Tag Archives: facebook

My Book Review Talents are Award-Winning, according to weRead

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Last week, I wrote a review of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.  As usual, I posted it both on weRead (via Facebook) and on Smell the Ink @Wordpress.  A few days later, I received an e-mail from weRead via Facebook that I had won a prize, awarded for the best weRead review each day.  They called my review passionate – now how about that!

Daily winners receive at $25 credit at Lulu.com, an online bookseller that specializes in self-publishing, and sells amazon-type volumes as well.  Happily, I received my credit code and have started to browse Lulu’s expansive stocks.

If anyone is on the fence about writing reviews on weRead, I say give it a try.  There’s a prize every day, and a $50 prize for any user who writes the most reviews in a week.  Take a look at recent winners on the weRead Blog.  Either way, take a look at weRead (I use it through Facebook) and Flickr Flixster (also through Facebook); they’re a good way to keep on top of media you want to get your hands on.  Happy Reading!

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How Google Has Wooed Me, or Web 1.0-3.0

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Today I did some 101 reading/viewing of information about the evolving reincarnation of the world wide web.  The concept of the semantic web is growing in popularity and recognizability.  According to the semantic web’s online community platform:

The Semantic Web is the extension of the World Wide Web that enables people to share content beyond the boundaries of applications and websites. It has been described in rather different ways: as a utopic vision, as a web of data, or merely as a natural paradigm shift in our daily use of the Web.

From what I gathered watching a “Web 3.0” video featuring interviews with experts, the Semantic web organizes the web by making data available in a package more easily acceptable by computers, instead of trying to make computers think more like humans.  Long story short, there’s a “schism” in the web expert community as to whether or not categorization exists independent of human thought.  I’m still very unclear about how the Semantic web was conceived and how far it has been developed thus far.  Hopefully, I’ll be reading more about these new web theories as I continue in my study of library and information science.

I forgot to mention – I’ve become more aware of all of these developments thanks to my Google Reader subscriptions (and to twitter, too).

If you’ll humor me, here’s a little history of how google grew into my technological life:

  • During a computer room research period for AP European History class in 10th grade, my teacher Miss Herron directed me to try http://www.google.com.  I’d henceforth been using cluttered search engines like dogpile for my research.  I tried the google S.E. and I liked it.  I’ve been using it ever since.
  • Four years later, at the end of my freshman year of college, an older friend Vicki sent me an e-mail invitation (one of a limited amount of invites she was allotted) to sign up for a g-mail beta account.  Again, this was a new e-mail platform that I’d never heard of.  Although I signed up for an e-mail, it took me couple of years to fully commit to using g-mail as my primary address.  Now, I use my g-mail account for 99% of my online correspondence.
  • After becoming well-versed in my usage of the g-mail platform, I explored some of the other applications on the google page.  At the time, there were much fewer available.  I used the calendar (and have started using it again recently) but didn’t find any others particularly useful for my needs at that time.
  • Recently, I’ve developed my personal google site as a launching page for all of my professionally-relevant web personalities.  Right now, it directs users to my blog (right here), twitter, LinkedIn profile, and my new Card.ly.  Facebook, I assert, is something strictly for my personal life.
  • In the last month, I’ve been enjoying the benefits of my new google reader account.  With all of the new library issues and blogs I want to keep up with, in addition to feeds I read for personal enjoyment as well, this application has proven itself super handy for my professional education so far.

I don’t know where the Web 3.0 “revolution” will lead me in cyberspace, but I am hopeful that it will take the ease of use and capabilities of Web 2.0 and make them sleeker with more privacy options.  And the Semantic Web? That’s a concept I’m still trying to wrap my head around.  I’ll bet, though, that twitter and google reader will keep me informed about any new developments.

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But, at the end of the day, there are just some things I prefer to keep a la Web 1.0.  Case in point: I keep my movie, music, and book favorites list in my non-linked “about me” section on facebook.  I don’t want my favorites linked to the greater scheme of things.  I just want my friends to know what I like.

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The Value of Storytelling in a Powerpoint World

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One of the big questions in the evolving information age, at least in my humble opinion,  is whether or not new technologies enhance authentic human communication.

Tonight, I attended a lecture hosted by the Palmer School @ LIU C.W. Post, entitled “Storytelling & Social Media.”  Dr. Nahum Gershon, Principal Scientist at the MITRE Institute, discussed the efficacy of conveying information through engaging narratives.  In addition to his background is in Chemistry and other sciences, Dr. Gershon is a social media enthusiast who considers himself an “information broker” on Twitter.

Imagine the opening scenes of Casablanca.  The camera pans  from map of Europe southward to Casablanca.  We look out over a loud Moroccan marketplace, filled carts, fabrics, and cafes.  There are people from all walks of life waiting….waiting…waiting…

Dr. Gershon uses this cinematic example to illustrate how a story with an arc of action can be more effective than a series of bullet points on a PowerPoint slide.  Just like how children are more willing to obey an implicit piece of advice found in a fairytale than an explicit injunction from a parent, so too will adults follow instruction/SOPs more willingly and remember more details if they can wrap their heads around real-life narrative examples.  Additionally, the rhythm and flow of a story helps the information to be more engaging and will be more likely to stick in the memory of audience members.

All too often, companies and teachers plunk their subordinates in front of a PowerPoint presentation with thick text.  As many teachers will know, this technique doesn’t promote strong comprehension or recall of the information, since the audience is expected to listen, read, and sometimes even write simultaneously.  That’s not to say the PowerPoint doesn’t have positive applications, such as displaying photos, graphs, maps, graphic organizers, and vital bullet points.

If I may throw in my two cents, people learn new information in different ways, and providing multiple approaches to understanding a concept will allow more people to sink their teeth into what they need to take in.  Not all humans comprehend at their best by hearing a narrative.  Some people are visual learners and need to see well-organized data in front of them in order to understand.  However, I do concede that the narrative (both oral & written) can be helpful to most people.  It will give visual, kinesthetic, or musical learners are given a big picture to tie details together.

Storytelling, though, looks different in different media.  A spoken monologue may appear as an anecdote, offering memories of relevant instances.  A twitter back-and-forth will act as a conversation, with the quick and subtle cues present in a person-to-person exchange.

Dr. Gershon agrees that each medium has its own pros and cons, and should be explored for their unique strengths and weaknesses.  Twitter doesn’t support an extensive profile or friending format, and Facebook users still are wrestling with a love-hate relationship with the ubiquitous mini-feed.  I suggest telling a story in a new way: take a widget for a ride, and see if you like where it takes you.  After all, even I am tweeting these days, if only for my future career as a library/information professional.

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