our work is our passion. Our work is an extension of who we are, or at least that is my philosophy (and after more than 20 years, my wife is coming to grips with this). Therefore, I make a concerted effort to keep what I post, personal or professional, relevant to all (of course relevant in my opinion).

I try to never post anything that I might find embarrassing at a later date as well. That update button in Twitter is just as dangerous as the send button on your email, yet you can delete a post.

Just like all of you and your colleagues, your personal work space is most likely splattered with pictures of your kids, families and pets, clippings of what is meaningful to you, and of course, your accomplishments. I think of Twitter and Facebook as an opportunity for me to sit in your office and look at what is important to you. The generation that I grew up in is much more private, but modern generations, that of our children (mine are 13 and 16 and I am 54) nothing is a secret anymore. And they do not care.

So after 10 months of Twitter, what have been my experiences?

One of my first Twitter friends was the local newspaper. I originally set it all up using the SMS feed on my smart phone. Boy was that a mistake. The damn thing never stopped going off and that got really old. So my advice to any newcomer to Twitter is turn your mobile device off for everything. Then after you get a feeling for your friends’ updates, Then turn them on selectively. You don't need to know everything about everybody instantly. Otherwise, you WILL be drinking water through a fire hose.

On my desktop, I use Twirl and on my mobile (Windows Mobile) I use ceTwit. Many like TweetDeck and it has its definite benefits. Using these applications give me better control and the freedom to choose what and whom I want to focus on.

Many people who are active users of Twitter use autofeeds. These are systems that automatically feed all of their RSS own feeds into Twitter (http://twitterfeed.com/). Feeding your personal blog automatically is one thing, but every blog that you follow just gets too much. Some will use it to send out Twitter bursts that come to 40 or 50 at a shot, and frankly that just does not make one relevant. Also, I get a lot of what I consider to be just plain pornography; ‘nuff said, I block them and so should you.

So what to do about the information fire hose? Here is my strategy.
  • I follow those whom I feel are relevant to me and my job.

  • I follow just about anyone in my home community, just to keep up on what is up (I have scored some great free concerts this way).

  • I follow what I am passionate about, political, newsworthy, or just plain interesting. Do I read every tweet? Heavens no!

  • I scan Twitter updates real quickly a couple times a day or when I need a break. Those whom I find interesting on a regular basis, I look at. Often it is silly or just not interesting. You will learn how to tell those whom use Twitter correctly. Those that use Twitterfeed, get even less scrutiny.

I find that many who follow me (http://www.twitter.com/newman7118) are usually curious, looking to make an easy buck, or truly interested in what I do or who I am. A real mix. Do I follow everyone that follows me? No indeed, I am not interested in learning how to make millions of dollars (we are in Extension) or how to drive millions of people to my website (well maybe so and it would make my annual report look great). But I do pay attention to what is being said about me, which means I do use http://www.tweetlater.com/ and I do have it set as an auto responder that gives my new follows a link to my website at CSU. Yet, I do not schedule Tweets and I do not feed all that I follow.

What I really do like about Twitter is the ability to push information into different social media networks. I am using applications that will take the Twitter feed and push it into social media sites such as Plaxo (which was my first social media effort several years back following commercial greenhouse manufacturers) and Facebook. This means that I am touching distinctly different audiences with every update. With many of these, you can also apply a widget to your blog or to your web page that will generate updated content based on those feeds. I find this a real time saver. I use the Plaxo widget to forward my updates to CSU Extension Greenhouse Advisor, but there are many others that are just as good.

How do I choose what to Tweet? Here are my thoughts:

I use iGoogle as my homepage. To that, I have set up the widget for Google Reader, where I put all of the rss feeds that I follow. I scan that on a regular basis and watch for postings that I find interesting. I then will place that information in an update on Twitter with a link. What I do not do, is use the Twitter link on many of pages. I will cut and paste the title and then add the url with a url compressor. I do not choose to automate this process. If I were to automate this, it would be wild. I rss feed a lot of stuff, including my eXtension work, weather updates, local and national news, trade blogs and more. Again, I scan for key words that I find interesting and then in the reader, I mark as read blocks of 100 or more titles that I just don’t find interesting.

I also will Tweet information that I receive through email messages that I find important or interesting. We all get numerous enail newsletters and frankly this is an easy way to distribute to the masses. People can then choose to look at it or not.

