Tag Archives: posterous

Move along now.

A wee while ago Twitter bought Posterous. There was uncertainty at the time about what this would mean – for the service, for the existing blogs hosted by Posterous, for the people behind its development and whether that was the cue to jump ship. I stuck around, partly through inertia and partly because I figured that the import/export tools to make a clean transfer to an alternative would only get better as time went by.

The situation took on a new urgency a week ago when it was announced that Posterous was about to disappear. So the last week has been an interesting mix of experimentation, discussion, play and progress. Having started the old blog with my own domain name I’ve transferred that across too and am now happy enough to start posting in the new blog and driving a little traffic that way.

My new blog is a self-hosted WordPress.org affair and my key to getting it there was to go via WordPress.com (which is the WordPress-hosted version). At first I wanted to go direct from Posterous to .org, but there wasn’t a native import tool available. Third party tools were there to try, but they didn’t cut it. WordPress.com does have its own importer though, so I created a free space there, imported from Posterous, then went from there to my desired self-hosted site. Some bits of formatting have gone awry and it doesn’t seem to handle photos as well as Posterous (in galleries), but the posts are there and available for editing. What’s very satisfying is that the metadata has come too, primarily the tags and some other stats – this includes the posts keeping their original date of posting. Remarkably the links I’ve sent out since starting the blog appear to still work, redirecting to the new site.

I’m now open to ideas on how best to progress from here, what to add to the space and what to take away. The possibilities are clearly much broader than they ever were with Posterous, so I’ve come of age… or at least I’m found a place at the grown ups table even if I don’t recognise half the food on my plate.

Blogs for teaching, learning and research: a personal collection

The blog is an established social media tool, emerging in the late 1990s as a way to publish online. A wide variety of organisations have developed ways to create a blog: mostly free, generally making the process easier, with greater flexible and ultimately creating more attractive finished products. Text remains very important to many blogs, though within a given blog post it is also possible to include photos, video, sound recordings, tweets and links to other sites. The basic structure for most blogs continues to work on the sequential addition of these posts – hence their popularity as diaries, or to chart the progress of a project over time. For more information on blogs head the Wikipedia entry.

This particular post is the basis of my short talk at Edinburgh Napier’s programme leaders’ symposium on Thursday 12 January – welcome if you’re sitting in front of me reading this from the screen! There are links below to posts that have been written for different purposes, some by me, that I’d like to talk about. We’ll also look at one written by students for an autumn 2011 module.

Personal blogs for a (semi)public audience

Blogs used in modules

Programme management

The flexibility of the blog format lends itself to use across our work, with many examples of excellent practice publicly available. Some blogging platforms advertise the potential to use their tools in education: Posterous, WordPress and Edublogs for example.

I look forward to your thoughts and questions, either later today or in the comments below.

Image: ‘my first lolcat – in ur blog’

Testing if Posterous will autopost to Google+

Photo

This is a picture of the picture above my bed, but more importantly
I’ve added a Google Buzz autopost to my Posterous-based website. What
with Google having put Buzz to sleep I’m reasonably confident the
autopost will go to G+ instead, but there’s only one way to find out.

Any comments confirming you can see this in G+ would be gratefully
received, though you may just have better things to do with your day,
for which I salute you.

Lecturer as shoemaker.

As today’s guest lecturer from the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab is unable to join TSM10107 and me (due to a dental emergency not conducive with public speaking) I’m using the blog to plan, set out and run an alternative session. Why shoemaker? It’s going to have a cobbled together feel to it.

First up, some videos that I either like or have been told are well worth a look.
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Introducing the Festivals Lab with Andrew Dixon from Creative Scotland:

Discussing its work, such as the Ideas Challenge…

(The Ideas Challenge is open until 31 October. It’s free to submit your ideas and get involved in the discussion, voting up the ideas you like. There are many prizes up for grabs too: vouchers, cash, iPads and fame!)

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Another project has been Culture Hack Scotland (Edinburgh, 6-7 May 2011)…

A short introduction from Ben Werdmuller, which puts digital innovation in the context of wider moves to open up data for wider use:

The results of #chs11!

