Blogging vs. Social Networking

I've been posting to my blog far less frequently than ever before, in the entire history of this blog. Why is that? I'm still busy doing stuff. I'm still active in all the same places. The only shift lately is that I've also been much more active in social networking sites, specifically Twitter and Facebook.

Now, both Twitter and Facebook are essentially social networking systems. They are about forming and building connections between people, rather than publishing content. So, that shouldn't have an impact on my posts here.

The only thing I can think of is some kind of defusing effect that activity on social networking sites may have – I post there, and it satisfies the social component of posting here. Posting here doesn't affect posting there.

So, I'm starting to think about the relationship between social networking and blogging. They're definitely related, partially overlapping activities, but they also have their own subtle difference. Blogging is (for me) about personal knowledge management. Capturing the content and context of what I'm doing. Social networking is about context more than anything. Which looks at first blush to be purely banality. And yet, it affects me on a deeper level.

I was in Vancouver for an "eCOP" pathfinding meeting, and found that I flipped open the MacBookPro during breaks. What did I check first? It wasn't email. It wasn't my blog (or blog stats, or blog referrals). It was Twitter. I felt more connected to my distributed community of edubloggers (and others) because they're always there with me, no matter where I am. That's powerful stuff. Now, how to better make sense of that? Or does making sense of it suck the soul out of it?

Open, Connected, Social – the movie!

I had the pleasure of co-presenting a session with Brian, Alan and Jim for the MacLearningEnvironments.org group. We wound up breathing some new life into Small Pieces Loosely Joined, and building some demo sites and background wiki pages. Here’s the video for the session:

Open, Connected & Social

The video is available in iPod format, and original lossless QuickTime format. Brian is also offering up an audio-only MP3 version of the jam session.

BarCamp/DemoCamp Calgary!

I didn’t think Calgary was ready for this, but apparently I was wrong. Thanks to an email from Sami, I see that the first ever BarCamp Calgary is scheduled to take place on May 26, 2007, at the University of Calgary main campus. This is a type of event I’ve REALLY wanted to have here in Calgary, and it’s great to see there are a whole bunch of people interested in making it happen. Looking at the list of Campers on the event page, I only recognize a couple of the names. Maybe the Calgary blogosphere is more robust than Ive been guessing?

BarCamp Calgary

I’m unsure if I’ll be able to attend (between family work schedules involving Saturdays, and Evan’s soccer games) but I’ll try to at least drop in to see what’s going on.

Very cool stuff.

DemoCamp There’s also a DemoCamp planned as well – TONIGHT, no less. I’m less sure about how cool/uncool that event might be – sounds like a Vendor Fair mixed with The Gong Show… I won’t be able to check this one out, but hopefully someone blogs it.

It’s great to see this kind of unconference stuff starting to happen in Cowtown. Maybe there’s hope for this burg yet…

Sitemeter spyware removed

Apparently Sitemeter, one of the services I use to track stats about visitors and activity here, recently started inserting cookies for an advertising company. These cookies are essentially spyware, used to track visitors across the internet by matching up that cookie on each site that is visited.

I've disabled Sitemeter, and won't be going back. I've been very happy with them for the last few years, but sneaking spyware onto visitors is not cool. StatCounter has pledged to not do that, so I'll be using them, alongside Google Analytics. (it could be argued that Google could be tracking visitors in a similar pattern of spyware cookies – not sure how I feel about that, but at least they're relatively up front about it, being an online ad company. Sitemeter just silently changed the rules…)

If you want to clean up your browser after Sitemeter, delete any cookies you might have from "specificclick.com" (I had 4 cookies from that domain, but I'm not sure if they were a result of Sitemeter tracking code from my blog, or from elsewhere…)

References to the spyware cookie include:

I'm sorry for any inconvenience. Hopefully that's the end of it…

Upcoming presentation – (Many, Too Many?) Small Technologies Loosely Joined: Open, Connected, and Social

I was asked a while back if I was interested in giving a presentation to the MacLearningEnvironments.org group. At first, my reaction was “sure, but what on earth would I talk about?” After some thought, an initial plan was to do an updated version of the Small Pieces Loosely Joined presentation I had the pleasure of doing way back in 2004 (with Brian and Alan). What would that have looked like if it was done in 2007? How would the changes in those long 3 years have affected things?

After hanging out with Jim at Northern Voice, it was obvious that the “3 amigos” (as someone else has called us, but the name somehow stuck) is now the “4 amigos” (and hopefully more). Jim is a kindred spirit, and so I had to include him in the mix. I’d also wanted to bring in Gardo (a 5th amigo?) but alas his schedule is already full on the day of the presentation.

Long story short, the 4 of us will be attempting another “jazz ensemble” presentation/panel, as an online session initiated by MacLearningEnvironments.org (but open to everyone).

From the session blurb:

In 2004 three of us presented a concept of decentralized connecting web content with RSS — “Small Technologies Loosely Joined” (http://careo.elearning.ubc.ca/smallpieces), playing off of the book title by David Weinberger. Looking back at what we might call “Web 1.5”, using RSS to interconnect blogs, wikis, and chat seem rather simple. At that time, flickr and del.icio.us were still truly unknown betas, Google was just a search engine, folksonomy might not even had been coined as a term, podcasting did not exist, online videos were relegated to basic downloading to view– what a long way the web has come since then. However, underneath the shiny hood of the new tools, RSS remains a key integration factor Now we sit in 2007 with an explosion and continued expansion, of “small tools” leaving many educators overwhelmed and excited at the same time.

In this session, like a loose jazz quartet, four presenters will “jam” on the potential for teaching and learning as well as the state of web technology in four general areas

* bliki : can we genetically recombine blogs and wikis?
* mashups – bending the internet to do your bidding
* connecting people and information – RSS, Pipes, aggregators…
* insanely social software – putting the “we” in “web 2.0”

And more broadly look at the influence of open-content, connectedness, and social networking aspects.

So, if you feel like jamming with the band, book some time in your calendar on Wednesday, April 25, 11:00am Mountain (10:00am Pacific, 1:00pm Eastern, etc…) and tune in. It’s going to be as free-form as we can get away with, so please feel free/encouraged to join in. It’s happening as an Elluminate meeting, so we can share the microphone and screens etc… to keep things pretty dynamic in order to respond to questions and contributions on the fly.

Really, though, I was just looking for an excuse to bash some ideas around with Brian, Alan and Jim again. We’ve got some (hopefully) cool and useful stuff planned, and I’m hoping it takes on a life outside of the presentation.

Update: of course, I didn’t mean to leave anyone out of the “amigos” – Scott is definitely in there, as is Stephen. And a bunch of others. Not meaning to sound like a boorish elitist…