Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Daily Bookmarks 04/01/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Are you a Social Media Snob if You Do Not Follow Many People on Twitter?

I was reading an interesting article at Social Media Rockstar entitled, "Dear Web 'Celebrity' That Never Follows Anyone Back,". It made me think about some of the celebrities in the Educational Technology world that I live in and how they use Twitter. So I decided to check out some of the most popular people I know on Twitter and test their ratio of Followers to Following. This ratio is simply the number of followers divided by the number of following rounded to the nearest hundredth. The results were really interesting.

To find the most popular people I know I went to WeFollow and looked at people who were tagged as #edtech and #education. I only examined people that were on top of these lists that I follow on Twitter (sorry if I missed anyone who should be in this EdTech Rock Star status). Here are the results (as of 3/31/09):

David Warlickdwarlick44415777.91
Will Richardsonwillrich45481013136.72
Josie Fraserjosiefraser28563837.46
Dean Shareskishareski26474186.33
Lee KolbertTeachaKidd21244904.33
Bernie Dodgeberniedodge21765164.22
Ewan McIntoshewanmcintosh409710863.77
Vicki Daviscoolcatteacher465817762.62
Alec Courosacourosa274512132.26
Chris Lehmannchrislehmann20719202.25
Liz Davislizbdavis217417461.25
Kevin Jarrettkjarrett223618991.18
Drew Buddiedigitalmaverick285424511.16
Lucy Grayelemenous262222981.14
Jeff Utechtjutecht288527151.06
Mike Sansonemikesansone344037810.91

Just to be fair I thought I'd include my own statistics.

Mike Arsenaultmarsenault3933380.86

In the article Brett Borders has this to say about people who do not follow many people:
You might think that non-reciprocation makes you look like an "influential thought leader," but to me it looks like:
  1. You're kind of a noob. Your name might be "big," but your social media interaction and filtering skills are small.
  2. You're kind of a snob. You're more concerned with appearing "popular" than listening and learning from people.
I would imagine most Twitterers have reasons for who they follow and who they do not follow. I personally do not follow everyone that follows me. I tend to look at a users' profile and if they do have similar interest (education, technology use in schools, social media, etc.) I follow them. As you look at the data above almost half of these people have approximately 4 times more followers than people they follow or worse. Is this a bad thing?

I particularly wonder about the top two in David Warlick and Will Richardson. They both have written tons in their blogs and books on top of what they offer on Twitter. David is constantly adding and refining resources that many educators find to be tremendously useful in the classroom (i.e. Class Blogmeister, Citation Machine, and many other resources found at the Landmark Project web site). Both of these guys run a pretty demanding schedule of presentations.

The people on the bottom of the list really do walk the walk and talk the talk on Twitter. Most of them follow as many people who follow them or at least close to half of the people who follow them. I take my hat off to them and hope that someday I'll have built up the resources they have in Twitter.

I only have a fraction of the followers and following that these individuals have. I would mostly attribute that to still being somewhat of a noob and still figuring out how to best filter the information that comes from so many different sources as I try to balance doing my job, reading RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and having a personal life.

What are your thoughts? Should these EdTech Rockstars follow more of the people who follow them? I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hi I'm an iPhone... Hi I'm a Blackberry

About a month and a half ago I broke into the world of touch screen smart phones purchasing a Blackberry Storm. I would have really liked to get an iPhone instead but the AT&T network is not solid for me. I've been really happy with my experiences with the Storm and find that it has completely changed my life with constant access to the Internet and E-mail. Strangely, I find it somewhat liberating to have such easy access to E-mail despite finding myself not leaving my phone off to the side when I get home at night.

The biggest draw for me to the iPhone over the Storm would be the wonderful assortment of applications that are out there and continue to surface to run on the iPhone. I know some of these applications are completely ridiculous but the applications available on the Storm lacks considerably.

As I see the applications that become available for the Storm it makes me wonder why Apple hasn't created an ad campaign similar to the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" advertisements. The vast majority of Blackberry applications for the Storm are pretty lame and fail to be innovative in any way. An application which simulates a coin toss does not exactly send chills up and down my spine.

My hope is that the new Blackberry AppWorld store will bring some great new applications specifically for the Storm that show some innovation and creativity.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Daily Bookmarks 03/26/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


Here's a demo screencast I made at ScreenToaster.com. It was really simple and provides great quality video.


I just tried out BeFunky.com with a image of my daughter, Laura. BeFunky allows you to easily upload images from your own computer or tap into your online photos at popular social photo sites (like Flickr). Here's my first shot at it I was able to make this creation in minutes

I made this image without creating an account. If you create an account you can store your images on BeFunky.com, access your recently uploaded photos, and add titles and descriptions.

Once you've created your masterpiece, you can easily add it to your online photo sharing account or save it to your computer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Daily Bookmarks 03/25/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Changing Behaviors

As I was reading David Warlick's latest post entitled, "Flickr Hits 100,000,000 CC Photos" I got thinking about something I've been talking about a lot lately that I've been wanting to put into words. I haven't written anything in this blog for months now so I thought I'd get myself back into writing.

A few months ago I was invited to facilitate a discussion at a faculty colloquium at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. They have added laptops to their classrooms, but many of the faculty members were seeing the laptops as more of a detriment than a benefit. As I was preparing for this presentation I started thinking about why this would be the case. As I got to thinking about it my thoughts went immediately to student engagement. My next question was how could I relay my thoughts in a way that wasn't condescending but challenging the status quo at the same time.

It mainly comes down to behaviors in my mind. Changes in technology typically create changes in behaviors. I've always loved photography. Many years ago I took pictures with a film camera. I switched to digital about 6 years ago. As I made this switch in technology my behaviors changed. When I took pictures on a film camera I took fewer pictures and took time to compose each image. Now that I use a digital camera I still take some time to think about how I want my image to come out but I take considerably more photographs looking for the best one of many (I'm not a pro photographer). Basically, my behaviors have changed due to the changes in the technology I use. There are many other types of "technology" I could have used for this analogy like the digital video recorder in my cable box or using Netflix to receive movies.

This made me think about classrooms and learning. Over the past few years many classrooms have seen dramatic improvements in access to technology. I've had the good fortune of working in one-to-one environments for the past 7 years but how many teachers have truly changed their behaviors to match the changes in the technology available to them?

David posed the question:

“What are the pedagogies of information abundant learning environments?”
in reference to the massive amount of Creative Commons digital images now available at Flickr for students to use.

I feel its more about teachers seeing that the technology available to them allows them to change their behaviors. They are no longer stuck with just the images in their books and magazines. Leaving 'what we've always done before' is hard in education. When will teachers see the need to change their behaviors in this new information landscape?

Image Attribution:
Image: 'Flickr Gift #4: Olympus Trip 35 from+Mac...+(Pimped+by+Me)'

Wednesday, March 18, 2009