CP2tech01 Week 3 Reflection – Tools Integration

At the end of each week in our Connected Futures workshop, we are invited to write a post or otherwise communicate some reflection as to how the exercise went. I have been leaving most of my comments within the workshop area (a customized WebCrossing space), so I decided to have this week’s posting on my own blog. I do not have any evidence that anybody in the workshop is reading or otherwise reviewing my blog, nor am I convinced that there is an ongoing web search on using our tag of CP2tech01. That is ok, as the purpose of this post (for me) is to organize and express my thoughts.

I thought this week’s section on using various technologies was probably one of the most overwhelming ones of the workshop. It was almost as if there were a lot of people interested in a lot of tools, but somehow it was not held together as well as it could be.  Some looked at Skype, others at Netvibes (myself included), del.icio.us, and Facebook. The objective seemed to be to learn from one another’s best practices, and I was so busy trying to learn new things that I am not sure what to do with them all. I felt people started off in different areas with tools they like, though there really was not enough time in a week to learn anything brand new if there were no previous use of them. I was lost as to how to sign up for working with others on these tools, and while I had a useful Netvibes session, I think the perceived goals of this week were impossible in only one week.

Were we supposed to become our own community? Consider them for our communities? Help one another? I think perhaps a combination of all of them, and every time I thought I got it and went back to the internal wiki, I saw additional documents and instructions. I started to feel that the thinking of how this was all held together was developing in process, and while that can be very good, there was so much to try to learn in such a short point, that I am not sure where we are right now.

While this feeling of confusion has happened before during the workshop (learning can be a messy business!), I am still confident that the workshop leaders have all this together. Of course, with different leaders coming and going with greater or lesser involvement, I am not too sure about this right now. Let’s see what week four brings . . .

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TweetWheel – Visual Twitter Relationships

Will the useful and interactive Twitter applications never stop? Thanks to the wonderful Twitterholics website, I just discovered TweetWheel.

tweetwheelThis online application analyzes all of the followers we have and then identifies which of them in turn follow one another. In other words, this visually shows relationships between those people I follow. Bring the cursor over each name, and colored lines appear that link them to one another based on their relationships. While some relationships I know, a number of them were a surprise.  As followers and relationships are dynamic while the TweetWheel takes a snapshot in time, you may want to generate this repeatedly. One word of caution, depending on the number of people you follow, this can take some time. As I have recently added a number of new people I follow (from the Connected Futures CP2tech01 workshop), this program helps me understand those people’s relationships a little better.

Click my TweetWheel image to see it full-size.

What community-building or other uses can you imagine for this?

Multitasking = Working to Capacity

A colleague accused me (or rather busted me, to use her words!) of mulitasking during one of our Connected Futures CP2tech01 field trips, to which I responded that multitasking is more about “working to capacity.” I like framing mulitasking in that way better – mulititasking is working to capacity!

Of course, work and capacity are both words that can be defined in many different ways. Ask any mother, student, knowledge worker, or community of practice technology steward!


CP2tech01 Connected Futures Workshop, Week One

cpsquare2 I have been Tweeting and posting on the various pages for the Connected Futures workshop much more than I have been blogging in the past few days. I suppose I have had more to say than I have had time to say it.

As one of our workshop expectations is to create a blog post reflecting on our first week, I think that what is strongest on my mind is how much I realize I want to learn more about the topics though, while somewhat disoriented from the amount of discussion and buzz and new tools and co-participants, I am not feeling overwhelmed. John and Bronwyn are both experts at facilitating and leading communities of practice, and they are doing a wonderful job juggling all the demands of this active adult professional audience, so much that they are setting a feeling of calm over the workshop. It feels safe to be disoriented, as that is where so much rich learning can occur, without making or allowing for feeling stupid or inferior. How they manage to remain composed while still answering lots of emails and posts (with one or two of them my own . . .) demonstrates, or rather role-models, what I think those of us who facilitate communities of practice should strive for. I mentioned this during our Monday afternoon teleconference check-in, and was happy that Etienne Wenger, one of our workshop colleagues, mentioned that he was happy this was the sense that has been actively conveyed. I hope my colleagues feel this as well.

Strange, as learning is often so content-focused (cf. learning objectives), that here I am learning how to just BE–and in the process to be open to learn more than any book or slide deck can teach. What possibilities when we can just allow our students to sit and process all the busyness involved in learning.

Twitter Invitation to a Discussion Group

I found a new use of Twitter–quickly connect to an entire community.

Well, I did not necessarily discover this on my own, as it has been a recent topic of discussion on one of the discussion groups I follow, Online Facilitation. onlinefacilitation.jpgOne of the members of the group sent a Twitter follow request / email invitation to the mailing list itself, which in effect invited anybody and everybody in the community to click the link to then follow this person via Twitter.

Brilliant idea, I thought–how better to communicate with a group of people with similar interests than by sending a Twitter invite to the entire group! If we share this interest in online facilitation, as I thought about it, then perhaps sending this sort of Tweet to everybody in the group may in fact move the communication to a more public area (Twitter) , where people can continue to connect in another forum. Isn’t this what facilitating community is all about?

However, the issue of this being discussion board spam or an accident has also been raised. Here, I thought it was a brilliant community outreach (there are many people on the list I do not know nor have I ever met or seen) that tried to bring people together, while others perceived a similar outreach as more discussion group clutter. I know I usually do not actively seek people out on Twitter or any of the other social media (a bit shy, fear of rejection, or desire to be unobtrusive?), so when I get these invitations from others who have some similar interests, I am usually appreciative of their efforts.  That this came in a spam-like blanket that does not offer any immediate benefit for the current community (Twitter conversations would, of course, occur outside the current community) is also a very real concern. This is like sending donation emails, self-promotion communications, or even adverts to a discussion group, most of which are frowned upon. What surprised me the most was how little discussion this really did generate at all. 

That once again Twitter (I Tweet here, by the way) is used in an unintended way that sparks discussions that previously did not exist is a testament to how significant I really believe this technology to be.

What do you think?