28.4.09

[better business blogging: twitter tips]


I'm all for blogging and I think twitter is extremely useful (for some people). I've had some very helpful feedback thanks to tweets I've put out asking for feedback, recommendations, suggestions and advice.

However, my use of twitter is a little more organic; it fluctuates with my current research or projects rather than a long term strategic goal that you'd have if you are going to try to harness it (and other social media applications) for *purely* business use.

Suaad Sait over at The B2B Lead Blog has some tips garnered from Rich Karpinski's B-to-b followers flock to Twitter article.

Business Tips for Twitter Use:

  1. In your Twitter bio, clearly spell out what business you are in, who is posting to the account and even what you hope to get out of it. That creates transparency and the underpinnings of trust.
  2. Find people to follow. They’ll likely follow you back, broadening and enriching your conversation.
  3. To start, sit back and watch conversations unfold. As your comfort level grows, be proactive by participating in and starting conversations related to your business.
  4. Be generous: Offer more than you get back and always try to be responsive to peers and customers.

A caveat as Jon Miller notes, "Tweets don’t yet show up in Google search results, and links can’t influence your SEO rankings.”





25.4.09

[libraries and mobile technologies]


Very interesting report by Ellyssa Kroski on mobile technology and it's shaping/changing of libraries and information access. See page 27 for a detailed analysis of social networks as a mobile subgenre. From chapter 1:
"Imagine walking by a movie poster for the upcoming Harry Potter film and scanning it with a click of your camera-phone in order to download associated ringtones, get showtimes, or even buy tickets. How about snapping a photo while browsing through a magazine to get a free sample of a new perfume? This may sound like science-fiction right now, but in Japan, this type of mobile search technology is widespread, and already similar services in the U.S. are developing which promise just this type of virtual engagement with the world around us. Think about the convenience of scanning the logo on someone’s Yankees cap to instantly receiving the latest score from the game. This is what's coming.
Today, most of us are primarily using our cell phones to download ringtones and check our email, but there is an abundance of truly amazing services we can access through the mobile Web right now. Armed with a smartphone, PDA, or other Internet-ready mobile mechanism, users can retrieve local traffic information, bus, train, and airline schedules, and look up weather reports. But more impressively, they can also access mobile social networks which will alert them when their friends are nearby, text in a pizza order to Dominos, borrow e-books from their library, take a guided audio tour of a museum, and watch CNN. Through the mobile Web, people can download audiobooks, upload camera-phone photos to Flickr, receive turn-by-turn driving directions, and have in-store coupons delivered to them.
The computer, media player, and cell phone are all converging into a single device as manufacturers aim to provide a complete experience for the consumer. This evolution of handheld devices combined with new high-speed wireless data networks make browsing the mobile Internet a more compelling experience. Much like the transition the Web experienced when broadband access became widely attainable, the mobile Web is turning a corner and becoming useful to the everyday user. While mass adoption is still in its infancy in this country, the landscape is developing quickly. Now is the time to get on-board and on-the-move with the mobile Web."
About libraries:

"Libraries are mastering the mobile Web to bring patrons a new set of services – services that their users are coming to expect from their communities and content providers. They are leveraging the technology that their patrons are currently using, such as cell phones and iPods, to deliver robust new services without making users leave their comfort zones. And these portable offerings are serving to integrate library services with patrons' daily lives.
Mobile Library Websites and MOPACs (Mobile OPACs) A growing number of libraries are creating mobile versions of their websites for their patrons to access on-the-go. They are offering information about library services and collections, providing access to library catalog search, portable exhibit information, subject guides, e-journals, and library hours, all formatted for the small screen."
Read more here: http://eprints.rclis.org/15024/1/mobile_web_ltr.pdf



21.4.09

[digital arts and culture conference: cfp]

The biannual Digital Arts & Culture conference takes place in California in December 2009 (http://dac09.uci.edu)

The abstract submission deadline = May 1st

This time the conference is organised around themes, here is a very interesting one:

"Theme: The Present and Future of Humanist Inquiry in the Digital Field
What contributions may literary, poetic, and aesthetic idioms of humanist inquiry -- traditionally associated with problems of lyrical expression, narrativity, linguistic subjectivity, and authorial and readerly agencies -- continue to offer to the analysis of medial practices and systems in the era of mobile, distributed, and social media? The crux of this question, we
propose, lies in the specifically historical purchase of humanist method: its ability to (re)situate new symbolic practices in complex and nuanced relation to prior traditions and atavisms of expressive language and action -- in contrast to the reductively progressivist, de-historicizing impulses of much of contemporary digitalism.

