Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twitter, Facebook, and "The Hive Mind"

I deliberated for a while, but I finally decided to sign up with Twitter. I am a dedicated facebooker. I have facebook to thank for hooking back up with some of my old college friends and getting to see them again, which has been so much fun. That is what I think the inherent value in facebook is. My husband doesn't like it. He calls it "myface" and thinks it is an opportunity for people to be narcissistic. "Why do I need to know what so-and-so had for lunch?" he'll ask, or "I really didn't need to know that Chrissy is covered in baby vomit and kitty litter." He is even more vehemently opposed to Twitter. I tried to explain to him about "the hive mind." He didn't buy it. He doesn't want to hear what the hive mind has to think.

At first I was reluctant to sign up with Twitter, thinking, I can barely keep up with facebook, how will I keep up with Twitter? But I decided to go for it, just to see what I could learn. I am very intrigued with the concept of the hive mind. I'll put in my little entries, and see what happens. I'm following Amy (Kearns), and my baby-vomit-and-kitty-litter-covered friend Chrissy, so that's a good start. I do want to know what you guys had for lunch - and where! And I am curious to see other people's friends' replies to their tweets.

Back to facebook for a moment. People can be very narcissistic and showy on that site. Sometimes Rob (the husb) and I get a good laugh at the pretension, especially in repsonse to thsose self-defining lists that go around, like "How many of these books have you read?" and the infamous 25 things. "We can't believe they said that!" we say. But before facebook, I would think about people from high school or college, or my life in Virginia, and wonder what they were up to. It made me sad that I still had such fond memories of these folks, but had no idea what they were up to. A regular email correspondence would be just too weird because of the length of time that has passed, but facebook is just perfect for checking in and saying hi. You can have as much of a connection or as little as you want on facebook... but you still get to have a connection, and knowing that Anita from high school now rides motor cycles and that guy Brad I dated is writing a novel, well, that's worth knowing to me. Facebook lets you see how much people change, and how much people don't, and reflects the same back to you. It helps you realize that after all these years, you are still part of the hive.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

That's How I Rollyo (Like No One Ever Thought of That Before!)

So here is my little search engine that could! I created this search engine, entitled "Renee's Rollyo I," to search for items on art, culture, critical theory, literature, design and any other artsy topics. I gave my little rollyo a test. I typed in "Lacan." Lacan is a rather obscure and abstruse student of Freud's whom I learned to love in grad school. And lo and behold, look what I found:


I was very pleased!!! You can also use my rollyo to search the web or my blog. Here are some of the web sites in my rollyo:


Powered by Rollyo

Library Thing - Guess What I like to Read About?

I'm enjoying Library Thing! It's a great place to recommend books and receive recommendations, as well as keep track of what I've read. It makes me wish I had more time to read for pleasure!

Here is my library, so far:

And I love this tag cloud thing! It's kind of poetic.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Two Personae - Image Makers

I must say, I thought this exercise was a little silly, though I enjoy these cards I found and put my name on! Overall, I was underwhelmed. A better image-making project I did can be seen below in the slide show of my nephew, Peter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bloglines/ RSS Feeds

Here are my bloglines subscriptions for anyone who is interested!


RSS Feeds were the first thing we have done in Learning 2.0 that I had not heard about yet (but I haven't heard about a lot of the stuff that is coming, so it's not the last!) I don't read a lot of blogs, and those I do read I enjoy navigating to. I usually read Kate Harding's Shapely Prose, which is a body acceptance blog www.kateharding.net, but I enjoy checking into that page directly, so I deliberately did not subscribe to it on Bloglines. I also enjoy checking my sister's flickr account of my nephew Peter, and I subscribed to that on Bloglines just to see how it would look.

However, in the RSS Feeds/ Bloglines exercise, I found out I was able to subscribe to "tartx" which is the blog of one of my favorite emerging collage/ mixed media artists, Tiffini Electra X. Here is her art web site with a link to her blog: http://www.tartx.com/. It looks like she doesn't blog that much, but now I will be able to find out when she does. The picture in this post is called "The Girl and the Raven" and I just ordered a print of it for my office! Regarding using Tiffini Electra X's images, see her disclaimer here: http://www.tartx.com/blog/.

I also have an interest in cultural studies, critical theory, post-structuralism, deconstruction, and post-modernism. I tried looking in syndic8 - no luck. I would really like to find some blogs to "feed on" so I can keep current in these fields of theory. I will have to keep looking - I don't think there is a lot out there. If I discover differently, I will blog about that!

