Category Archives: twitter

Planning your session for #altc

typing on a laptop

 

So I know you have already planned your session for the ALT conference next week?

No?

Good!

Even if you have planned your session, you might find these tips and advice useful.

Don’t run over time…

This always happens, even with good timekeeping from conference organisers there is nothing more annoying when a session runs over time, or more usually the session is cut short and we miss all the good bits. If you struggle to keep to time, rehearse and practice. Go through your presentation with a friend to check that it is just twenty minutes long.

Focus on the important

With short twenty minute sessions, you don’t have time. So don’t spend the presentation telling us your back story, history of the session, who was involved and the methodology. Get straight to the results, the impact and the outcomes. I have been to a lot of sessions in which most of the session is the background to the work rather than the work itself and the results. When I am attending a session at a conference I want to know what happened and what was the impact of what happened. You may want to consider delivering your planned session backwards, tell us the impact. Then describe the outcomes that enabled this impact. Then deliver us the results of your work. If you have time you can tell us the methodology, but by then you have us hooked. So we can always read the paper for the full story if it interests us, or we can read your blog post on the session, which brings me nicely onto…

session

Amplify your session

Do write a blog post about your session, tell us all about it, provide links, papers and biographies. Do reference this blog post in your talk. Follow up your session with a blog post, one thing that you could do is reference any questions which were asked with a fuller explanation. Use the Twitter to tell people about your session, use the hashtag #altc and describe your session and why it will be interesting. Use a tool such as Tweetdeck to send automated tweets during your presentation, with references, links, blog posts, images, etc… again with the hashtag #altc so that others can pick them up. Going through the ALT Conference website, invite people to your session.

microphone

Presentation

When presenting read your slides out.

Make sure you fill with slides with as much text as possible, just so you can ask people at the back can they read them.

Ensure graphs and diagrams are taken from a document so that the details are unreadable even from the front row.

Cover your presentation with organisational branding, so that everyone knows where you are from and can be distracted from the actual content.

Okay…

Seriously do think about your presentation. Think of the session as a story.

Don’t read your slides out, use the slides to inform and talk to the audience about the stuff you did or are doing. The slides should inform this not be all the talk written down. Despite everyone saying don’t read your slides, people still do it.

Less is more, sometimes more is better. So don’t cover your slides in lots of text. One slide with six bullet points has less impact then six slides with a single piece of information. Use less words (or even just a single word) and expand this when you present.

Images can be very powerful and can replace words.

Don’t use clipart though, go somewhere like Pixabay and find some decent photographic images.

When using graphs and diagrams, don’t just copy them from the paper you published, simplify them. Do they add to the story you are telling?

You may have no choice about the slide branding!

Follow up

People may want to follow up on what you have presented on. Can they contact you easily? You could do this with a slide, or some flyers might be easier. Always useful to follow up your session with a blog post. You can even ask others to do this.

So what are your session preparation tips?

Ten Years on the Twitter

I have now been on the Twitter for ten years…

Five years ago, I wrote a post about five years on Twitter.

Twitter actually started eleven years ago and probably like most people joined when it became “big” after SXSW in 2007.

I didn’t use it much in the first year, partly as there were very few people on it, more so because I was using Jaiku a similar service available back then.

In the ten years of using the service I have posted nearly 43,000 tweets and have nearly 5000 followers. I currently follow just under 700 people and in the past I tried and keep it to under 500 otherwise I feel that the stream becomes too quick and loaded. I probably need to cull a few followers…

Back in 2012 I said about the Twitter,

In the main looking at Twitter I usually use it to post links about my blogs, links to news and sites I have found interesting, photographs (usually via Instagram) and importantly conversations.

I still post links to my blog, interesting news and other links. I went through a phase of not posting photographs via Instagram, until I re-discovered IFTTT and created a “recipe” that posts my Instagram images as proper pictures to my Twitter stream.

My tweeting patterns haven’t changed too much, when I am travelling or at an event the amount of postings I make really increases. At events I will tweet about the presentations, discuss and also post links related to the sessions I am in. However I do appear to be tweeting more when at work.

My favourite conversation was singing Spandau Ballet’s Gold with BBC iPlayer.