This theme welcomes exemplary close readings (literary-theoretical, formalist, narratological, ludological, etc.) of electronic literature and poetry, single- and multiple-player computer games, social media, and hard and soft medial apparatuses of the digital field. Especially encouraged are such close readings which also make general claims regarding the significance of humanist investigations of digital arts and cultures."





More info at:
http://dac09.uci.edu/call.html


20.4.09

[social media analytics]

Great post from Ben Parr on Mashable on how to track social media stats:



Understand what you want to track


As with most things in life, you can’t conquer what you don’t understand, or at least what you haven’t really though about.

What is your goal? Do you want to track how people are sharing your website? Do you want to track a specific social media campaign? Or maybe you’re just interested in trends related to a specific meme or social media phenomenon? Each one requires different tools and different focus.

You’re going to focus on traffic statistics if you’re tracking social media website engagement, while if you’re tracking a wider campaign, TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews response and positive comments might be a more appropriate metric.


Optimize your existing analytics software



Social Media Metrics Image

Most of us use analytics software like Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics reviewsGoogle Analytics reviews, Woopra, or Omniture to track website data like traffic, visitors, pages per visitor, and traffic sources. Most of these analytics tools can track a wealth of data, but they are not designed to track social media data. Luckily, there are a few ways to beef up your analytics software for social media. Some quick tools and suggestions:

Social Media Metrics Plugin: Social Media Metrics is a greasemonkey extension that adds a social media information layer to Google Analytics, providing information on Diggs, stumbles, delicious bookmarks, and more for each individual page. Be aware - it’s not perfect.

Set up specific campaigns and events for social media: Most analytics software has custom campaigns to make it easy to track specific events. You can track a specific Twitter traffic campaign or DiggBar URL with campaigns.

Reorganize dashboards and set up email reports: To get specific information on social media, have traffic stats from top social media websites (i.e. Digg, FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews, Twitter, etc.) emailed to you so you can see it all in one place. In addition, reorganize any dashboards you have to show this information for easy access.


Add new analytics tools



Xinureturns Image

Even with web analytics tools, you don’t have all the tools necessary to get started tracking analytics related to social media. Why not add some more tools to your inventory that track detailed social metrics? Some suggestions:

Bit.ly: When you use a URL shortener, it’s always a smart idea to use one that has analytics information, like Bit.ly. This will track information like number of clicks, traffic sources, and even at what time clicks occur.

Xinureturns: Despite the funny Scientology-inspired name, xinureturns provides a great dashboard overview of your website’s standing in social media. Run a report and you will receive information on Technorati, Googe Pagerank, Diggs, and even backlinks to your website.

PostRank: Formerly known as AideRSS, PostRank provides detailed information on Tweets, stumbles, diggs, and FriendFeedFriendFeed reviewsFriendFeed reviews all in one place. It’s best for blogs and websites with a lot of content.

SocialToo: SocialToo is a comprehensive tool for creating social surveys and tracking social stats. It also will send you a daily email describing follows and unfollows on Twitter.


Aggregate your analytics


There are a lot of tools for gathering social media information, but no one place has everything you need. You don’t have time to look at all of the tools, so aggregate your analytics information.

There is no single tool that will bring this information together, so you’ll have to do it yourself. Export data into excel, pdf, or email and record all of the information to one area, whichever works best for you. Building a spreadsheet may be best for playing with the numbers. Make it easily accessible.


Analyze and engage


The last step is always the most important one - the actual analysis. It takes years of dedication to the art of web analytics to really understand how each variable affects website traffic and user engagement, but by looking at this data in one place and comparing the information, you will hopefully be able to pick up on trends.

