Posts filed under ‘socialsoftware’
Just read an interesting piece about future web use, taking into account mash-ups and the like. One nifty innovation is Yahoo! Pipes, an offering which describes itself as an “interactive feed aggregator and manipulator” and allows the creation of more powerful and relevant web feeds. One useful example is that of running a del.icio.us web search, in that only sites tagged in a specified del.icio.us account are searched for keywords. This approach is akin to googling manually through ‘site:bbc.co.uk’ etc. for every desired site, so is incredibly resourceful in terms of saving time and effort. Another pipe searches through links constrained to a specified web page, which is not entirely dissimilar, but perhaps suited to a more specific search across links of interest. At time of writing, the most popular pipe was finding photos in Flickr based on content from the New York Times homepage. Yahoo! Pipes has been roundly praised by Bill Thompson and Tim O’Reilly, to name but a few.
Flock is a rather neat new web browser that emphasises the role of social networking. Built upon (and heavily resembling ) Mozilla Firefox, the browser attempts to facilitate social networking tasks, such as blogging and sharing content. For example, a user can connect to Flickr/Photobucket and upload photos by dragging-and-dropping, easily sharing the content with friends. In terms of bookmarking, standard bookmarks can be replaced by those from del.icio.us or Shadows, while current bookmarks can also be added to these accounts. The approach certainly seems geared towards those who consider themselves to be ‘Web 2.0′ users, as the official site promotes the software as a ‘social web browser’.
So, are there really any benefits to justify making the change, or is this just another threat of featuritis? Firstly, this is still a beta release (0.7.9.1 to be exact), so it would be unfair to consign it one way or the other; there are some neat features, however. The photo uploader allows photos to be dragged in to a window, where they can be cropped and rotated, before they are sent to the user’s Flickr account, via some basic selection settings. There is a news aggregator to provide a generated page of articles, which can be customised as desired; a search-as-you-type function which provides instant search results after each keypress, and can be configured to target any of a number of search engines; and blog support to allow easy editing and posting.
Flock can certainly lay claim to being a Web 2.0 browser and it will be interesting to see what functionality will be added during its beta phase – perhaps support for applications such as Skype, where contacts could see your online status and send quick messages, or Google Calendar, to add events and view upcoming agendas?
This integrated approach will surely find favour with those who use Firefox and/or the sites with integrated support, and it will be worth keeping an eye on future development – just don’t tell this guy.
From edu.blogs.com (and Stephen Downes previously), just spotted a rather neat video comparing Bebo and real life at http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2006/11/bebo_the_movie.html. It shows the levels of immersion that are possible when using this kind of social software, to the point that one could find themselves submersed with the effort. Upon first look, this seems a novel film-making idea, although his video contributions also include himself jumping from a second-storey window.
The popularity benefits of social networking sites such as Bebo – itself and MySpace are the 5th- and 6th-most viewed sites on the web (BBC Technology, May 2006) – can lead to the discovering of friends and sharing of content; discovering and sharing has long been championed in the digital preservation world, with metadata harvesters lending themselves to resource discovery.
Elsewhere, it’s interesting to note on scotedublogs that teacher blogs are outnumbering student blogs by about 7:2. It would be intriguing to find out why there’s such a difference: is it simply a question of time, with students preferring to study/do something else? Perhaps students have less to say or are unsure whether to voice their opinion? Or are students more likely to use something like Bebo, which has more of a social feel? For all the supposed struggle to get to grips with technology, it seems to be the old-fashioned lecturers who are leading the way
At the JISC CETIS Conference 2006, the Future of Educational Content session discussed social software, such as Flickr, MySpace and YouTube, as alternative ways of finding educational content.
TagTV is one approach to searching more than one these sites at once, covering Flickr and YouTube. Users can add results to a list of favourites for easy access, although the thumbnail results offer no distinction between image (Flickr) or video (YouTube). Still, it’s a nice, easy-to-use approach to cross-searching.
TagTV was created by Ted Patrick, using REST XML and integration APIs from Flickr and YouTube, and is on version 0.7 (as of 2006-11-17).