Category Archives: Tools

Tweetdeck versus Hootsuite


Last week, my Hootsuite inexplicably stopped working.  I’m not sure if it was because I had just upgraded to Windows 8.1, if there was a bug in Hootsuite, if there was a bug in Chrome, or what … but it did.  I realized immediately how dependent I had become on software that tamed and organized twitter for me.  I tried looking at Twitter’s main feed, but instantly realized that this was unworkable.  I was also instantly reminded of why I was initially turned off by Twitter before I knew about Hootsuite.

 

For those of you in Tech 637 with me, you’ll know that taming Twitter is absolutely necessary for managing our classroom conversations.  Without Hootsuite, I was out of the loop.  So I changed things up and went with the alternative we had talked about … Tweetdeck.

Initially, the two programs look like they are nearly identical.  They share the same purpose, they both have feeds, and they both tame the beast.  There were some interface differences, but I figured I could manage them.  So I dove in …

I created new feeds, I set things up, I tamed the beast … but there was just one thing.  I didn’t like it.  I’m not sure if this is a function of me starting with one program rather than the other, but Tweetdeck did not seem nearly as intuitive to me.  Beyond being unfamiliar, it was clunky.  I didn’t know where to look.  I couldn’t pull it together as fast as Hootsuite.  Certainly, Hootsuite still has some peculiarities … but I still liked it better.

That said … as quickly as it went away … it came back. The problem corrected itself, and now I’m back on Hootsuite.  And it feels nice.  Perhaps a more experienced Tweetdecker could fill me in on ways its better, so if you have some, please share.  For now, I’ll sit back down in my old (albeit newly adopted) hootsuite recliner and watch the Twitter show.

Peace out.

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The empowering side of crowdsourcing: Duolingo


I’m a huge fan of duolingo … a free, online language-learning tool.  It approaches language training in a similar way to Rosetta Stone.  You move through small lessons on key words, and it uses a variety of learning styles.  The language training involves identifying pictures, listening and translating, speaking and assessing verbal fluency, as well as traditional text-based writing tests.  Each lesson builds on the previous, and you can not progress without a certain level of mastery.  Plus (according to its main page), it’s scientifically proven to work better than taking university-level language courses.

The process is game-ified, and you win competitions and medals, so it feels like other social media games you might play.  You earn points for progressing, and your progress is listed on a leader board with your friends.  Because language skill can slip away over time, some of the earlier points may go away, so that you need to refresh older material.  It is very fun, and I used it every day for a few months last summer.  I’ll confess that since grad school started up again, I haven’t had time to do that (or socialize or exercise or relax or always wear clean clothes…).  But it was fun while I had time, and I will most certainly pick it up when I have time to breathe again.

All that being said, that’s not the coolest part of duolingo

The coolest part of duolingo is that it is harnessing the power of internet users to translate the internet … starting with Wikipedia.   Yep!  To get the whole story, watch this:

If you don’t have time to watch that, here’s the gist.  Luis von Ahn, one of the creators of capcha, got an idea to use his software (which was being used by millions of people daily) to be used to translate webpages.  He then designed a site that could train people in new languages, and he would then use their mental byproduct of learning to translate sites.  As part of the learning process, people could then test their skills out by translating various pages … which would then be evaluated by other people to make sure they were accurate.  In the best sense, he has found a way to harness the wisdom and power of crowds to do incredible things.

The language learning tool is incredibly impressive … but the story behind it is even more.

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Time to come clean … and recant on Hootsuite.


A few weeks ago, our beloved leader Dr. V took our whole Tech 637 class at Purdue and threw us in the deep end of the internet.  She tied Twitter to our left hand and WordPress to our right.  As we began to collectively drown in the fullness of socialized media, she slapped a Hootsuite snorkel in our mouths and told us we could use that to breathe.

Trusting our benevolent pedagogue, I started using my new life-sustaining apparatus, and at first it was new and awkward.

I even wrote about it and (much to her chagrin) I called it Hootsuite …. or should I say “HoosGotADHD”.  The reason was because at first everything was so hectic and foreign, and I didn’t even know where to look or how to use it.  I also mentioned in this blog post that someday I might think this was the best thing since sliced bacon (paraphrasing).

