Creating knowledge with Thing 10: Wikipedia explorations

House of Knowledge Variation1 by Adrien Sifre CC-BY-NC-ND

House of Knowledge Variation1 by Adrien Sifre CC-BY-NC-ND

After a week-long break from the 23 Things course, I’m picking back up with Thing 10. Prior to heading to the AECT convention, I went through the Wikipedia Adventure and learned the basics of editing articles. It was quite fun to play and broke down the steps into smaller pieces. Participating in Wikipedia Edit-a-thons seems much more manageable now…

I’m listening to wikipedia while writing this post…it’s very calming. After Rainy Mood, could be my new favorite backdrop for work/study sessions.

Hanging out online: Thing 9

2013 Esri International User Conference - San Diego, CA

Thing 9 presented us with a couple options for web-based connection tools, one of which was Google Hangouts. My institution is a Google Apps school, so we use Hangouts several times each week.  Hangouts in that context are fairly easy to setup and/or join.

When I have used Hangouts outside of work, sometimes they can be more difficult – especially when you start to bring in more than one or two people. Many months ago, I was part of a few Virtually Connecting sessions (1, 2, 3) and used Google Hangouts on Air.  Those sessions were a lot of fun, although they came with a few more responsibilities behind the scenes for setup. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about the ‘on air’ version of Hangouts – although with Google’s frequent changes to its offerings I may need to re-learn it.

Our 23 Things course facilitators are holding a Hangout live session at the end of this week. Due to the time difference I will need to sit this one out…see the rest of the group on Twitter instead?

Data visualizations for Facebook: Thing 8

Social network (Magazine Illustration)

Thing 8 asked us to look at Facebook. I have had an account for many years and have used groups, lists, pages, etc. When searching for Facebook photos on Flickr for this post’s header image, I came across a neat graph that showed friend networks. I started digging into it to see if I could make something similar with Netvizz and Gephi. Turns out that there were several tools that used to do this, but when Facebook rolled out its API changes in 2015, those tools no longer worked. The creator of Netvizz detailed the app’s updates and demise. It does not look like there is a way to visualize your friend network at this time.

An aspect of my Facebook account that was new to me: I can choose now if I want to have my account permanently deleted or memorialized. If I chose the latter, I can add someone as a ‘legacy contact’ to manage a limited number of aspects of my profile.

Twitter analytics with Thing 7


Thing 7 focused on one of my most-used connection tools. I’ve been on Twitter for several years and am familiar with the lists and various management tools. My chief reason for signing up back in 2009 was to connect with student affairs professionals. Oddly enough, it was through the use of Twitter and blogs that helped point me towards a different career path…anyways, my continuing reason for using the platform is to keep track of, find out about, follow conversations, and receive updates from folks in higher education, edtech, and related areas. I’m figuring out ways to grow my connections and contribute to conversations. I particularly like this idea about sharing what you are reading:

tweet over 20 bloggers' content everyday

How to Use Social Media for Academic Branding by Sidneyeve Matrix

Tweetdeck is my current platform of choice, and I use it to manage two other Twitter accounts in addition to my own. I have also used Hootsuite but its interface is not as pleasing to me. Or perhaps I’m just not overly accustomed to it.

Thing 7 also introduced us to Twitter’s analytics tools. This is a new-to-me topic. Clicking on the analytics gives a snapshot of activity over the past 28 days:

twitter analytics

From there, the activities from current month and past two months are broken down into more detail. The main area of analytics seem to be broken down into two areas: engagement and impressions.

For example, in October this tweet earned 330 impressions. Impressions are how many times my tweet appears in other people’s feeds.

This tweet yielded 10 engagements. Engagements are likes and/or retweets.

Lastly, there is a section devoted to audience. Audience refers to people who follow you. I think this section would be more helpful if it was reversed and the analytics showed the countries, regions, gender, and languages of the people that I follow. In this way the platform could provide an overview of whose voices are strong and whose voices I am not hearing. Something along the lines of the (now defunct) Twee-Q, which analyzed your recent retweets and assigned a score of where you fell in terms of broadcasting mens’ or womens’ voices.

I found this Buffer Social article to be helpful in learning more about what the analytical components mean. Overall, I am not really sure what to do with the data from Twitter analytics. Engagements and impressions seem to be more geared towards individuals and/or companies that are using the platform to reach out for business and marketing purposes, or who want to influence their followers.

Interesting side note: while reading over the 23 Things syndicated feed, I noticed that another participant is an #indieweb user (Hi, John), and that we share the same WP theme (go SemPress). I think I might be able to trigger a response/comment to his blog via this post. I see that comments are closed on his post, so perhaps this won’t work after all. I will insert his post URL ‘in response to’ and see what happens…

People, words, and images: Accessibility exploration through Thing 6


Rounding out the first block of 23 Things….next up: accessibility.

This is a topic that’s on my mind most days, as I’m working on content for courses in higher education. With that in mind, I wanted to go in a different direction and explore the features of a smartphone. They were fairly easy to locate on my phone, and divided into three main groups: vision, hearing, and dexterity & interaction. I was surprised at how many options are built into the phone. For those who are not familiar with various features and options, there is extra text that explains what they are and how to activate them. I thought that TTS option for reading articles might come in handy, so I activated it.

One last thought…since the topics align, I’m giving a shoutout to the new site, designed by some of my colleagues. It’s chock full of resources for instructors, course designers, and web developers. One of the helpful articles talks about planning for accessibility from the start (of a course, in this case) but could be applied to a project that you might be working on now.

Exploring diversity with Thing 5

2 spectrum

Diversity in online spaces is one component of the long-running debate about technology and neutrality. The resources for Thing 5 illustrated this idea in different ways.