After subscribing to the most interesting blogs and feeds I could think of, I looked at my Bloglines feeds and still felt overwhelmed, especially when it tells me how many items I have unread! But having it all in one place is a great thing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flickr Project Starring My Nephew Peter

I had a lot of fun doing this flickr project. First, I somehow linked to the big huge labs site from the Learning 2.0 site. I can't remember the exact path, but here is where I ended up:


I got the idea to create a 7 1/2 Habits slide show starring my beloved nephew Peter. I searched my sister's flickr account, which I check regularly for updates on Peter, and selected some photos that I thought were descriptive of the Seven 1/2 Habits. I then uploaded the photos onto the big huge labs site, created the "motivators," and saved them to a newly created flickr account of my own. I saved the photos as a set and created a slide show. It took a couple of tries to figure it out, but I was very pleased when I figured out how to save the slide show to this blog by copying the HTML. I wanted to do that, rather than just cut and paste a link.

So if you will indulge a doting auntie, please enjoy the slide show, starring my beautiful little nephew, Peter!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lifelong Learning and the 7 1/2 Habits

Here goes my first blog post ever. After looking at some of my classmates blogs, I am aware of how little I actually know - they are very impressive! I am trying not to get overwhelmed and to just focus on my own learning. After all, the point of this class is to bring students like me up to speed on new technologies; and I have to say, so far, I am enjoying it. I look forward to learning something new in class each week.

Regarding Learning 2.0, I think it is a great curriculum, but I am glad that I have someone giving me tutorials each week. I become restless when learning on my own, so the focused and structured learning in class is very helpful to me. My preferred learning style leans somewhat toward the traditional, structured, rule-based, classroom model. But I want to grow and change with the time in which I am living, so this class is a nice mix of classroom and independent learning for me.

This is my first semester as an MLIS student, and the decision to pursue this degree was one that I weighed carefully. So if becoming a librarian is my goal, I have definitely begun this program with the end in mind (Habit 1). Habit 2, accepting responsibility for my own learning, is certainly inherent in deciding to pursue the degree, but is also a commitment I renew each time I decide to sit down and give my best to my assignments for classes. Since I work full-time, this takes a lot of will power and focus.

Habit 3, viewing problems as challenges, and Habit 4, having confidence in myself as a competent, lifelong learner, are things I work on. I have definitely had to learn from problems in the past! Even when the situation that caused me to learn was very stressful, I got a bit of a rush from the new knowledge I acquired. Knowledge is a great thing to collect, and sometimes the knowledge we go to great pains to collect is the most valuable to us. In a stressful situation (a "challenge,") there is no time to decide whether or not to take the time to pursue learning; sometimes learning is the only way out! Confidence for me also takes the form of patience with myself, and the relinquishment of perfection. A brain that is tense because it is striving for perfection does not learn as well as one that is relaxed and open. I have to remind myself that it is OK to be where I am at right now, and that the process of learning is a reward unto itself.

This is also connected to Habit 7 1/2 - Play! Sometimes, when time constraints are tightening, it is difficult to play. I think that most adults with busy lives don't even think about playing and how good it is for the brain. With so many urgent moments, it is hard to bracket time where play can take place. Technology seems to be one of the forms of play that many people enjoy, whether it is through online gaming, blogging, music downloading, or Facebook. But when learning is higher-stakes, such as in the pursuit of a degree for a career, it is easy to become tense. It is probably exactly at these tense moments that we need to step back, take a deep breath, and add some play to the task at hand.

This class is helping me learn to use technology to my advantage (Habit 6), and more importantly, the Learning 2.0 program is helping me learn how to learn to use technology to my advantage. Learning how to learn other related things is learning of the highest order, and learning that teaches the most. Knowing how to learn is the first tool in the learning toolbox (Habit 5). Creating my learning toolbox is one of the steps I usually forget, but I understand the idea of creating the toolbox as setting oneself up to succeed. It is planning. Lovely planning. Sometimes I feel like planning is a lost art. It was interesting to see one of the first steps of a technology learning program return to the slower, more deliberate aspects of learning. Everything is so fast today, everything is needed yesterday. People forget that things take time, especially if they are going to be done well.

And finally, Habit 5 - teaching and mentoring others. I think that one of the jobs of libraries is to encourage and provide opportunities for lifelong learning. This is one of the public services a library can offer. A library could design Learning 2.0 programs in many areas, and in ways that foster community togetherness. Reading about the Learning 2.0 program and the 7 1/2 Habits is making me think about what a library should be as an institution of public lifelong learning. I look forward to exploring this concept further in my Library Studies.