I will tweet my blog updates. I do this manually and not automatically, but I am reconsidering this. (if I were more prolific writer it would be annoying, however)

I use TwitPic a great deal. Up to now, that has been pretty personal with Scouts and the like, but I find that it is an easy way to push a new plant or a plant problem out for discussion. This is real easy using a mobile phone to provide instant diagnostics. However, I am cautious about posting a TwitPic that may be considered proprietary or potentially harmful to a client.

There are some out there whom that use Twitter very well and with a whole lot of fun. For instance. Amanda Thomsen is a garden writer for Horticulture Magazine. She uses Twitter a lot and very effectively within her network of garden writers. She keeps us up to date on what is going on in her garden with a great deal of fun and irreverence.

I have used Twitter in class. This was an experiment this year with mixed success. To do this, I set up a unique Twitter address for just the class updates. What I would Tweet were updates, announcements, reminders, etc. I did suggest that those who used it to use it on their cell phones as a texting service. Those that used it, loved it. Some ignored it. This seems to be the logical step from email and online course sites. Yet, believe it or not, not every student uses texting. In fact, many horticulture students are in fact technophobe. But, I will be using this more in the future.

Needless to say, I like Twitter. I have experimented with FriendFeed and am still learning that system. I know that many prefer FriendFeed and I do see the relevance, but not for me just yet.

Now, what happens if you choose to use Twitter. Here are some observations:

  1. People don’t Tweet questions, but use updates to promote themselves or others. Often many will use Twitter as a conversation, but unless you are using direct messaging or the like, that just does not work and hard to follow. Twitter is not an instant messaging provider. You will get inquiries through Twitter, but not many.

  2. Using Twitter as a strategy to deliver content is relevant. Twitter can drive people to your website. I know that this happens based on my Google Analytics report with Twitter referrals. Where it does not compare with the Google search engine source, it is becoming more and more relevant.

  3. Twitter is very loose. There is very little control one has over what content is spread. You can lock your profile so that only those whom you choose receive updates, but why? We are using this to drive people to our information, otherwise, why do it? Facebook can be a partnered resource for Twitter. I am trying to use Facebook to attract an audience to recruit students. But I am finding it a good tool to keep up with my professional and personal contacts.

  4. Yes, 140 characters is rough. Many choose to use lots of acronyms and abbreviations. That gets old. Use the 140 characters as a posting and drive the client somewhere else. Make sure to keep your updates as short as possible in order to allow others to reTweet your posting. Here is the Power of Twitter. However, if you do reTweet, make sure that you use the @userID to recognize your source. This adds relevance and is considered professional courtesy and avoids any accusations of plagiarism.

  5. Twitter is not email. Twitter is more like posting an announcement. I like to think of Twitter as the same as posting a flier up in my neighborhood announcing a garage sale.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Deciding who to follow in Twitter (and Friendfeed) and who to friend in Facebook

I received this question this week (and similar ones recently).

If I am twittering and FB as part of work, and someone I don't know wants to follow me or be my friend, what should I do?  What I am thinking is that on Twitter, everyone would be welcome to follow me. and on FB, I could set some different categories up, but only if it is either someone I know or someone with clear farm connections/interests.  Please advise.

Good Question.

On Twitter and Friendfeed, I let almost anyone follow me. Though, there are some who suggest that you should monitor your followers (from professional positioning standpoint), my philosophy is very open on Twitter and Friendfeed followers. Certainly, I block porn and spam.

If others want to follow me on Twitter and Friendfeed, I think that is great. I don't (any more) automatically follow everyone who follows me.

When someone follows me,

  • I look at the ratio of followers and following. If is very lopsided (either way), I probably will not follow them back. But, it depends on the situation. If a news site or announcement site, which will have lopsided followers, I may follow because I am interested in their news.
  • I look at the profile. If the person does not have any information on the profile page, and I can find any reason to follow them, I don't.

NOTE to Twitter newbies: complete your profile, How will I know who you are, if you don't tell me?

  • I look at what they are saying. If they are talking about subjects I am interested in, I will probably follow them back. 
  • I look at their followers. The list of followers is helpful in determining my connection to this person and whether I think their tweets will be helpful. 

I treat Facebook differently. I see Facebook as a professional connection network AND a personal connection network. But, I am not as free with the "friendship" in Facebook as I am in Twitter.

I have to know the person or know of the person or have a connection with the person through someone else.

When I say I know them, I don't necessarily know them by meeting them in a face-to-face setting. I know them because of a work/professional situation (attended the same conference, web conference, exchanged emails, working on the same projects/thrusts).

I have divided my Facebook friends into lists.

