SOCIAL MEDIA I USE – December 2010

This is the next in a series of blog posts that I want to do, since I decided to change the focus of my blog to reviewing more software and web applications that I use in my classroom and personally versus focusing on Special Education issues. I wanted to get a baseline of the software and web applications that I am using right now and some of the rationales I have for using them, as I start down this new road.
So to start this project I have decided to write about the tools I am using in the following order:

1. Productivity suite (mail, calendar, contacts, todo):

2. Office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide show, notebook):

3. Social media

4. Internet browser

5. Blogging (blog host, blogwriter)

6. Image management (video and photo)

These are not in-depth reviews of each product discussed, but simply a quick hit of my thoughts about the Software/Web Applications and how I use them right now or if I do)

SOCIAL MEDIA:

I am going to cover Blogging in its own post.

I am not a huge user of social media compared to other people out there, but I do use it to keep up with what is going on with Friends and to keep in contact with my Personal Learning Network. I do notice that I use both quite a bit and when I looked at my usage stats they are among my leaders in time spent on them – maybe I leave them running in the background to much? So maybe I need to re-look at what I am actually doing with social media versus, what I think I am doing.

I am very conservative regarding who friend, what I say or show for pictures on my social media sites, because whatever is put on the web is there permanently. I have my Personal Friend/Following policy on my blog.

Facebook:I am not a huge fan of Facebook itself, but as more and more people are using it for more than just contacting family and friends, I know that I have to maintain a presence here. I don’t know what to make of its policies and I don’t like that it assumes that people want to automatically be public with everything and make you go in and manually change settings for more privacy. I know that most of my students have a Facebook account and I plan to teach a Digital Safety curriculum next year. As part of this I will be showing students how to change their privacy settings.

Twitter:It is my gateway to my Personal Learning Network and how I connect to other educators. I have been on since 2008 and have to keep pruning who I follow to keep it around 150 people who I follow during the school year (which is tough because there are so many interesting people out there that I really want to follow).

As you can see I am almost 100 above my supposed personal limit, but there so many people out there that I want to see what they have to say. Many of these I met through my participation in #edchat, #spedchat and all the other “chats” that go on in the Twitterverse for Educators.

TweetDeck is what I use for the most part to regularly follow my Twitter feeds

I use TweetGrid when I am participating in #edchat on Tuesday nights, because everything just goes by too fast and I just want to focus on #edchat.

Ning: I am also the member of several Ning networks, but haven’t been participating in them as much as I should, I have been using Twitter as my primary education connection. Maybe that will be one of my New Year’s resolutions, figure out which Ning I belong to, that will help me the most in the classroom and begin to participate in that one.

Social Bookmarking: With all the furor over Yahoo’s gaff over Delicious I figure I might as well add my two cents in here. I haven’t used Delicious in over a year, it just seemed to be lacking what I wanted from a social bookmarking site and ever since Microsoft attempted to purchase Yahoo a couple of years ago, I have tried to not use the service too much. Yahoo just seems to be going in the wrong direction with many things.

Diigo: I moved onto Diigo and have maintained a presence there for a couple of years. I wrote about it in my “Diigo – Yes I am Using It”post back in August. Diigo has only added more capabilities since that writing. If anything it does too many things, but you can pick and choose what you want to use.

Google Bookmarks: See Richard Byrne’s latest post, it explains Google’s bookmarking system very well. How to Prepare for the Delicious Shut Down

When I look at what is actually considered Social Media, I use it a lot more than I thought. Most people only think of Social Media as a Facebook/My Space type web application, when in fact Social Media is so much more than just those two services.

What have you done to make a difference today?