I have a reputation for tweeting about coffee and in reality it only accounts for 3% of my tweets! Though a day after joining Twitter I did post a tweet about coffee!

I did once say Twitter would die…

Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die…

Well I certainly was wrong on that one.

Though twitter is mainly now about mainstream and traditional media accounts who in the main use Twitter for broadcasting, I still think there is a community there that use it for conversations and sharing.

We are seeing many more competitors out there, stuff like Snapchat, WhatsApp and even services such as Slack.

I am surprised that not only is Twitter still going after eleven years, but I am still engaging with it. Will I still be on it after another five or ten years… I have no idea!

Top Ten Web Tools of 2016

This is the ninth time I have compiled a list of the top ten web tools I have used during the year. I am finding it interesting looking back over 2008, 2009, 20102011201220132014 and 2015, which tools I still use and which have fallen by the wayside.

Just outside the top ten were Slack, Evernote and Waze.

10. Instagram – a social tool for sharing pictures and over 2016 I posted an image a day to Instagram. I still think I am not using it to it’s full potential.

9. Dropbox – I like how I can easily work on files on multiple devices. It just works. I prefer it over Google Drive and though iCloud comes close that only really works with Apple’s apps such as Pages and Keynote.

8 . Flickr – I’ve been on Flickr for over ten years now, I still find it an ideal place to store and curate images.

7. Google Docs – Though I prefer using Dropbox for working on individual files, when it comes to collaboration and sharing then Google Docs wins out every time.

6. Tweetdeck – Though I usually use the web client on my Mac, or the Twitter App on the phone, when it comes to tweet chats and live events, I switch to Tweetdeck. I also find it useful when following various hashtags.

5. Yammer – a kind of Facebook for work, but in my current workplace it works really well and a good replacement for many of the conversations that would have been done using e-mail and probably lost in e-mail.

4. Skype (includes Skype for Business) – I used Skype for many years for conversations and then just stopped. I now use it on a daily basis for “phone” calls and instant messaging. I have never really been a fan of instant messaging, so still getting use to that.

3. WordPress – I like to blog (can you tell) and this is still a clever piece of software. Despite the trials and tribulations of maintaining security the functionality and the features of WordPress make it a really useful web tool.

2. Jira and Confluence – though designed for software development I have found these great tools for task management and projects.

1. Twitter is once again my top web tool for 2016. It works for informing, conversations and collaboration.

So that’s my top ten web tools for 2016, what were yours?

Down the #altc road

altconfpodcast

Reading Maren Deepwell’s recent post about her #altc journey, it reminded me of the many conferences I have attended and like her the impact that they had on my life and professional practice. Going back to my experiences of my first ALT-C I was surprised I even went again!

Continue reading Down the #altc road

Just checking the e-mail…

iOS e-mail

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What’s the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk at work? I suspect you are probably checking your e-mail? It wouldn’t surprise me that you leave your e-mail client (like Outlook) open all the time and respond as those little pop-ups appear on your screen. So how often do you check your e-mail?

Actually I would think that if you are reading this blog, having seen the link on social media, that your answers to those questions would differ from the norms of the behaviour of most people in the workplace.

For many people e-mail is their work. Usually the first activity when arriving at work (after making a coffee of course) is checking the e-mail. Then throughout the working day the e-mail is checked and checked again. Productive activity is interrupted by those lovely notifications popping up. Mobile devices like the iPhone suddenly make e-mail even more accessibly, those red numbers going up and up and make it essential the e-mail is checked again, even when travelling, at home and at weekends. Work is e-mail and e-mail is work.

I find it interesting how often we default to e-mail as the main communication tool, to the point where it replaces other forms of communication or discussion. People also often use e-mail for various activities that really e-mail wasn’t designed for.

Continue reading Just checking the e-mail…

No, I am rubbish at Twitter

Train

Last Wednesday it was pouring with rain and I was travelling to work. I don’t usually do this (even if you think I do do this) I posted a couple of old school Twitter status updates.

and then this one reflecting on the fact I didn’t catch a bus…

So I have to say I did smile when later that day I read Kerry Pinny’s post on why she thinks she is rubbish at Twitter and she said

I follow a number of people who tweet regularly sometimes about the most mundane topics like drinking coffee or the weather.

