Monday, March 23, 2009

My Favorite Things

Twitter has to be at the top of my favorite things list.  It's such a simple concept, a status report, but so versatile and adaptable that dozens of applications have sprung up around it.  I tried it out in the first 23 Things (it was part of the Challenges in in Thing 7) just to see what possible use it might have. I was a skeptic, but willing to try it. Not too much later my "aha" moment came when I saw how Kenley Neufeld from the Santa Barbara City College's Luria Library was using it there.  I had to share it with someone in my blog and with a fellow thinger from Hibbing, Cheryl Gillis, who in turn shared it with Chris (another thinger), who almost immediately implemented it for the Hibbing Public Library.  (Cheryl has recently inherited the responsibility for tweets there as Chris has moved to city government.)  Anyway, seeing that simple, FREE method of using Twitter to broadcast services and events quickly made me realize the potential it had.  I've since seen more and more uses for it.  It's kind of like an ongoing cocktail party that you can drop in and out of at will.  Because of Twitter I've found that elusive Wii Fit at Christmas, found a fabulous new quilted purse and Twitter follower from an Etsy shop, found a non-greasy handcreme, followed a conference or two,  kept up with friends and acquaintances, been alerted early to events that make the  news, shared links, found links, and so much more.  I don't know how one can't see the value that this simple, free service has, but I guess you each have to have your own "aha" moment. The growth of Twitter should be an indication that these folks have got something special here.  And with Facebook blatantly copying the Twitter model with the new Facebook changes, it seems that movers and shakers can see it too. You dismiss Twitter at your peril.

Blogger is another of my favorites, something I would never have expected. Like lots of librarians I know, I'm a fairly private person.Who would think that I'd like to write about what I do or think?  Blogging seems to help with reflection in problem solving, helping me sort things out in my own mind, and bringing clarity.  I think of Blogger now as my Learning Sandbox.  When I try new things, I try to incorporate them into my blog in some way: increasing functionality, adding content, keeping track of those things I tried for myself, and sharing what I've learned with others who might chose to visit and read my blog.  It seems that everything I do for the things makes me realize something else that should be considered when blogging, and that learning experience transfers to my work.  What's true for a personal blog is probably worth consideration in designing a  work web space.  One step leads to another, continuous learning that's fun besides.   And reading other blogs  is fun too, a sort of people watching in a different way, watching them learn and grow, and benefiting from their sharing of experiences and expertise.

Tagging with is the third thing that quickly became a favorite.  With two places to call home, work and a laptop, it's absolutely essential to be able to access those places I use regularly.  Having to bookmark them on four separate computers is just not the best solution; but clearly was.  Now I can go to my bookmarks by tags that mean something to me and find them easily.  I don't have to re-search or try to remember where I was when I saved something, it's all there in front of me with  And I can search other peoples tags as well and benefit from their knowledge of a subject.  Social media, that's what it's all about. 

I started thinking about what I use regularly now that I didn't before the 23 Things program and it's a long list, bound to get longer as I explore More On a Stick. Among them are Twitter, Facebook,, Flickr, Blogger, Google Reader, Friendfeed,,   personalized home page,  Picasa and the list just goes on.On Twitter recently I offered this advice: If you want your 23 Things program to succeed, get people to see the value of things to them personally and they will then find a way to apply it to their work life.  I know this is true from my own experience.  What do you think?


Kenley Neufeld said...

Thanks for the plug for Santa Barbara City.

Dave Carlson said...

After a few days off the More Things effort, enforced by 80 hours without power at Little Marais, the combination of PowerTwitter, Google Reader, and Facebook proved most useful for short duration access.

I learned how to budget my battery life on the laptop to less than 20 minutes per session. I learned that "sleep" mode does not save battery charge. I learned that Verizon National Access is super fast from the AmericInn at Silver Bay, while the public high speed wireless networks were struggling to stay alive.