Paige Tutt described the use of multicultural emojis as a new means for individuals to spread racist messages online:

The emoji are being used to make racist comments on social media and insert questions of race in texts and tweets where it may never have arisen before. Instead of correcting its mistake — excluding people of color from emoji — Apple has, in some ways, made the situation worse.


Technology can never be predictive, only descriptive. It reflects our human nature – all of our inherently marvelous and unfavorable qualities. As our societies around the world creep towards higher use of data to make decisions, it’s important that we take a step back and ask critical questions about how the data is gathered, analyzed, and displayed. Dr. Alvaro Bedoya illustrates how unexamined biases exist in data:

This video is part of a longer presentation in which he and Dr. Latanya Sweeney discuss big data, inequality, and discrimination.

Signing off with my newly created bitmoji:



Came across two articles recently that spoke to this topic.

h/t to FemTechNet for the link to The Guardian’s article about machine logic

h/t to D’Arcy Norman for posting this video that talks more about how our biases are written into code.

Information flow: Ins and outs of Thing 4


Digital security is the topic of Thing 4 in the 23 Things course. Our activities included running through a scan of the permissions that the apps on our phones and/or devices use to see if any surprising info turned up. I went through a few of my phone’s apps and none of the settings stood out as unusual: I typically look at them prior to making the decision as to whether or not to use a particular service. Although it made me wonder what and why exactly each app needed access to particular components of the phone. I went through my Facebook settings and revoked privileges to a small handful of other platforms.

There was also a bonus activity that called for creating an about me page. Good timing as this is part of the digital presence revamp I’ve been meaning to get to for a while now. My own About page is very short, and doesn’t give much of a picture of what I do, etc. I bookmarked 99U’s post that discussed how to write an ‘About Me’ page. It has some exercises and examples for inspiration. Before I move on to the next Thing, I plan to update the page.

At first, I was a bit puzzled as to how the two activities linked together. It was not until I was ready to schedule this post and looked again at the fence image in the header that it started to sink in for me. Digital security and crafting the story about your online identity/es are about controlling access. Is it always appropriate to openly share all aspects of your life all the time? Probably not. Thinking back to the previous Thing, part of your digital footprint entails making intentional choices about how and why you are using particular services, including the types of information that you post.

Web journeys and associative footprints of Thing 3


Thing 3 in our course relates to the topic of digital footprints: the trails that we leave in place during our online excursions. These could take the form of photos, profiles, and comments on social media sites. The course resources listed a few videos, an e-Professionalism guide for students, and a case study (super interesting read) for us to consider. I wanted to see what other resources were out in the wild, and came across this great TEDx talk by Michelle Clark, an instructor at the UCLA Freud Playhouse. Her spoken word poetry about digital footprints is excellent.

What happens when I put my name into a Google search? Thanks to the SEO results of my institution, my work profile page is the first item that appears. I really can’t take any credit for this…those pages will likely always rank higher than my personal content. Other URL results…of the eight listed on the first page, six tie back to content that is associated with me.

Google Maps shows that I share a name with a local MD, and Google Images brings up many non-related content…some of which is a bit sketchy. A few of the images from my blog posts appear as well as the avatar I currently use across most web platforms.

What do I want to take away from this Thing? I re-read the action plan section of the case study and found that either consciously or unconsciously, at some point/s in the past I made decisions on how/when to use various social media platforms. For now, I don’t plan to make any changes to my current usage patterns. I don’t have a schedule outlined as to when to run another name search, so that is something that I could plan to do on a regular basis.

Breaking into blogging with Thing 2

Thing 2

The ’23 things’ course title makes me think of Thing One and Thing Two from Dr. Suess’ stories. While searching for images to accompany this post, I remembered that my child had a lot of fun making buttons at camp this summer. (Thing 1 button was made and given to a friend.) Thanks, Alex, for your creativity and willingness to share your artwork!

Our Thing 2 called for us to create a blog to house our work throughout the course. If I was just getting started with blogging, I think this would have been a serious stumbling block. It’s scary to put yourself on the web, even if you might be your only audience. Fortunately, our course instructors outlined a few great pointers to keep in mind, such as blogging as a way to keep track of events, helping to impact professional development, sharing ideas and knowledge among a community of like-minded souls. For me, reading others’ blogs was my foray into edtech. I was familiar with Mike Wesch, and slowly my PLN grew and expanded. Long before I started my grad program, folks like Audrey WattersAlan LevineJim Groom, and many, many others taught me about the history of the internet, the web, and educational technology – all through their blog posts.

As I move into year two of my grad program, I would like to find ways via my blog posts and digital presence that I can join ongoing conversations, meet other scholars with similar interests, and find students and/or researchers who may be interested in working on joint research projects. This is one of the main reasons why I am taking part in the 23 Things course. I see that there is a syndication of community blogs on the 23 Things site, so hopefully I will be able to connect with others throughout the course. Off to leave some comments…

Diving into Thing 1


For some reason, a ladder metaphor popped into my mind as a good way to kick off the 23 Things exploration.

Thing #1 featured a short video intro (view it below), the course FAQs, and a call to familiarize ourselves with our respective institutions’ social media policies. I wandered over to the University of Minnesota’s home page to find out if we have policies specifically related to social media. A general “social media” search yielded many results, mostly specific to departmental news items. The item that looked to be most relevant was from University Relations, and discussed how to manage the UMN brand. So not really applicable for this case, seeing as I am looking for resources that would give me some direction for personal social media use as it relates to my ‘student and staff’ personas. After looking through a few more search terms, I was not able to easily find anything. I am only partially surprised about this, but am curious what (if any) conversations might be taking place around campus on this topic.