More Festivals Lab videos are available from their Vimeo channel.
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Tom Uglow, from Google, on building digital capacity in the arts (a video which I won’t have seen before I play it in the lecture, but have been told is well worth a look):

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This is just the start of today’s plans – imagine what I can come up with in the next 35 minutes before the lecture starts! (Best submit this post now though, to check it works.)
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10:52 update… I’ve just played with a new (to me) piece of software to put together a short presentation, which will hopefully appear below:

…well, sadly the embed link didn’t work. Here’s an alternative way to reach the Prezi.

#tramwaysummit_01

Tuesday morning: with barely minutes to go, as I sped through the central belt to Glasgow, my Twitter feed told me my meeting had been upgraded to a summit! This was fantastic news – really set the tone for a productive catch up with some other event management/studies academics. The fruits of the meeting will take many months to play out, but a comment on the experience is well worth recording. Maybe it’s because academia has so recently embraced events that there’s an opportunity and a willingness to try new teaching arrangements – there’s lots of talk about using new technologies, working with others and acting for mutual benefit, but I don’t necessarily see too much evidence of it catching on.

Topics included software platforms (Posterous, Twitter, Prezi, etc.); the Quality Assurance requirements/demands of institutions; practical ways of encouraging students to communicate across the vast distances of Scotland; and innovative ways of assessing the fruits of such work. Creative ways of developing modules could be very advantageous for students beyond university: materials produced and consumed using social media could be accessible forever, both to those who created it and those in future cohorts.

…and that would require a shift in attitude for some as well. Embracing a spirit of openness is very fashionable at the moment; I hope it becomes the norm in terms of collaboration, government data and marketing in the arts for example. When you’re asked (nay, required) to comment openly on the work of others it can be a little trickier. This might be the work of your tutor (as embodied in a YouTube clip embedded in a blog perhaps) and it might be the work of your fellow students, who’ll then have a right of reply. The task is set: to establish learning environments in which this is accepted and to manage expectations such that all students can gain the confidence to participate.

My post earlier today featured HEFCE’s Collaborate to compete, which highlights technology and online learning, regardless of whether this comes from on high or is directly developed by academics themselves. Surely it’s a no-brainer? The truth of the matter is that unless universities and enough of their staff take this on board and run with it, they’ll be faced by students who wonder if they’ve stepped back in time in order to gain their qualifications. UCAS applications may be rising still higher, but its a qualitative shift as well: the expectation to keep pace with even the most mainstream new media must be met!

Here’s to future summits and continued experimentation.
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This image, appropriate as it is, is tagged with ‘Glasgow’, ‘Tramway’, ‘April’, ‘2008’, ‘Mogwai’ and ‘Triptych’. As such it reminds me of my only other trip to the Tramway: to see the Cinematic Orchestra, also at the Triptych Festival – now sadly lost to Scotland.

Image: ‘Unrealistic’

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World beating ways to spend a day off.

As trailed earlier in September, I’m building up to a fairly short presentation at a workshop being hosted by my employer.  This is a chance to talk with practitioners about what works for them, which tools they’re using to build their online presence and to organise some of my own thoughts in this area.  So today, a local holiday in Edinburgh, has been spent putting together my presentation.

Fortunately it’s gone OK, although some parts have taken a while to compile – thank goodness for a day/night cricket match at Lord’s to keep me entertained.  I’ll post the slides on this site after the event, although the amount of fanfare which accompanies them might depend on how well they’re received!  Suffice it to say they’re as colourful as I can manage and hopefully contain enough ideas and links that they’ll be referred to after the event.  I hope I don’t have to rush through them – we’ll see.

Earlier today, so also forming part of my holiday, I spent an hour or so sat on the steps outside work talking to a prospective student.  I had managed to organise a guided tour on a day when the university buildings are all locked up, but it ended up OK with a good conversation and hopefully another recruit.

Just now the cricket is ready to end, with an England defeat I should think, and I’m about ready for my tea.

Two quick notes before bed: MP3-based shows on the Fringe; a comment on my chosen links.