This guide is only how to get started with social media analytics. Take the time to find great tools and to understand how each of the social media levers affects traffic and analytics data. But most of all, use the data to engage your audience. You can figure out what they’re looking for using social media analytics, so be sure to act upon the data once you’ve analyzed it.





Read the post here: http://mashable.com/2009/04/19/social-media-analytics/







15.4.09

[e-books for e-ducation]

A British Columbia school is trading in books for e-books:

"It’s about as big as a day-planner and much, much lighter than 300 textbooks.

Flicking from virtual page to virtual page, teacher Devon Stokes-Bennett deftly navigates through her electronic book, highlighting passages of Marley and Me. She looks right at home in this brave new world of education.

WestShore Centre for Learning and Training, part of the Sooke School District, is introducing 50 e-books to its students in an attempt to give learning a push into the digital age.

“These kids were born in the digital era. They came out of the womb knowing how to use technology,” says Daphne Churchill, principal of WCLT. “(For students), going to a building and trying to access information out of books, to copy it down ... doesn’t make sense in their world anymore.”

WCLT is the first school in the province to adopt e-books as a vehicle to deliver part of its curriculum, mainly novels for English class. The pilot project — called Teaching for the 21st Century — has also caught the attention of the University of Victoria’s digital humanities department.

Before full rollout, a few WCLT students are “beta testing” the electronic book technology — the main roadblocks are SD 62 security features conflicting with online digital libraries. The educators admit they depend on students to flush out problems. Kids are driving how the technology is used in the classroom, not the other way around, Stokes-Bennett says.

“They play around, take intuitive guesses. They just poke away at it,” she says. “We’ve got to listen to the kids to find out what works. This can’t be imposed from the top-down.”

Stokes-Bennett and fellow teacher Dawn Anderson launched the e-book project after being awarded $75,000 from the Times-Colonist Raise-a-Reader fund. Part of the grant went toward 50 Sony Reader Digital Books.

E-books are part of the inevitable evolution of education, the teachers say.

Virtual books can’t be lost or damaged, allowing more money directed into student resources (although electronic readers are about $400 each). The most basic e-book can collapse dozens of heavy textbooks into a 200 gram computer. Buying the rights to digital copies is half the price as physical books, Stokes-Bennett says.

On the learning end, e-books allow students to integrate study with online social networking, blogging and almost instantaneous access to information that has become the norm. Ultimately, it’s supposed to help students become better readers and more creative thinkers.

UVic English professor Ray Siemens, the Canada Research Chair for Digital Humanities, said the WCLT project will allow his lab to better understand how electronic media influences learning.

For instance, if a high school student reads a Charles Dickens novel, they would normally tap into associated online social networks, dictionaries, wikis and information, which enhances and encourages the learning process, he says. Take that resource away and the students are less likely to succeed.

“Kids of this generation are very intuitive. They quickly realize the benefits of working this way,” Siemens says. “I’m interested in learning from those who are emerging readers, where all the computer skills reside. This is a generation who doesn’t know the world without computers, e-mail or networking.”

It’s still early days, but Siemens says e-book technology, book publishers and the reading public have finally found an equilibrium. “E-ink” technology is easier on the eyes and more people are reading with electronic media. He expects the next generation of kids to almost exclusively use electronic reading devices.

The e-books at WCLT are black and white and have rudimentary graphics, but the educators say they are the future of education. Stokes-Bennett described it as teaching kids skills for the future instead of obsolete methods of the past.

Churchill expects to iron out the kinks and see what sets of problems emerge using e-books, but ultimately they would like to see the project expand across the district.

“This will fundamentally change the way we do education,” she says."



13.4.09

[creative momentum]


Diversityworks in new Zealand have just launched Creative Momentum, a 'virtual movement around creative diversity'. Through an international website and local events they want to create more
awareness of creativity and diversity.

To begin with, they want to know what creative diversity means to you. Each month they will profile a featured creative and welcome you to comment, question and use this space to explore how creativity and diversity interact.