So now, several weeks in, I need to re-address this issue …  to both come clean and also recant.

Now that I’ve been using this for several weeks I must say… I not only like the program, but I can say that I view it as a necessary tool to tame and use Twitter (and other social media) effectively.  I have several active feeds that I have developed, and they help me keep track of my class, my computer-mediated communication scholars, my humor scholars, and even a fun one #addawordruinamovie.

It still has some bugs, and I haven’t quite got everything down pat, but as of now … I’m a convert.  I no longer am being forced to drink from the firehose … but now I can sip from an assortment of pleasant springs.

I know I’m mixing all sorts of metaphors throughout this post … sorry about that.  Sometimes I just feel like mixing it up. 😉

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Mark Malkoff: Skype Around the World


Comedian Mark Malkoff embarks on a quest to Skype with people from 140 countries. In the end, he hits 162. Around 4:25 he brings everything together and reflects on his journey through social media.

I’m not sure I’m ready to go around the world yet with Skype … but I sure do appreciate the power of technology to bring people together. =)

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September 13, 2013 · 2:55 am

Blown Away (in the best way) by Google Hangouts


While I consider myself to be pretty technologically savvy, there are always dark corners and unexplored alleys of my social media landscape.  I was thrust into one of these new places this morning as my computer started ringing, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Flipping around from link to link, I noticed quickly a box that said “Bert would like to start a video chat with you” on my Google homepage.  While I knew video chatting technology existed, I was unaware of this Google Hangouts feature.  (I’ll also admit that I’m not a big Skyper or video chatter … so most of this is new to me.)  Since I absolutely adore Bert and haven’t spoken in two years, I decided that I needed to figure out what to do postehaste!  I clicked on the link and had to download/install a little program, and I was worried for a moment that this process might take a long time.  It didn’t.  In fact, within a minute’s time, the video chat was initializing.  A window with my face popped up, and noticing that the angle of my laptop made my double chin a bit pronounced, I had to slightly adjust my animated “selfie”. 

On the screen the words appeared, “Waiting for others to join the conversation.”  This lasted a few moments, and then there it was … my friend!  How amazing!  We spent four years in school together, side by side.  We were the peas in the proverbial pod.  We had loads of good times and have shared wonderful moments of life together.  Since this happened years ago, we formulated our friendship back in “pre-cell phone” and “pre-social media” times.  Granted, it was on the cusp of the technological movement, but I wasn’t particularly an early adopter.  Then we graduated (and by design of the jobs that we would take), so we would never live near each other again.  Life went on … separately. 

But then something amazing happened … technology.  Cell phones, email … better yet Facebook.  We started being able to connect more and more.  This was all good; in fact, great.  But then this morning … we (I) crossed into yet more new and more wonderful territory.  Thousands of miles away … I could see his smiling face again.  See the emotions.  Tell our old jokes … the ones without words.  The ones with just a look, a smile, a pause, a glimmer in the eye.  I could show my kids, my life, my cat, my whatever I wanted.

Why am I rambling about any of this?  Because this is the beauty of social media … and the reason we will continue to strive to make more.  The connection, the love, the togetherness, the realtime.  In a word … the social.   

I’m writing these blogs because of a class that studies social media, the social internet.  Some of this study can seem clinical, numeric, calculating, diagnostic … but at its core, no matter how much computing, machinery, technology that we find on top of it … it is messily, chaotically, wondrously, beautifully, fundamentally human.  It is “social” media.

Thanks for phoning me on “the Google” this morning, Bert.  Love you, man. You have no idea how good it was to see you again. =)

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Trying Hootsuite …. or should I say “HoosGotADHD”


As part of my exercise in social media immersion (being a new blogger/twit?, it feels like social media waterboarding), I’ve jumped into Hootsuite.  My first reaction can best be summed up by a quote from the movie UHF, “You get to drink from the … firehose!”  Wow … that’s a whole heck of a lot of social media in one place.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it, and someday I’ll think this is the greatest invention in the history of inventions .. but for now, I look like the GIF of a cat on crack watching a tennis match.  (That may be a tad overstatement for humorous effect, but I do still feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to look yet.)

With that ringing endorsement, I’m sure you’ll all want to jump right in.  If so, you can find them at hootsuite.com.

 

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