6 September has long been nestled at the back of my mind like a cosy cuckoo, waiting to waken up and consume all the time I may have had lying around.  6 September is the date this September’s students are due to start at Edinburgh Napier, except of course no longer are they due: they’re here.

More accurately I hope they’re out enjoying some Edinburgh hospitality, or settling into their university accommodation and getting used to life on their own.

And so with the need to help with a cracking first day at university came the requirement to get up early and spend much of the rest of the day thinking, talking and trying to be helpful and useful: and now I am tired.  So, with little fuss, here are a couple of topics I’ve been meaning to cover for a while…
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MP3-based shows at the Edinburgh Fringe
Please let me know if you’ve a better sub-heading for this discussion – I’m not sure ‘MP3’ captures it, but let’s crack on.

A recent BBC Culture Show from the Edinburgh Festival highlighted three Fringe shows in which the audience experienced the piece while wearing headphones – playing a soundtrack, issuing instructions and so on.  Surely there could be few better examples of technology altering the way we engage with a festival/event/etc.?  In truth, I don’t know: I wasn’t organised enough to get a ticket for any of the ‘shows’.  Here they are for your surfing pleasure (links to the edfringe.com or Forest Fringe listing and anything else relevant):
– ‘Suspicious Package‘ from Fifth Wall in association with The Brick Theater, New York
– ‘En Route‘ from One Step at a Time Like This / Richard Jordan Productions
– ‘The Bench‘ from Ant Hampton (Rotozaza)

In these events audiences/listeners were variously compelled to act out a part in a play, give themselves over a new way of seeing the city and sit next to a stranger and strike up a conversation.  A few thoughts have come to mind…
– The notion that events are both the production and consumption of a product has rarely been as important, for in these examples it’s not just consumption which is the responsibility of the (paying) audience, they have to produce the event as well.  Is that the same as buying a dog and barking yourself?  Why not, if that’s the sort of experience you’re keen to have.
– Is this the extent to which the technology can be pushed?  At least one of the events requires half a dozen MP3 players being manually started simultaneously in order to keep everyone in time, so once the event is set in motion there’s no going back.  You can’t stop.  A bit like building the Hoover Dam.
– What tools and techniques are available to help develop the relationship between audience and producer, helping enhance the feeling of immersion on the part of the headphone wearer while perhaps enabling greater means of control and contribution to the overall experience.  Some feedback loop that affects the experiences of others, either simultaneously or asynchronously.

From the short appraisal on the Culture Show I got the impression that En Route was most successful in producing an experience that couldn’t be experienced in a traditional theatre; they were able to build on the audience members’ existing awareness of the location in which they were walking.  Perhaps this is a model for audio guides in museums and galleries, or the discovery of a healthy market in podcasts which specialise in providing 21st century walking tours in downloadable form, each one turning an urban (or rural!) stroll into an event.  Lyn Gardner also reviewed it, for The Guardian.

…but maybe we do this anyway when we flick through vast iLibraries of iSongs on our iPods: what was the impact of the Walkman?  It’s too soon to tell.
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Those links down the side of this blog
Not much to say here and I appreciate that this is a non sequitur from the above discussion.  In short those links span sites that I turn to on a regular basis for news and opinion, alongside those such as Aleks Krotoski’s which I revere as something of an exemplar when it comes to combining academic and mainstream material alongside the author’s experiences and projects.

What I can’t reflect particularly well is the multitude of RSS feeds that are directed to my Google Reader page.  In truth that’s the way I get lots of my content, trusting and relying on a team of curators who work tirelessly to provide me with stuff to read and view.  They don’t know I exist of course and won’t ever meet me or each other, but that’s the way of the web.

Is there much serendipity in my online life?  Not really, I wouldn’t have thought: why put something in front of my eyes if I know it’s likely to offend?  Nevertheless there is some great stuff beyond those links – I urge you to click around on Smashing Magazine for some truly wonderful articles and beautiful images; a link to xkcd is a cliche, yet necessary; the work of Creative Commons deserves as much publicity as can be gathered.
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In this evening’s final act of bravery I shall post this article without proof-reading it, then sink into reverie.