Visit Creative Momentum at http://www.creativemomentum.org

http://creativemomentum.wordpress.com

Join the virtual movement here: http://creativemomentum.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=060d69c34940f90bd7ae1fe0a&id=f59e1b6de5


9.4.09

[experimental media: call for scholar, research & artist in residence]

EMPAC is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for both its Artist in Residence and its Scholar and Researcher in Residence programs.

Artist in Residence Program

The combination of artist-driven content with contemporary media and performing arts technology in the field of time- based arts stands in the center of the artistic research and production activities of EMPAC. EMPAC’s goal is to provide an environment to support the realization of works at any stage from inception to completion. This means that an EMPAC residency can support works which take a long period of time to develop and which may need different resources at different phases of the production. Along with a state-of- the-art facility, we offer residents the support of a full time staff of experts in audio, video and stage technologies. Commissions are initiated by EMPAC whereas residencies are open to artist proposals.

» More Information, Guidelines, + Application Process

Scholar and Researcher in Residence Program

EMPAC aims to create an environment of fertile creation, cross- pollination, and intellectual stimulation. Visiting scholars and researchers will participate in the formation of an intellectual community in scientific and engineering disciplines that may also engage perceptual and artistic knowledge and practice. EMPAC will also be a platform for research activities in areas such as augmented reality, virtual reality, scientific visualization, audification, haptics, human/machine interfaces and interaction, auralization, and multi-modal modeling in large-scale, fully media-integrated environments.

» More Information + Application Process



8.4.09

[getting fired over facebook use]

From The Age:

"About three weeks ago, Roseanna Brisbane, after a long day doing casual work for a Queensland Government agency, updated her Facebook status saying that in future she would be "saying no to working for shitty Government departments".

She did not name the department or any individuals in her message but a colleague and Facebook friend saw the update and passed it on to her boss. She was promptly "escorted out of the building" on her next day back at work.

She said she was a casual so had few options in terms of unfair dismissal claims.

Brisbane, 20, believed she was targeted because of a back injury she obtained at work that restricted her productivity.

Her mother, Jillian, said she could understand critics who say people should be careful about what they publish online. But young people saw Facebook as their main tool for communicating privately with friends and did not expect their bosses to be spying on them.

"It is becoming the Soviet state type thing where you're scared of talking to someone in case they go and tell someone else," she said.

[...]

Another reader, Bummer, was fired from his job on his first day over Facebook comments he made regarding the company's long recruitment process. He did not mention the company name and expected the comments were private but later found out he was not using the correct Facebook privacy settings.

"I don't agree that employers should use social networking tools to learn more about their employees as most people's 'social' personality and 'work' personality are vastly different. I definitely learned the hard way," the reader said.

[...]

Last week this website reported several other examples of Australians being sacked or disciplined over seemingly innocuous online posts, including the case of a man who says he was fired from his job at a "large corporate bank" for using the word "recession" in his Facebook profile.

Furthermore, the NSW Department of Corrective Services is threatening to sack prison officers over posts they made to a Facebook group criticising the cash-strapped State Government's plans to privatise Parklea and Cessnock prisons."



7.4.09

[2 employment opportunities: professor of new media and digital culture and research assistant in new media and education


Here are two exciting opportunities for new media and digital culture academics. One is an assistant prof. position at the University of the Netherlands, the other is a research assistant role on an exciting project to create an educational website (with the British Library).

Association of Universities in The Netherlands - VSNU

Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture

University of Amsterdam

Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture
(Noord-Holland), 30 hours per week
University of Amsterdam

Job description
The ideal candidate would have familiarity with the study of digital media in the humanities, and have made acquaintance with such areas as cyberculture, digital humanities, information aesthetics and visualization, Internet studies, media arts, media history, media theory and/or virtual ethnography. Internet skills are essential, as is up-to-date knowledge of Internet culture. Practical experience in working with Web-based applications (e.g., blogs and wikis) is desirable.

The new media and digital culture team is part of the Media Studies department and concerns itself with research strategies for the critical study of Internet culture. The Assistant Professor is expected to teach on both the bachelor's and master's degree levels, in courses concerned with such topics as digital journalism, digital aesthetics, Internet research methods and techniques, media archaeology as well as the politics of code.

Candidates also should have a new media research agenda.

