I attended the "Tag You Are It" session at NTC by Ami Dar and Katrin Verclas and was exposed to a lot of new technology tools. So, I set up a little action learning project (cambodia4kids) to play with these tools to see how they might be useful for technology infused curriculum or nonprofit use.
I love (and hate) how blogs, rss, tags, and these other tools are so right-brained and being able to indulge in some non-linear thinking ... on the downside, I feel so distracted and can spend lots of time in discovering these tools (and not doing other things.) It reminds of how I used to feel exploring gophers and the early web in 1993. I would follow links to links to links and discover, by serendipity, a fantastic resource. At that point, I researching and organizing resources for artists on Arts Wire on how to use the web. It was way back when you could click through the entire Yahoo directory and web sites had gray backgrounds. Oh, and my point was ...
So, there have been a few things on my action learning list (I'm going to create a 43 things list for this at some point). Just when I was beginning to feel totally overwhelmed, I decided to dive and not worry about any logical or instructional order!
One of the tools that was mentioned was RSS readers. RSS stands for Really Stupid Syndication and since I'm really stupid I took a trip to Marnie Webb's article 10 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Use RSS and Andy Carvin's What's RSS and Why Should I Care About It?. Both of these articles are excellent primers on the topic. More importantly, they gave me enough incentive to start reading blogs and also had some simple 1-2-3 advice for selecting a RSS reader. With Bernie Dodge's glowing recommendation of Bloglines, I set up an account.
So I added the three blogs that I had been reading by clicking through them regularly from links I put on my own blog which I had thought was pretty cool. Now, with the RSS reader I can just click to one place and see if there are any updates. Hey, this will definitely reduce my RSI injuries and save me some time!
Bernie was right, it makes it easy to read more blogs ... Oh, crap, I need some more blogs to read ... Where can I find them? How many lousy or off-topic blogs do I need to slog through to find the really good stuff? Do I really have time for all this (with two kids under 6 whining at me as I yell - just another minute)
I started scrutinzing the links on the three or four blogs that I really liked and read .... and found links to the author's public bloglines feeds or references to feeds. This is not unlike the early days of the web when people's personal web pages included a link list page and and all you had to do was follow the links to more links to find pages. This was before google ...
This is where I am starting. As I find interesting blogs that I want to follow, I will add them to the bloglines account. When I find a blog by serependity or if referred to in another blog I'm reading, I'm now asking myself:
Is the blog content of interest to me for my npo/ed tech work or Cambodia work or personal reasons?
Did reading this entry make me want to explore the entire blog to evaluate it further?Who is author? What is their expertise/background?
What is the content of the blog? Do they micro specialize or cover several topics?
Do they have good links and other resources included in their blog?
Are they a good writer?
Do they regularly post to their blog?
If this leads to me wanting to return to the blog on a regular basis, I add to my bloglines account.
I also have some questions about to best organize my collection, but I think this will come as I use it more. I looking at it like my browser bookmark and I like to organize things into folders. And, I'd like to make those folders consists with the link lists and categories on my blog.
Technorati Tag: nptech