Posts categorized "Twitter" Feed

Re-visiting My Newsreaders

This is a follow up to Finding and Managing Stuff, a post  I wrote in January about organizing sources of information.  A friend recently mentioned that she wanted to get started following that advice, but hadn't had time. My suggestion for her is to start with developing a newsreader, and attached to this post is a file that will save her a huge amount of time in getting this started.

Newsreaders are tools where you can follow multiple blogs, news, Twitter feeds etc. in one spot. The technology behind newsreaders is called RSS and the analogy that's often used is newsreaders are like magazines. You can go out to the newsstand and purchase a magazine, but it's much easier to have the magazine come to you via a subscription. Newsreaders allow you to subscribe to a variety of sources of information and then you can access this stuff in one spot. New items pop up in your reader as they are published, too, eliminating the need to manually check web sites to see if there's new content.

Back in 2005, I started using the application called NetNewsWire as my news reader. I still like it as I find it easy to organize subscriptions in this tool, although I do use Google Reader as well as it has some other features.  I haven't fallen in love with Google Reader, but it works well enough, particularly on mobile phones.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I've been relying more and more on Facebook as my de facto newsreader (and Twitter somewhat), and it's become easier to manage with tools such as PostPost. Facebook is a great way to stumble upon news items, but I recently came to the realization that I still have a need to monitor some blogs and news sites a bit more closely. I used to subscribe to everything that came my way, but I'm now thinking that a carefully vetted set of resources would better suit my current research needs.

Thus, I'm returning to my newsreaders and plan to spend more time utilizing them in my work. NetNewsWire will still be a place where I subscribe to everything, but a more vetted set of news sources will be in my Google Reader feed. Over the weekend, I went through my current subscriptions and weeded out defunct blogs etc and created  a streamlined set. I exported it into OMPL format and this file can be imported into any newsreader.

To import the attached OMPL file  into your newsreader, download this file (Download LucyRSS). Then, go to Google Reader, login, and click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner. Select Reader Settings, Import/Export, and then browse to the downloaded OPML file. Click on the upload button, and you'll be good to go.

The selected feeds in my OPML file are a mix with a strong focus on technology, education, and news. I subscribe to a variety of sources (Delicious, Diigo, Twitter, YouTube,regular web sites) to show how one can follow different types of information. If some of the feeds are not interesting to you, delete them from Google Reader by going to Settings>Subscriptions and editing as needed.

Hope someone out there will find this useful, and let me know if you are able to start using Google Reader now that you have some resources to follow!




Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging tool that is all the rage right now. In a nutshell, you answer a question about what you are doing in a 140 character post. You follow people to see what they are doing; people follow you to see what you are doing. This can lead to what some may consider inane exchanges of information. Do you really want to know if someone is at Starbucks enjoying a latte?!?!?!

In the education world, Twitter is being used in deeper ways. For instance, educators are sharing useful links to websites and articles. Others are asking people in their virtual Twitter networks to participate in polls or to offer advice on curriculum. Twitter is also a great way for keeping up with experts and organizations related to education. For instance, you can follow the latest happenings at NASA, PBS and National Geographic.

I'm a big fan of Twitter because I believe it allows you take control of your own professional development. You can receive just in time advice, resources, and virtual colleagues based on your professional goals and interests. Once you get the hang of Twitter, I think you'll find it empowering and removes some of the isolation that classroom teachers traditionally may feel.

I have three basic bits of advice regarding Twitter:
1. Choose a username that is recognizable. Put your picture as your icon. People will associate you with this online persona, so think carefully about this.
2. Follow as many people as possible. You need a certain amount of people in your network to get the exchange of information flowing.
3. Don't try to keep up with the stream of information. Jump in when you can.
4. Share resources that you find. The more you share, the more good Twitter karma will come back to you.
5. Look at your friends' followers. Very often you can find other interesting people to follow by examining the networks of others.
6. I protect my Twitter stream, but I don't necessarily advise doing this. I did it to prevent spam Twitterers, but it honestly didn't help much. I still get strange people trying to follow me. If you keep your stream open, you'll attract more followers in general.

Here are some other resources for you to try:

Math and Science Related Twitterers