  • Colleagues: anyone working with Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University
  • Professionals: professional connections outside of my colleague list.
  • Friends: family and friends, recent and from college and high school.

By dividing up my friends, I can easily see the professional or colleagues status updates in one click. Many use the division of friends to decide which list sees what.

As far as integrating Facebook and Twitter, I send all Twitter messages to Facebook. However, I think some of my "friends" may get tired of my work related links. So I am considering using the Twitter application that lets me choose which updates go to Facebook.

There are many ways to decide about following and friending people in these networks. You have to choose what you value and what works for you. Also, consider privacy strategies, as well.

Consider your goals are for tools, like Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed.

Some of my goals are:

  • Learn as much from others as possible.
  • Engage in "communities" as much as possible to enhance my learning and to share my thoughts and knowledge.
  • Listen from others--not only from others like me, but from others in areas outside of my primary work.
  • Listen to those who I may disagree with.
  • Expand my network of professional friends.
  • Build social capital because I never know 1) when I will be influential and 2) when I may need assistance by others who know more than I.

Thus, I tend to be more open than most in friending and following others in these networks.


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Friday, June 26, 2009

A misconception about web technologies

Again and again, I keep hearing that web technologies cannot build relationships. The misconception is that web technologies cannot contribute to the building of relationships--that Internet technologies are mechanisms only to provide information delivery systems.

Of course, I know that technology, itself, cannot build relationships. People build relationships.

The Internet today is much different than it was 10 years ago. Then, we mostly thought of Internet technologies as those that efficiently deliver information. We have thought of the Internet tools much like mass media (newspapers, radio, TV) one-to-many communication tools. Early in the Internet years, we learned to utilize searching capabilities, the ability to discover information. And, we learned to build on the capabilities of linking--tying information together.

However today, the Internet tools are more about flattening communications channels and enabling relationships among people who never would have been able to "meet" in the "old" Internet and certainly not pre-Internet.

Studies are showing that connections, such as social networking, enhance working and social relationships and build social capital, particularly in relationships that already have a physical presence. To name just 3 studies (I can find more) are:

  • Hampton, K. (2002). Place-based and IT mediated “community.” Planning Theory and Practice, 3(2), 228-23
  • Hampton, K. & Wellman, B. (2003) Neighboring in Netville: How the Internet supports community and social capital in a wired suburb. City and Community, 2(4), 277-311.
  • Ellison, N. B. Steinfield, C, and Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends”:  Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer Mediation Communication, 12(4), Article 1.

To discount online opportunities because we don't think that the technologies can be used to develop relationships is detrimental to our success, as an organization and as knowledge workers. 

Most of us (I suppose I am referring to "us" as those who have been in the workforce 15 years or more) have the tendency to think and learn linearly and that technology takes the place of some other method because of its efficiency.

Instead, information technology is an enablers, not only a replacement. Technology enhances whatever we are doing, provides innovation opportunities, and helps us grow or scale development, products, and services.

Many of those who have been studying and using social media for awhile often say

"It's not about the technology;"

"It's about people"
"It's about relationships
"It's about ideas"
"It's about the change that is created".

Though I am becoming known for "pushing" social media and as someone who is a Twitter nut, I can assure you that I do not think that technology is a sole answer--the answer is how people are using and building relationships and capitalizing on the work of many. But, technology is necessary.

Some ask "how does online engagement give an organization competitive advantage?" There are many answers. A survivalist answer is "where will you be if you don't engage?"

We must adapt not only to new technologies, but adjust and embrace changes in culture and expectations, such as work streaming, transparency, engagement, and participation. These expectations in culture are not dependent on technology, but have been driven by open, tremendous availability of information and access to people through technology.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Where do we go from here?

It seems that a lot of my conversations lately have centered around the future of Cooperative Extension.

Most people are discussing and worrying about the budget woes and the realization that future funding is changing.

Some Extension professionals are looking beyond the funding issues. They are realizing the effects of:

  • ubiquitous connections.
  • pervasive information and communications.
  • multi-way and instantaneous communications.
  • rapid increases of non-linear information availability.
  • expectations of open communications, transparency of organizations, and adding societal value; these expectations are not only expectations of online activities but also include the way we serve, operate, manage, and lead.
  • changes in knowledge construction.
  • online and placed life becoming one. The online life does more than mirrors the physical life. The online is meshed into the way we function in work, leisure, and home.

Are we positioning ourselves to adapt and excel in a changed future?

