The Internet In Real Time

This post started as a quick link to the first picture, but quickly unravelled into some thoughts about my own digital identity.

This has been making its rounds on the Twitter-Ed-o-Sphere in the past week or so and so I submit it for your viewing pleasure:

Click the animation to open the full version (via penny stocks).

When I was first making my mark on the world as a teacher, I was very aware of how much data I put online and constantly curated my posts and my friends’ posts on my Facebook wall. Some things were left up for a couple of days, some for longer periods. Most of my thoughts were around building my professional identity, specifically, how I represented myself as a brand. In the past few years, how I use Facebook has changed. I still keep in touch with my friends from University but since we don’t spend as much time together, there is less to post about. Now it’s mostly pictures of my kids so I can share them with friends and relatives and pictures of barbecued food… also so I can share them with my friends and family. The relationships that I’m focused on are different, so how I use the tool is different.

Last year, I started using LinkedIn to keep track of my personal work history. As I was getting into it, I kept contemplating what I was doing signing up for another social network. Where I wound up was that I was going to use this site to keep in touch with some of my friends and acquaintances. At the same time, I was thinking about what the purpose of my Twitter and Facebook accounts would be for. Each tool/site has its strengths and each handles communication and profiles in different ways. Thinking about this, I decided to take advantage of those strengths and to focus my online interactions/relationships with people based on our relationship and what tools they use. Facebook is where I focus my closer relationships, LinkedIn for my friends who could be considered contacts, and Twitter would be more of a public persona. This isn’t to say that this is a strict rule – I have some people in all three camps, some in two, and others only in one. I guess, even a while ago, I was contemplating my identity as a digital resident (see this post for context).

Earlier this week, I saw this tweet, which got me thinking about my digital identity again (and this re-hashing the above thoughts in my head):

I’m still getting used to Twitter as a part of my identity. In person, I’m quite vocal; online, I tend to be a lurker. I like to gather information and share it with people one-on-one. Tweeting links and quick thoughts isn’t necessarily my thing. I often go many days in a row without tweeting a thing or even a single re-tweet. Growing my online presence will mean more active participation in a larger network of teachers. I’m grateful for the things I’ve been learning while I have been participating in #DCMOOC; it makes me feel part of a larger community.

One way I’ve started to work on my sharing is to overhaul my bookmarks page. At first, it was just a few links I entered manually, but I’ve since switched over to pearltrees. I like that I can quickly bookmark to my site through a browser extension; it works well with my work flow. I think that qualifier is the key to moving forward; when I add a social site/service, it needs to work with what I’m doing or make my life easier.

So I’m curious, how do you manage your digital self? What are your tips and tricks to make life “in the real world” and “digital world” flow together?

Replacing Reader

As Google Reader was winding down going into the summer, my late spring was spent trying to find a suitable replacement for Reader. I tried Feedly, CommaFeed, Feedspot, and a slew of others to try them out (as I type that, I realize that I should go back and remove some of those accounts to keep my digital footprint under control). Here’s what I was looking for in my ideal replacement for Reader:

  • Look/feel/function nearly identical to Google Reader (there was a reason I was using Reader in the first place, after all)
  • Reasonably fast (I knew not all options would have the same server power as Google)
  • Ability to import my feeds
  • Mobile app for Android
  • Ability to create a feed of favourited items
  • Mark items as read as a scroll pass them
  • Ability to “unread” an item
  • Firefox extension

Some of these new RSS readers have some cool features, but none felt quite right. I enjoyed Feedspot the most of the replacements, but it suffered from slow server speed and didn’t yet have an app.

Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across InoReader and I fell in nerd-love with it. It is reasonably quick, has a customize-able interface (lots of skins, can enable a Reader-like interface), and fills the rest of my wish-list. Today, as I started revitalizing my blog, I enabled my “favourites” feed to add content to the side bar. To share an item here, all I need to do is click the “broadcast” button inside InoReader.

Now that I’ve been using InoReader for a few months, I’m kind of glad that Google shut down Reader. If it wasn’t for them doing so, this awesome product probably wouldn’t have been developed and I certainly wouldn’t have started using it. As frustrating as it is for a web service to close its doors, it’s great to know that if there are people who see value in it then they will find a way to continue and improve on the former service. I highly recommend InoReader to anyone who even mentions RSS feeds around me. If you’re still looking for a replacement for Reader, or want to try another option, give InoReader a shot.