Tasks:
  • Teaching and developing teaching activities both as part of and outside the Media and Culture programme
  • (Co-)supervising Bachelor's and Master's theses
  • Independently conducting research in the area mentioned, resulting in contributions to leading international publications
  • Co-supervising PhD candidates
  • Making a contribution to raising contract and indirect funding
Requirements
Required education/skills:
  • Relevant PhD degree
  • Experience in research and excellent research skills, evidenced by publications in renowned international professional journals / book form
  • Teaching experience at the university level and demonstrable didactic abilities and / or training, evidence by an educational portfolio
  • Experience with digital and audio-visual equipment; affinity with ICT in academic education
  • Team spirit and capable of functioning at all levels of more than one study programme
  • Willingness to develop in a multidisciplinary capacity in order to be able to participate in multiple areas of the Faculty's curriculum
  • Organisational experience and skills
  • Thorough knowledge of Dutch and English; non-native Dutch speakers must achieve fluency in Dutch within two years
Read more about this opportunity here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/XF244/Assistant_Professor_of_New_Media_and_Digital_Culture/

Closing Date: Sunday, 19th April 2009

British Library

Research Assistant

Children's Play in the New Media Age

St Pancras, London
18-month post, starting October 2009
£30,768
Ref: S&C00166

This is an opportunity to explore the theme of children's play and develop an interactive resource that will be used by audiences worldwide.

The British Library, in collaboration with the Institute of Education, the University of Sheffield and the University of East London, is embarking on a innovative project entitled ‘Children's Play in the New Media Age', inspired by the Opie Collection of Children's Games and Songs.

As part of a team of researchers you'll deliver an educational website aimed at a variety of audiences, learners and researchers. Specifically, you'll be involved in selecting, editing and digitising audio recordings, enhancing existing catalogue records and writing descriptive and interpretative content.

Excellent research and organisational skills are essential. It's likely you will have a post-graduate or equivalent qualification in an area such as Childhood Studies, Primary Education, Folklore/Cultural Tradition, Sociology or Social Studies - and you will certainly be familiar with the research output of Peter and Iona Opie.

Basic technical skills and experience of creating educational resources and/or web content are also important. However, training will be provided where required.

To apply for this unique opportunity, visit http://gs10.globalsuccessor.com/fe/tpl_britishlibrary01.asp?newms=jj&id=65150&----JOB-PREVIEW-MODE----

Closing date: 29 April 2009

Read more about this position here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/GH546/







5.4.09

[open access journal pilot project]


Via Jacqueline Wilson, CDL Senior Associate for Shared Content:

"This ground-breaking agreement enables UC-authored articles accepted for publication in most of the 2000+ Springer journals to be published through Springer Open Choice, allowing full and immediate access to all readers. These articles will also be fully accessible through UC’s eScholarship publishing platform. UC authors pay no additional publication fees to support this open access model."

A task force appointed by the Scholarly Communications Officers (SCO) worked with the California Digital Library (CDL) to prepare information on the UC/Springer Open Access Journal Publishing Pilot, originally announced in January, for distribution to UC authors on each campus. The information can be found on the Reshaping Scholarly Communication site at http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/alternatives/springer_faq.html. This site includes a FAQ, a link to the Springer journals covered by the pilot as well as a short list of titles excluded from the program. It is expected that campuses will customize the information to suit their local audience.

As was noted in the original message about this arrangement, it will be important to the success of the pilot that as many UC authors as possible know about this open access opportunity. Scholarly Communications Officers and others will distribute information about this agreement to appropriate faculty and other authors on their campus as part of the local publicity plans that they have developed.

Final versions of the Springer journal articles published during the pilot will be available in the eScholarship Repository beginning in the fall.

CDL is pleased to have made this ground-breaking arrangement with Springer on behalf of UC authors and the Task Force is looking forward to assessing the results of this experiment as it unfolds over the next two years.