  • A future where the public, stakeholders, and partners want to know how we are impacting communities.
  • A future where we continue to meet community and local citizens needs and are influential locally, but use global,far reaching, methods.
  • A future where we grow education without significantly increasing our organization.
  • A future that embraces “non-linear, information seeking” learning processes.
  • A future that embraces the ways that learning, access, engagement, and knowledge construction are changing, by being ahead of the learning curve, not behind it.
  • A future that opens access to our content and research
  • A future where our organization is a contemporary organization that has the "capacity to connect, unite, react, or interact" among many individuals and organizations, both traditional and new.
  • A future where we capitalize on instantaneous, multi-way communication.
  • A future where we understand that context matters and that contexts are continually in flux, thus, knowledge within context is more important than knowledge by itself.

The thoughts above are not mine alone, but rather they are a compilation of thoughts and expressions from many people who I have had a privilege of talking with in the last few months and hope to continue with future conversations.

While some people are very worried about our future as the third arm of land-grant institutions--Cooperative Extension--particularly from a funding standpoint, I am realizing the opportunities are vast and exciting. In fact, I see that the future, in some ways can bring us back to using the principles of  Seaman Knapp and George Washington Carver. The difference is in context, but the ideals of engagement and integrating research and education are not again available because we can go where the people are.

The challenge is to immediately change the way we communicate, build education, and are organized, and capitalize on existing and new relationships through more collaboration and seizing the power of ubiquitous connections and pervasive communications.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Back into the groove

I feel like I am starting over because:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What is that Twitter thing you do?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from college left me a message in Facebook. She asked me, "When you get a chance could you explain this Twitter thing you do?

Twitter defined in Wikipedia:

"Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets."

Twitter messages--tweets, limited to 140 characters--can be sent and received from the web site, from Twitter desktop applications, and from a cell phone as text SMS messages.

Some basic information on Twitter can be found:

How Twitter works and some history behind Twitter

Why I use and like Twitter

I can easily get a feel for what people (people who I have an interest in) are reading, thinking, and doing in a non-disruptive way. Twitter is pervasive, but unobtrusive. I decide when I pay close attention, scan, or ignore Twitter messages.

Twitter is a great way to listen.

Those I follow don't have to follow me. In other words, the "friendship" does not have to reciprocal, like it is in Facebook and Plaxo.

Twitter messages are short so each individual message does not take much time. Someone who says they don't have time to use Twitter does not understand how easy it is or they may not be using the right Twitter application.

Twitter friends can be information streams (AUTigers, AuburnU , abc3340, ittotd-IT Tip of the Day).

Most friends provide conversations and resources. The value of Twitter is found in interactions, engagements, and resources shared.

How I use Twitter

I send Twitter messages from the Twitter web page, Twhirl, TweetDeck, and Text SMS.

I received messages in the same applications. However, I reserve the Text SMS messages for my closest Twitter friends.

Depending on what I am doing and how long I may not have access to a computer, I sometimes use TinyTwitter application on my phone to receive all Twitter messages.

Twhirl and Tweetdeck as desktop applications.

Twhirl runs continuously on my desktop computer at work and my notebook. I have learned to ignore it most of the time. However, during slow moments of the day, I glance at the incoming Tweets. The reply and the direct message tweets make a different noise so I know when to pay attention to those.

TweetDeck also runs continuously on my 2nd monitor on my computer at the office. (Lately, I have also left Facebook running continuously on the same monitor). I divided Tweetdeck tweets into columns based on my priority of interests. Closest friends and colleagues make up one column. Tweets coming from those in professional areas that have my interests make up another column. My replies and direct messages make up two other columns. And, last all tweets make up the last column. Tweetdeck is probably not necessary if you do not follow a lot of people. Search and filtering in Tweetdeck have also helped me keep up with specific information.

I integrate Twitter with other networks by sending tweets to Friendfeed, Plaxo, and Facebook status updates.

Additionally, I send RSS feeds of Twitter messages, particularly replies to my messages to my feed reader. These feeds are a duplicative effort, but I I don't want to miss any replies.

Sometimes I use TwitPic to send a picture from my phone to Twitter.

Some resources

Twitter in Plain English

How to Get Started on Twitter

Email vs Twitter

15 Minute Showcase on Twitter

Getting more out of Twitter

Advantages of Twitter

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't be scared of candid remarks

John Caddell of Caddell Insight Group explains why listening and allowing customers to comment is important in "Customers are talking -- candid customers won't give you 100%."