Her post did make me think and reflect on how I and others use Twitter.

Going over my tweets from those early heady days of the Twitter when I started back in 2007 my use was very much “rubbish” and lightweight. There were no hashtags and I appeared to tweet lots about coffee. I know why I did that back then there was very little idea on how the Twitter could be used. So in order to make the most of it I disciplined myself to try and tweet at least once or twice a day. I did that with other service such as uploading photographs to Flickr and recording Audioboos. Usually I would be working, have a break, make some coffee, sit back down and think to myself I must use that Twitter. What am I doing , oh yes having a coffee.

Back in 2009 there were many more people using Twitter. What was happening was that lots of people were publishing blog posts on how to use Twitter in a professional context and there was a right and wrong way to use Twitter so I wrote this blog post: Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t.

One of the things that does annoy me about Twitter is the way in which people like to dictate to you how it should be used and how you should use it.

I still stand by most of what I wrote back then. Don’t tell people how they should use Twitter, let them know how you use Twitter and why.

As time went by I found Twitter useful in conferences, remember Twitter walls for those who didn’t do Twitter? As I started to deliver workshops and keynotes I found Twitter really useful for making and maintaining contacts and networks.

Twitter became an important source of news and links.

I now use Twitter for lots of reasons. I don’t just use it for my professional life I also use it for other stuff, sometimes serious, occasionally funny and usually tedious and rubbish stuff.

Yes I post links to my stuff, other people’s stuff and stuff in the news. Yes I post about conferences and contribute to tweetchats, I even ran one once.

I also post photos of my coffee and my lunch. I post photos of trains and boats.

I post mundane comments about the weather and the fact that I haven’t locked front door.

An important part of Twitter for me are the conversations.

I remember once someone saying they didn’t use the Twitter because it was just people posting what they had for their breakfast. I never saw that, so decided that every Sunday or so I would post what j had for my breakfast with the hashtag #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor and why not.

What I found interesting about that hashtag and tweets was how many people engaged with it, and why not?

I am for all and intents and purposes rubbish at this Twitter and the 4500 people who follow me must also be rubbish at Twitter. The 50 odd people who start to follow me each month must also be rubbish at Twitter.

The main conclusion I came to was we are all rubbish on Twitter.

If you find Twitter useful for something then use it. If you find the tweets of others useful then follow them.

Useful can mean interesting, fun, silly, inspiring, informative, whatever you want it to be.

Go do Twitter and be rubbish at it.

I am not a meerkat…

Meerkat

…and this is not an invitation…

So can you be both closed and open in social media? Is it oxymoronic to be unsocial and be on social media?

I have been writing and reading many discussions recently on the openness of social media and identity.

Lawrie in a recent post on his blog recounted a story about an adventure on a boat and the potential impact having an active social media life can have on your real life. He makes this point in his post:

There is a role for curating your online self, a conscious curation, it does not have to impact on who you are as a person, your authenticity or credibility, but we should be mindful.

What I found interesting about the story was how being somewhat open and public on the internet, there was an assumption by some in that story that those same behaviours that we find online are acceptable offline in the physical world. It made me reflect on identity both online and offline. Can we be social online and not as social offline? What do we mean by social and what norms of behaviours are acceptable and which are not.

There is a balance between what you do online and undertaking a similar approach offline. I occasionally chat with people on the Twitter, discuss presentations at conferences and re-tweet and like posts that other people make. Off the Twitter, I occasionally chat with people on the train, or in the supermarket, I may discuss presentations at conferences whilst queuing for coffee, and will applaud at appropriate moments.

Though I do talk to retail assistants and other customers in shops, or chat to people at a conference, neither of those behaviours as far as I am concerned do not mean I am your friend and you can pop around my house whenever you feel like it! In a similar vein, just because I @ you in a tweet, or heart your tweet, comment on your blog, this doesn’t mean I feel I can pop around your house for a cup of tea, or you can visit me for Sunday lunch.

Continue reading I am not a meerkat…

Social Media in FE and Skills – #jisc50social

Are you flying high in social media for UK further education and skills?

