Some positive words for the New Year

Don’t worry, dear reader, this isn’t one of those posts full of wise words. Well it’s my blog so you probably guessed that already!  This is just a short post which came out of one of those generally horrible round robin facebook things.  I normally ignore them,  but this one did catch my eye and happily the attention of some of my facebook friends.  It went like this:

Leave a positive word I can carry through 2018 that starts with the 1st letter of your name – it can only be one word

And here are the words that people left me –  I really like them and I’m going to pin the word cloud above my desk at work. Feel free to add your word in the comments. Wishing everyone a peaceful New Year.



Reflecting on my wanderings in the cloud and starting to re-evaluate my digital self


It’s with some irony that our internet connection seems to have gone done and I realise how much of my online life I have let be only accessible via cloud services. As it’s probably only temporary glitch and I’m on holiday, I’m quite chilled about it. My phone 4g signal is fine so I can use that to quickly post this.  However maybe I should be more chilled to my digital core about what others have access of mine that I don’t.

Just before the holidays  Laura  wrote a really insightful post about how she is going to try re-evaluate her digital self.  I really identified with what she was saying and even in a very superficial way I can see how my own online presence and those of many in my PLN has changed this year.   So this is my first attempt at re-evaluating my digital identity

My main online activity still occurs within a handful of services:

This blog:  which at long last in November I reclaimed (thanks Jim and co). I still try to blog once a week but it doesn’t always happen. Looking back on my posts this year I have struggled quite a bit with openness, the value of sharing, how, where and when to share. I still really value the practice of blogging as it makes me write and provides a really useful addition to my memory.

Twitter – 10 years on it and still here.  I have reflected quite a bit over the year about why.  I know I am not as constantly active as in years past. This might be a symptom of “growing up”, the pattern of my working life changing,  the ugly, dominating, denigrating voices. However there are still peak periods of really useful activity such as in conferences, tweet chats (LTHEchat, BYOD4L).  The professional connections and collegialitythat twitter has helped me to foster is something I will be eternally grateful for.  It saddens me that many people may not experience that thrill of connecting with your peers, asmore of us older tweeters change our habits and aren’t around as much. Perhaps forgetting the sharing opportunities it gave to many, particularly in field of educational technology.  I am a bit more comfortable with 240 characters than I initially expected. I hate the advertising, the helpfully annoying messages showing me what I have missed when I have been away, the fact that twitter has to find ‘a purpose’,  has to sell itself.

Facebook – I browse more than post. Facebook has always been for me a place for for real friends and family and a way to keep in touch. I get a little bit irritated with people who use it to share work stuff.  But it’s the advertising and automatic algorithmic choices about what I see which are real source of irritation and increasing anger.

Linkedin – I’m still there, not sure why,  we just all have to be don’t we? It’s the grown up, professional thing to do! One thing I really noticed this year was that the automagic re-post from my blog to my linkedin feed had stopped working (I didn’t notice) but when I did in July and reconnected I saw quite a spike in my blog stats.

Instagram: I probably share more of the “real” not professional me here.  Images really do speak a thousand words and I love seeing what others share. Like almost everyone I did my #ninebest this year.  As I did, another unwritten blog post came to mind about the dangerous simplicity of getting me to share my images, my locations, my life so easily with another 3rd party service who could run all sorts of algorithms on it, and the hundreds of thousands of others with that hashtag and sell us (our data) onto the highest bidder.

Blipfoto – I’m still sharing a photo a day. I think this is perhaps my most intimate online presence. It’s a smaller community and my network there is quite different from other sites. There is the inevitable crossover, but I like the simplicity and the humanity still there.  I also like the disciple of choosing just one image. Mea culpa sometimes I share far too many pics on Instagram!

Google+  – still there, still forgetting about it until I remember to log in. There are some strong communities there and I’m gearing up again for #BYOD4L so will be back with a vengeance in January.

This year I’ve also starting to use Slack for a number of communities in particular Virtually Connecting.  It has been a joy becoming part of that community.

Over the years I’ve always felt quite comfortable with my online presence. I’ve always, perhaps somewhat smugly, felt that I had the digital confidence and capabilities to know what to share where. To an extent I still feel I know where to share “stuff” – personal and professional, however the drivers to share are changing.  Partly that is to do with the madness of this year, when it seemed that the world has been in a constant state of WTF.  The political madness allows for more control and challenges to education from “big business”. The myths of AI and automation  Who controls the networks the data, our data, how and where we can share vexes me continually. I can reclaim my hosting but trying to reclaim my storify narratives is a not quite so simple. . .

When I’m fully online again I’ll try and reflect on this a bit more using Laura’s post as a reference point to really get to grips with understanding, as Laura put it,

more about the impact and influence I have let technology and platforms invade my everyday way of living.


The end of once upon a storify

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Like many other this week I got an email informing me that “unfortunately will no longer be available after May 16, 2018“.  This came as  a bit of a blow to me. I really like Storify as a way to collate tweets. I know that it is easier to embed tweets now then when Storify started. I did play around with the twitter stories feature for a bit but went back to storify.  I just preferred the storify UI and end presentation.

I created my first storify back back in February 2011. At that time I was working for CETIS and it was a great tool to use to summarize meetings/conferences/events I was attending organising. I really liked it as an alternative/addition to me writing a blog post about, particularly a community driven, events as it allowed me to pull in some of the insightful commentary that people at the event were contributing and, well you know, create a story that was based on what people actually said, and  not just my interpretation of the day.

Like most tools/services, my use of it has changed over the years. I’ve used for collating tweets more as personal notes that I haven’t shared, and also to catch some random but useful twitter conversations. This is still the best explanation of betweenness centrality ever!  Storify also came into its own for saving tweet chats, e.g BYOD4L.  What a huge amount of community sharing and expertise lies within all those stories.

Looking back now, I have 50 stories in my personal account, which in total have had over 19,500 views. But what should I do now? Do I archive them – and if I do where should I save/share them?  Should I just save the ones with the most views? Does it really matter? Should I just consign this another digital ephemeral experience?  Should I buy a livefyre licence to access Storify 2? Guess the answer to that will depend on how much it costs.

I’m sure I will get over the loss of Storify, and of course there are other archiving tools I can, and do use – not least the amazing Tags. But there was just something nice, simple and good about it.


A new home on the reclaim train

picture of train on viaduct

Photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash

So after a long time of watching others do it, and  thinking “oh I must get round to that”, I have at last joined the reclaim train and reclaimed my domain. So in time for the New Year I have a shiny, new .net domain –

Many thanks to Jim Groom for making this move so simple and overseeing the transfer process.

If you haven’t done it already why don’t you give yourself an early present and reclaim your domain today.