When the community (fill in the term that is appropriate: clients, customers, students, etc.) expect you to be very good at what you do, they are not going to give you a perfect ranking. Instead, they are going to point out weaknesses. Most weaknesses can be addressed by making improvements--not by making excuses or debating your customers.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Philosophy of a fun, passionate, effective teacher

Daniel Butler, Auburn University 2008 recipient of the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching, has incredible and fun stories tell.

He tells this one story best -- be sure and watch the 2.5 minute video.

I've listed a few points that describe his role and philosophy in teaching--and the little that I know him--I believe he lives his life this way, too.

  • Never forget what it's like to be a kid, they don't know things. You have to figure out what they don't know.
  • Use humor and make teaching fun.
  • Make a difference one student at a time.
  • Treat all students like each one will be the one to save us all.
  • You can do whatever you want to do as long you get someone to show you how--that's what teachers do.
  • It's all about people.
  • It's about people who work hard, care, and encourage each other
  • How do we make this a better a place? ....one (War Eagle) at a time.

He learned these principles from very important teachers--his parents--a professional clown and kindergarten teacher.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Email vs Twitter

Yesterday, I had the privilege to have several conversations with Auburn University President Jay Gogue. During one of these conversations, I mentioned Twitter and President Gogue asked "What's the difference between Twitter and email?"

My answer centered around several characteristics of Twitter including:

  • Receiving Tweets are more about choice, rather than be forced by the sender. (I choose who I follow and people choose to follow me). Unlike Facebook, the followers and friends do not have to be reciprocal.
  • Twitter is fast.
  • Twitter is more free-flowing.

I did not feel I did a very good job in my explanation so I did what I often do. I ask Twitter followers what they thought.

Through Twitter, I sent a message asking "What is the difference between Twitter and email? As I read messages as they evolved (in about 3 hours), I was wondering what would be a better way to get immediate discussion from a broad spectrum of people?

The first tweet came from a University of Alabama student (see 340) was someone I have never met. More than 65 % of the responses are from people outside of Auburn University. Thus, indicating the ability to hear from a broad spectrum of people.

Interesting too, I was able to "listen" in on the conversations, in particular, one between the University of Alabama student (340) and University of Alabama alum (2,057) who lives in North Alabama. Twitter offered a way for me to listen in ways I would not have a mechanism to do.

The investment (asking the question and reading the tweets) was minimal. Thus, indicating Twitter is very efficient.

Below is my summary of the responses.

  • Twitter is public.
  • Twitter is less formal.
  • Twitter is more analogous to people subscribing to e-newsletters.
  • Twitter updates are brief and succinct.
  • Twitter is faster, spreads messages  more quickly, and are more efficient.
  • Twitter is more like texting (SMS), chatrooms, and forums.
  • Twitter is more about choice. Twitter does not push messages like email.
  • Twitter creates an online community, a social network.
  • Twitter allows members to receive updates continually and more frequently.
  • Twitter users can be anyone.
  • Twitter applications make messages more automatic, like a stock ticker.
  • Twitter makes sharing and being open easy, thus creating opportunities for more open discussions.

Below, I listed the responses and conversations. Instead of using Twitter usernames with each response, I used the number of people they follow. The @ sign is indication that they are replying to a person, but the reply is public.  