So are you using social media effectively to enhance, enrich teaching and learning and assessment in FE and Skills?

Maybe you are using Twitter to enhance learning through the use of Twitterchats or keeping lessons topical using a Hashtag.

This isn’t just about the Twitter, it’s about how you are using social media.

Are you enabling learners to debate and discuss using the communities feature of Google+ and using Google Docs for collaboration and assessment.

Do you have a Facebook page or group to engage with learners?

Is Periscope a tool that your learners are finding useful for live streaming from a workshop or the

Are your learners reflecting on their practice using tools such as Blogger, WordPress or Medium?

Why not help Jisc celebrate and share best practice by nominating yourself or nominating someone who is in FE and using social media effectively to support learners and learning.

Nominate them here.

Great Scott! – Back to the Future at FOTE15

There wasn’t a FOTE conference in 2015, which was a pity as it was one of my favourite annual events. I spoke at many of the conferences, most recently in 2014 when I spoke about the conflict between the light and the dark and used a Star Wars theme.

I remember reflecting on the conference on the way home that it would be a lot of fun to do a Back the Future themed talk for 2015.

Back to the Future

Alas it was never to be…

However I thought it might be a little fun to explore what might have been…

Continue reading Great Scott! – Back to the Future at FOTE15

Top Ten Web Tools of 2015

oldtools1

This is the eighth time I have compiled a list of the top ten web tools I have used during the year. I am finding it interesting looking back over 2008, 2009, 2010201120122013 and 2014 which tools I still use and which have fallen by the wayside.

Out of the top ten are Chrome, Safari and Google+. I still like the positive aspects of Chrome and Safari, I like the fact that I can move between devices and take up where I left off and having a common history regardless of device. Though using a Dell has meant Safari integration is less useful. Google+ probably would have made the top ten, but the community I am part of is using it less and less, so there is less engagement and less conversation.

Instagram is number ten for 2015, I have found that the community I engaged with has shrunk over the last twelve months. I still like it as a tool and as a community.

Dropbox was my number one technology in 2014 and I used it in a similar way for some of 2015. However when I started using a Dell as my main workhorse, the benefits of working on a single Pages document across multiple Macs disappeared and though I still like Dropbox, I now use it more for remote online storage than as a synced cloud solution for working on files across multiple machines. As a result it drops to ninth place in the top ten.

Evernote in a similar vein to Dropbox was well used in the earlier part of 2015, but less so in the latter half, so drops to number eight. I mainly use Evernote to make notes and planning. One feature I started using extensively in November and December was to use the Evernote app on the iPhone to capture post-its and flipcharts from meetings and workshops. The auto-capture feature was a chance discovery and I found it perfect for quickly capturing hand-written information and sharing it with others.

At number seven is Flickr. I use Flickr to both store and find photographs. I used it a lot to find images for presentations.

At number six is Google Docs (and Google Drive), from a collaboration perspective it is one of the best tools I have used. I like the fact that a team can work on a document all at the same time.

The fifth tool in the top ten is Tweetdeck. Using a consistent hashtag for projects means that Tweetdeck is a faster way to find out who is talking about the project and what they are talking about on the Twitter. I like how I can use it to schedule tweets in advance, this proved particularly useful for a Tweetchat I did for the ALT Winter Conference.

At number four is Yammer, this Enterprise “social network” has allowed me to internally update Jisc on the project work and keep people across the organisation informed on what we are doing and where we are at.

Third place is Skype and Skype for Business. I used Skype for many years for external online conversations, but when I moved jobs in 2013, I stopped using it. Now at Jisc I use it on a daily basis for online meetings, conferences and instant messaging.

Climbing up to number two for 2015 is WordPress. Having not used it much in 2014, it became much more integral to the way I worked. As well as my personal blogs such as this one, I also use it for my work blog and have also been using it to prototype an online delivery platform, as a kind of dynamic connectivist VLE.

Twitter is my number one technology for 2015, after limited use in the first part of 2015, it really became an indispensable tool for me for the rest of 2015. I use it much more for broadcasting, conversations and engagement.

So that’s my top ten web tools for 2015, what were yours?