Tag Archives: Tech 637

Reflections on Tech 637 #tech63713


Reflections on my time in Tech 637 with Dr. V:

Tech 637 (The “Social” Internet) has been an interesting class for me.  Since I’m from Communication and this is in the Tech school, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Dr. V studied in Communication, as well.

Tonight, we chatted about overarching themes from this course.  I was struck by how the human drive to be social manifests itself through the internet.  People connect online whether to each other, information, or resources.  The ideas from across the semester and lessons include: connecting, transparency, network, relations, info flow, power, collective, participation, uniting.

Our social internet manifesto for the evening included the following advice:

  • Don’t Drink and Tweet.
  • Don’t step in the Deep Web.
  • Don’t bother trying to control information. Individually, you are nothing.
  • Is that Freedom Rock? @StarkAnneR Turn it up!
  • Keep Calm and Hashtag.
  • No one ever wants “tea with the gov’t”
  • Only you can prevent distraction fires.
  • Power comes with participation.
  • Show us your Klout.
  • Stop, collaborate, and listen.
  • Tag your stuff. #tagyourstuff
  • Team up with smart people … they make you look better. (thanks, all)
  • Transparency is the best form of secrecy.
  • Transparency might compromise individual’s privacy and reveal your offline reality.
  • Weak ties are your strength.  Thanks, @mihaela_v!
  • When trolling, use the following hashtags: #umadbro? #burn #trollin
  • With great connections come great responsibilities.

Things that helped me learn:

The reading guides helped me assimilate the material quickly, and (to be honest) kept me ‘honest’ about how much I read.
Pushing me into the deep end of twitter with a hootsuite life-preserver was the best way for me to start.
I was amazed at how accessible the weak tie network of Twitter really is. Met some of my CMC idols…

Favorite Topics

Honestly doing the presentations was great. Loved learning about #lolcats
Rey Junco! I should have brought a bag for my head the day he spoke in class b/c he blew my mind. =)
The strength of weak ties was great … and illustrated by our involvement in Twitter.

Takeaway

The thing I’ll take away is a greater network filled with weak ties and several stronger ones now.

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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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Coordinating a class project with Twitter


When I was told that we would be doing a class-wide group project/presentation on social media adoption and uses, I was excited.  Class presentations are fun, and I’m okay with group work.  When I was told next that we would have to coordinate this whole thing using only Twitter, some of that excitement abated.  I like Twitter and all, but I just didn’t know how this was going to work.

Jumping to the end of the story … did we do a class presentation?  Yes.  Did it turn out okay?  Yes.  Was there lots of good information shared by several groups offering their unique perspectives?  Yes.  Was this a group of graduate level students who work hard and know how to do presentations?  You bet.  Was the success do to super smooth and coordinated tweeting?  Not so much.

While stories abound of flash mobs and revolutions coordinated solely on Twitter, we never really found our groove.  I can think of several reasons for that:

  • the technology is new to many in the class
  • some people just did not participate actively
  • because it is new we did not utilize programs like Hootsuite to keep track of everything
  • we did not utilize the class hashtag consistently
  • we did not create a unique hashtag for the event
  • the medium itself is not built for nuanced discussions because of its 140 character limit.

The class is filled with smart and capable people, and I’m sure this exercise would/will run much smoother if we did it again.  But this time can be chalked up to a “learning experience”.

That evening while we were presenting Dr. V pointed out that people have used this medium to coordinate revolutions and topple governments.  I’ve been reflecting on this statement and the similarities and differences of coordinating an academic group presentation and beckoning a mob of civil malcontents.  Perhaps we should also have a class project in which we foment revolution … Hmmm?  =)

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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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Social Media! … and so it begins!


Studying the social internet in Tech 637 at Purdue University.  This class is designed for us to be exposed to social media concepts, engaged in social media research, and engorged/engulfed by social media immersion. 

This blog will be dedicated to exploring social media in five ways:

  • Reflections on various class readings
  • Links to interesting blog posts
  • Evaluations of social media tools evaluation
  • Ideas, thoughts, opinions, commentary, and general miscellany on social media topics.
  • Humor and occasional sassiness
  • And all the other loose ends, questions, and fears about this journey along the way.

Just in case you were wondering, that list had six things in it.  I’m just going to say up front that math is not my strong suit.  And I’m lactose intolerant … but that’s for another blog.

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