  • My Tweet that started the conversation (587) aafromaa Yesterday, AU president asked what is the difference in Twitter & email. I am wondering: how would you answer in 140 char or less, of course
  • (340) @aafromaa Twitter is more like public texting with a community. Email is intimate (usually) 1-1 conversations. T is v effective for campus!
  • (76) @aafromaa 15 years.
  • (587) aafromaa @(340) Thanks & good explanation. It's interesting that 1st reply came from Univ of Ala student. 2nd reply: @(76). Anyone else?
  • (42) @aafromaa The audience is different. Most Twitter posts are publicly accessible (without the need for a FOIA request, of course
  • (32) @aafromaa A social network allowing members to receive updates from other members about events and self as they are updated all day long.
  • (32) @aafromaa Had a grammar error in the first one
  • (220) @aafromaa Twitter is analogous to people subscribing to e-newsletters, except updates are often, succinct, and the provider can be anyone.
  • (2,057) @(340) That's a good point, I always think of Twitter similar to a chatroom with controls, but for GenY, you grew up texting.
  • (220) @(340) I disagree about 1-1. See my explanation. Similarities between e-newsletters, newsgroups, and Twitter.
  • (69) @aafromaa While both are forms of electronic mail, Twitter is briefer and less formal, and it creates an online community.
  • (340) @(220) I disagree (back :p) because I see it as personal communication. I like to think there's a person behind the emails I receive.
  • (32) @(220) fancy language, but I like it.
  • (340) @(2,057) That's interesting - i've never considered it as a chat room. I usually think of texting or of a fast message board/forum
  • (340) trying to decipher an email someone sent expecting it to magically morph into a press release. not quite as magical as that, though :p
  • (74) @aafromaa concur w/(220) and (69). but use of app like twirl makes twitter like a stock ticker. don't have 2 open tweets--does it 4 u—
  • (74) @aafromaa these apps actually make it faster for me than email
  • (340) @(2,057) age is a state of mind ;)
  • (220) @(340) You just made my point even better. Your @reply is exactly like somene using "Reply all" in an email. Personal schmersonal ;-)
  • (340) @(220) nope:) directing message toward you. may be seen (like if you forward or cc/bc in the reply) but not everyone is going to read
  • (220) @(340) Not everyone is going to read your tweet either. I've had plenty "reply all" discussions via email. There are small differences.
  • (340) is wondering if there should be a UA-AU tweetup? :p
  • (340) @(220) that's MY point. its out there for people to read if they so choose. thus, the public vs. targeted 1-on-1 :p
  • (31) @aafromaa - brevity-triviality-audience. email is "1 to 1" or "1 to many" & "push info". twitter is "many to many" & "share info".
  • (68) @aafromaa email is direct closed discussion, twitter more broadcast open discussion with greater potential for 2nd hand distribution. .
  • (111) @aafromaa Brevity sets it apart. SMS fosters its spread. Otherwise differences are perception & ease of use.
  • (78) @aafromaa On Twitter, I send msgs to people who choose to hear from me. In email, I send msgs to people who I think want to hear from me
  • (47) Digging tweets to @aafromaa's question. Much better definitions than other sources.
  • A comment on my Facebook page: "I would explain it to him in a way he can relate: Usually a 30 minute meeting can accomplish just as much as a 60 minute meeting. Similarly, usually a 140 characters can send the same message as a 2-paragraph email."

How would you describe the difference in email and Twitter?

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Creative Commons Web Conference

Outline from today's web conference on Creative Commons is shown here.

Today Deb Coates, Iowa State Extension IT Manager, and I presented "Understanding and Using Creative Commons". The description of the session was: Sharing and obtaining information on the Internet is extremely easy. However, it is confusing to know what products you can use and which are restricted. You may want to share products, such as pictures and presentations, but don't know how to share with appropriate license or copyright. In the past, sharing products meant that you gave away your products with no control or that you restricted control of the distribution of your  products by full copyright (all rights reserved). Creative Commons licenses provide options between the extremes of giving your rights away and all rights reserved. This session will describe Creative Commons license options, describe how to use Creative Commons licenses, and how to use products and content that are licensed using Creative Commons. This Professional Development session is offered in partnership with the ACE Information Technology SIG.

Deb Coates' Slide Presentation on Creative Commons:

Creative Commons
View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: techshow20 extension)


Bugwood Network http://www.bugwood.org/

Eli Sagor's photos (look for forestry photos) http://flickr.com/photos/esagor/

Cooperative Extension Group http://www.slideshare.net/group/cooperative-extension/slideshows Some use Creative Commons license. Some use All rights reserved.


Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/ 

Google Advanced Search http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en Look for "Date, usage rights, ...."

Flickr Advanced Search http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/



Common Misunderstandings of Creative Commons Licenses http://lessig.org/blog/2007/12/commons_misunderstandings_asca.html 

White House Copyright Notice http://www.whitehouse.gov/copyright/

Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education  http://www.mediaeducationlab.com/pdf/CodeofBestPracticesinFairUse.pdf

National Science Foundation Task Force on Cyberlearning http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/8885

Materials funded by NSF should be made readily available on the web with permission for unrestricted reuse and recombination. New grant proposals should make their plans clear for both the availability and the sustainability of materials produced by their funded project.

Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/


Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's not about the technology; but you can't ignore the technology

When we talk about social media, we explain that it is about the people, the connections, and the learning. We also argue that it's not about the technology,

But, as Harold Jarche points out, the technology cannot be ignored because doing so puts organizations at a disadvantage.

Stephen Downes, in the comments, notes that "It's not about the technology" is usually an argument to change mindsets about working differently.

Ignoring technologies and failing to understand the potential and possibilities of the connections, collaborations, and sharing also places organizations at a disadvantage.

One way to understand the technologies and their potential is to try them.