Digital Literacies

Researching New Literacies, Learning and Everyday Life

Archive for February, 2010

Twitter Witter

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It’s been a bit of a toughie week for me in a number of ways. Firstly my Twitter account got hacked on FOUR occasions. This meant that not only did I send out hundreds of pornographic Direct Messages to all my followers ( and others besides), but that I also had to read hundreds of messages from people I had sent these messages to, telling me my account had been hacked. I have spent a LOT of time this week sending polite thank yous to all those people, apologising and explaining that “Yes, I will change my password.” What a pain in the B. U. M. A plus side was finding this video on YouTube telling me what to do if my Twitter account got hacked:

talk about laid back! I love this guy’s style. In my wanderings, looking for a hacker solution I also came across the good old Hitler ‘Downfall’ meme which this time has a Twitter slant:

Anyhow, that aside I have also been irked by the inane criticisms of those who ‘tweet’; the criticisms are usually about how Twitter people write banal rubbish all the time. This morning we had to endure comedienne Bridget Christie on Broadcasting House moaning on about how tweeting is

‘adolescent and childish and undignified and ridiculous’.

Reading a report if The Sunday Mirror about the policeman who uses Twitter and sneers at him, reading out his tweets in mocking tones. Obviously I don’t want to moan on too much about dear Bridget, and I am sure she was only trying to make us laugh. But basically, Twitter is going to represent the thoughts of a cross section of society, some of whom will get on our nerves, some of whom we will dislike intensely and some of whom we might even admire.

But it is just people talking to each other. Think of it like people talking on buses. Some groups of people on buses will talk to each other – and if you want, you can probably listen in. You can even JOIN in if you feel brave. Or you can listen to your ipod and tune them out. These people will be talking about all kinds of stuff and maybe the topics of their conversations will reflect something about the kind of people they are; or how they know each other; or it might have to do with where they are going. Sometimes the stuff they say will be profound and sometimes not. When we hear people saying stuff that is not interesting to us, or that is only about the weather, well that’s fine. They may just be doing their whole phatic thing and this is part of human behaviour. It’s all about saying hello; are you OK? I acknowledge you and your humanity and your right to be in the world. So. Leave the people on buses alone. And by the same token, let people say what they like on Twitter.

They will sometimes be talking about stuff that interests you and sometimes not. And yes, I know this stuff has all been said before.
But I will probably say it all again soon too. Because that’s what life is like. Bakhtinian Buzz.

Talking on the bus

Written by DrJoolz

February 28th, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Breaking down the Walls

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I have a tough job keeping up with blogging, Flickr and Facebook. I like to keep up some kind of presence on all of them – communicating with different groups of people on each one – with my blog probably serving my purposes more than that of any readers’. My blog is me thinking stuff through; Flickr I like to comment on photos and have comments back. I definitely want interaction on Flickr. Most of my Flickr contacts are people I met IN Flickr rather than knowing them before. It has opened up new groups of people for me. Facebook is the place where I only talk to people I know face to face; it does the job of helping me keep in touch with friends and family I don’t see often. So I have my own ideas about how I want to interact in ecah space and who with. I wish I had time to keep up with Twitter – I follow loads of people who I think are interesting … and I am able to pick up their leads to useful sites and bits of info. I really appreciate it all – but at the moment don’t offer much. And I think I have not really yet worked out properly qhat I want Twitter to do for me and how I want to use it.

On Twitter I love how you can gather names of like minded people – I use mine to follow people interested in web 2.0 and education – but there are only so many hours in the day and I have not worked out yet exactly how to get the best from it, for my purposes. However I do really love to see what Orange Class (known as ClassroomTweets) are up to and think it is wonderful that a Year One group of kids are learning about how they can communicate beyond their classroom walls – that learning need not be confined to the space they are in. They have a teacher, MultiMartin, who is very inspirational and always looking for ways to broaden the learning experiences of his class. And in case you are wondering, here’s a handy list of reasons why teachers might decide to use Twitter.

In the meantime Mrs Cassidy has won an award and has showcased her Web 2.0 classroom activities on a super new video.

I love how her kids present the video and are so proud to show their learning. I am sure that knowing they can share what they do, engages them and motivates them.

Finally, I have another interest in the way people challenge walls … and that is with streetart. Here’s some from Toronto:

worship the walls

k

Written by DrJoolz

February 7th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Distributed Idenity and stickiness

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I really enjoy reading Sheila Webber’s Information Literacy blog, but I must admit I enjoy her Second Life blog even more. In the SL blog, writing as Sheila Yokishawa, she writes as her alter ego – her second life avatar. I love the way the blogs are separate but that they work together in some way, sometimes referring to each other. Sheila weaves her way between the spaces and somehow this has an effect on a kind of distributed identity across the spaces. (More of Distributed Identity later; I want to explore this idea when on study Leave over the next few months). Other peoples web spaces also interact in interesting ways – e.g from blog, to Flickr, to professional sites.

Anyhow, catching up with Sheila Yoshikawa’s blog today, I noticed how in the 12th January post she mentions chocolate.

As is quite customary on Sheila’ blog she begins with a series of ratings:

No of meetings attended: 2 (good); No. of trees felled: 8 (good); No of trees planted: 7 (good); No. of times have tagged a blog entry with the word “chocolate”: 0 until today (surprising: in RL would probably have to tag every day “chocolate”)

I am assuming that in Real Life Sheila is trying not to eat chocolate at the moment. This has made me think about the idea of stickiness…. . Here I am not talking about chocolate smears, but about the way there are certain aspects of our offline selves that show through our online selves. There are aspects that we decide to show and tell about; it is all about display (Guy and I wrote about this in our chapter on academic blogging). Then there is stuff which we betray about ourselves which comes through no matter what – aspects of our identity that stick like burrs. Maybe it is our anglo-centrism; maybe it is our love of chocolate.

Guy Merchant has written about identity in terms of anchored and transient identities – with the transient aspects appearing and disappearing at different times of our lives. But anchored aspects – perhaps gender – stay with most of us all our lives.

I think there are some choices we make about identity online, and what aspects we decide to ‘bring with us’. I am going to think about these aspects as ‘sticky’; they stay with an individual across spaces. Other aspects, we might choose to disconnect ourselves from. This is why some people find the Internet liberating (the disabled, for example); others may find the Internet frustrating and so for example, things like learning difficulties may have a stickiness that limit our ability to participate online.

Finally … the snow took me by surprise when I came to walk home this evening. It was quite beautiful as massive flakes of snow fell and quickly created a carpet everywhere:

Tree shadow

Written by DrJoolz

February 3rd, 2010 at 10:17 pm