28 August 2008
I made it! Yay! I’m actually thinking of looking up the other “things” programs that have more things and trying the ones that we didn’t do here. I feel like this was a great way to browse the 2.0 technologies.
That is the thing I got the most out of all this; it’s a way to browse. A lot of people asked me why I was taking this course, since I already had a Facebook page and did web design and had tried to use Second Life. My answer was two-fold.
- I only know about 50% of the technologies on this list. About 25% of those I got involved with out of need or invite and never learned their full functionality.
- I knew of all the other technologies, but I had an attitude about them and I wanted the opportunity to see if those assumptions were wrong.
And I did that. Now I have a good idea of all of them, and want to explore more. But it doesn’t mean that I’ll use them all. I think the best thing we can all take from this experience is that there is a great deal of great new stuff out there. But, like you wouldn’t buy every cereal in the aisle, you won’t “buy” all this technology. And that’s okay. We don’t have to like it all, but we do have to know about it. We have to be able to answer questions about what it’s for. We have to be able to recommend it to someone for whom it may be useful, even if we do not find it useful personally. And I think now, we would all agree, it only takes a short time here and there to learn enough to reach a reasonable point of knowing. If we want to go further, great, but that base level isn’t optional, nor difficult to attain.
I will think more on some of Mara’s questions and post more later, but having reached the end, these are my first reflections.
23 August 2008
Google Docs has been on my personal to-do list for a while…that and iGoogle, sigh. Just this week I got my first invite as a Google Docs collaborator for a meeting agenda. Suspiciously, this agenda was written by another 23 Things participant…I’ve got my eye on you, Mary! So, I got my first chance to edit a collaborative document and so far so good! The only objection I have to it is the part where you share the doc. It’s really confusing. For instance, I wanted to send my updates for this agenda to all the contributors and add a couple more contributors, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how! Perhaps if I bothered to do a tutorial, or read some instructions. There seems to be a trend emerging where I won’t “stop and ask for directions.” That’s no good.
That first part there was written in Google Docs and posted to my blog from that application. It was a snap to set it up. Oddly enough, it didn’t post to my blog immediately. It was listed as scheduled in my post manager. I wonder when it would have posted, as it is 6:42 and it said it was scheduled for 5:42. I’ll have to investigate this further and I’m sure it has something to do with mismatched time zones.
I’m finding that the collaborative element of Google Docs is much like a Wiki, and I think this is where a lot of 2.0 confusion comes from. So many of these tools overlap, it’s difficult to know when to choose which one. When would it be better to choose Google Docs over PBWiki? I guess you’d have to play with both of them more to answer this question, but who has time for that. Sometimes you just want to know “this is the tool to use, learn this one and go.”
20 August 2008
The wiki experience that I had most recently was with the New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS) Wiki. There were 33 people at NELLS and in times of old, all of these people would be introduced at the event and all other information would be sent in a static email, to which to sender would get eleventy million replies. With NELLS, though, the coordinators set up a wiki with their own introductions and the details of the trip, and it was up to the rest of us to fill in our own information. This was great because when we arrived, we already had some knowledge of each other and something to talk about! You knew whose brain you might want to pick over a particular problem. And, it save the coordinators all that time, so they could focus on the Symposium and not on reading 33 individual emails a day!
I have always thought that a wiki would be the ideal policy writing tool. If your library needs a policy written, toss a draft up in a wiki and let everyone edit it until it is the right policy for your institution with everyone’s input included. Plus, you didn’t have to sit through hours and hours of meetings just to say that you found a minor typo. And again, it saves the person who is ultimately responsible for presenting the final version from having to read 10 different emails with 10 different attached documents with 10 different sets of edits. We just did some policies at my work and I totally did not suggest this method, but I will next time!
Overall I really like the wiki, but this technology more than any other seems to be the 2.0 thing everyone and their mother is using. I see so many wikis that just don’t make sense as wikis. And their not being used as wikis, their being used a websites. This is not to say that one can’t also be the other, what I’m saying is that a lot of wikis are being used as websites and NOT wikis. I don’t know, maybe I’m being picky, but I was always taught to use the right tools for the job. Does this mean that I never unscrew something with a butter knife…no. But do I know that I am using the inappropriate tool…yes. Do these places (I wish I had a good example off the top of my head…maybe I’ll insert one later) know that they are not using the right tool for the job…maybe/maybe not. I guess I think there would be more success with these things if more people allowed themselves the time, like in this course, to really figure out what this stuff is about for before implementing it. I’d love to see the success rate go up a little, that’s all.