Tag Archives: twitter

Try One New Thing – Our 1st Anniversary Post

As we finish out June, we are also finishing up the first year of Learning for Life Online. For anyone who’s been reading along since the beginning: thank you. I’m going to work hard to make the second year of LLO as fun and fascinating as the first.

For our 50th post, I’d like to challenge you to choose one of the tools or services we’ve looked this past year and sign up for it or try it out. Pick something that intrigued you but you never got around to it, or something that looked ridiculous and you want to see if you were just missing something. Doesn’t matter how big or small a thing it is – just do it. Review the basics of playing with a new online tool or playing with a new gadget and remember to have fun!

Try One New Thing and play around with it for the month of July. As you try it, comment on this post with your experience or thoughts, and any suggestions you have for using it.

Rather than make you go back through the past year to look for your one new thing, here’s a quick reference list:

It takes time to make a social tool a part of your life, including your life online. Whatever you choose to do, give it to the end of July and then see what you think of it. Let us know here if your opinion has changed, and how.

Thank you all again for following along, and enjoy your One New Thing! See you in July…

I’ll Tumblr For Ya…

This week, we’ll finish this month’s ‘social finding and sharing’ theme with a look at Tumblr, a social sharing site that mixes blogging and image linking with great results.

What Is It?

Tumblr‘s tagline is Follow the world’s creators, and this visual feast lets you do just that. Tumblr is somewhere between a blog and a microblog (like Twitter): each tumblr site lets you share text, photos, videos, links, or whatever else you’d like smoothly and easily. It’s not meant for long, thoughtful posts (though there are some of those); it’s to help you quickly and easily share neat ideas and the inspirations you find online.

Each Tumblr has a different theme or subject, and all of the posts are about that theme. One stunning example is Things Organized Neatly, full of images of items and parts of things organized into groups or rows. There’s no “point” except to show off some beautiful photography and look at very ordinary things in a whole new way. Check out Dark Silence in Suburbia for an showcase of new and exciting artists, or Revolt Factory – “a collection of ideas that inspire change in culture, commerce and community.” The New York Times is even using Tumblr to repost older images from their archives.

Tumblr also has a simple “reblog” button that lets users quickly share things they find on other people’s tumblrs on their own. “The average Tumblr user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3.” says Tumblr’s About page.

How Is It Useful?

For people creating Tumblr blogs, it’s a simple way to share your own ideas or reblog other people’s posts. Artists can show new work, race car enthusiasts can share photos, photographers showcase their images, fashionistas offer makeup tips and reviews, and restaurant management students can show off the simple ingredients and meals they prepare. Anything you can imagine, you can put together a Tumblr about.

For groups, Tumblr has an easy submission feature to let the audience submit links for future posts. The submission page for the blog Eat Sleep Draw shows how easy it is. If you’ve got artwork made by you, you just upload the file, give it a caption, enter your contact information and click Submit. Now, you get more visibility for your art and images, and they get content for their site. Check out Designers of Tumblr for another gorgeous example.

If you don’t have an account, you can still search Tumblr for interesting ideas and beautiful images. Just visit Tumblr.com, type a word or phrase into the search box on the right and see what happens. You might find posts about libraries, recipes, football (or soccer in the US), trees, interior design or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Help & Resources

Twitter – The Basics

Learning for Life Online tool #3:
The Learning for Life Online Twitter feed

What Is It?

Twitter is the most well-known example of what’s called microblogging – short updates of text, photos, audio or video are pushed out to anyone following your feed on the web, through email, or via their cell phone or PDA. Facebook updates are so short they might be considered the same kind of thing, and serve much the same purpose.

How Is It Useful?

Microblogging lets you quickly update and coordinate with many followers using a single post. For a personal feed, you can let your friends know what you’re up to and share snippets of your life. Companies use Twitter to send out information about their services and products (like Whole Foods) and to offer customer service and advice (Best Buy and Dell, for example).

Searching Twitter can be a great way to find out information and see the buzz about a new restaurant or movie. Just type in the name of the thing you’re looking for into the search bar at the top of the page and away you go. Try a search on a new tech gadget, hot news topic, famous restaurant or summer blockbuster.

You can follow feeds from celebrities, authors, publishers, famous weathermen and even news from the White House. Locally, the Boston Police Department and Boston Fire Department send out alerts and ask for information using Twitter. Boston Food Finds is a feed about all things food in Boston.

Hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a hash symbol (#) – started as a quick way to link related posts together (try out #womenssoccer). Posters use these to coordinate posts from a large number of Twitter users (for instances, at library conferences) and occasionally as a commentary on their own post. You can search for hashtags in the main search bar to see what is being tagged with that phrase, or you can look at the “Top Trending” topics on the side of the screen.

Try It Out

If you’d like to sign up for a Twitter account, just visit the site, sign up and start posting. Follow anyone you know personally and find a few companies or famous people to follow. Be sure to look for “the official Twitter account of…” in the description to know you’ve got the real deal.

If you don’t want to sign up, start off with a search for the Boston Public Library or a certain kid wizard. Then try searching for anything that strikes your interest.

To get a feel for the possibilities of microblogging, check out a few feeds:

Help & Resources