UC/Springer Open Access Journal Publishing Pilot Task Group:

Ivy Anderson (CDL)
Catherine Mitchell (CDL)
Margaret Phillips (Berkeley)
Jacqueline Wilson (CDL, Chair)






3.4.09

[social media and sustainability]



Recently I was asked to give a presentation to a group on the theme of social media and sustainability. I began with an introduction to some web 2.0 applications (blogs, wikis, twitter) and the usefulness of rss. Then I gave some examples of organisations employing aspects of social media to generate interest/support in an environmental issue or to garner information. Early into my introduction I asked the group (there were about 35 or so) to answer some questions to give me (and them) and idea of how they are situated in relation to social media.
The questions I asked included:

  • Do you send txt msgs?
  • Do you blog or comment on blogs?
  • Do you listen to podcasts?
  • Do you have a Facebook profile?
  • Do you participate on an e-mail list?
  • Have you watched a YouTube video?
  • Do you Tweet?
  • Do you have a Flickr account?
  • Do you aggregate RSS feeds?

How do you think the group did? Would your prediction change if I told you this was research-oriented group? That mostly everyone there was over 35 (except perhaps for a few ph.d students who joined us and the speaker of course...)?

Well no one had a blog though a few did listen to podcasts and the question about tweeting generated a few giggles. Two people in the room had photo-sharing accounts but no one knew what RSS was so definitely no one was using a feed aggregator. Having said this, I think I'd have received similar answers with a younger group. In fact, having posed this questions to my first year and third year media undergrads they too did not have blogs but they watched and uploaded videos and shared photos and updates with facebook. No one there knew about rss either. So, not too dissimilar...which leads me to...

Someone at the talk implied that *we* (harumph) are digital immigrants and that our students and the groups we're trying to target (in this case, to instill change and be proactive about the environment) are digital natives, ergo they *know* this *stuff*... Firstly, I disagree that technology-use is a generational thing (think of silver surfers). Secondly, just because you or your child or your niece or whomever...has access to a nintendo ds or a psp or txts all the time does not mean that they are literate and know how to protect themselves online and recognise issues related to identity theft, bullying and even future employment (do you really want your future employer to see evidence of a drunken saturday night - I know my first and third years did NOT realise this).

I think there's often talk about helping students become *literate* (or transliterate) in the online environment - how do they navigate all the different modes alongside identity and IP (especially for researchers) etc...but what about the teachers? Where is the acknowledgment that those doing the teaching also need time to learn, absorb and choose how and if they're going to implement web 2.0 applications? I'm wondering more about this because although the group I was talking with weren't there in terms of pedagogy the questions they asked were just as applicable:

  • why *should* we use [enter application here, twitter/facebook/blogs/podcasts/youtube/flickr]?
  • doesn't this just add more work?
  • what are the benefits?
I think it's to be expected that there is anxiety with new things; adding to our work and generating frustration but I think the examples I showed of organisations leveraging social media to share ideas and generate buzz illustrated well the potentials. I quite like what ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three leading environmental groups that have worked with the B.C. government, First Nations and industry leaders to British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest. Together, they launched a social media campaign using facebook, twitter, blogs and youtube videos. They also made it easy for supporters to send pre-written protest e-mails and add their voices to the campaign. On the 31st of March 2009 the social media efforts paid off:

"March 31, 2009, Vancouver, British ColumbiaThe promise made three years ago to protect one-third of British Columbia’s globally unique Great Bear Rainforest and develop the foundations for a conservation-based economy in the region has been fulfilled. Today’s announcement is greatly welcomed by ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three leading environmental groups that have worked with the B.C. government, First Nations and industry leaders to ensure the promise would be kept. Today’s announcement lays out the tremendous ecological and economic gains for the region and the long-term commitment to ensure the health of the rainforest and communities."


Have a look at the youtube video:




The questions after the session were enlightening. Most were excited to explore social media themselves but admitted that they didn't really know about "these sorts of things." They wanted to learn but weren't sure whether they had the institutional support. So key the to us being able to pass on knowledge is institutional/work support in terms of teaching the teachers (employees etc...) and giving them the time to learn how to use tools effectively (of course this goes for anything right? not just social media or computer technologies). I must say, the IOCT is brilliant in that respect - using twitter and facebook and blogging are recognised aspects of research and demonstrate interaction with/in the field. (disclosure: I am employed as a Research Fellow at the IOCT).