Developer to Documentarian. A neat post from Write the Docs co-organizer Troy Howard. In it he covers the four things that make a documentarian distinct from a developer or technical writer.
You can design a social media platform that is more fair to new users just as you can design a government that is more fair to its less privileged citizens.
What if we designed a social network to be small, self-supporting, and independent from the outset? How would it look, work, and feel? I bet it would come out looking nothing like the ones we’ve got now, the ones still trying to turn water into gold.
Sweep the Sleaze. Our sites don’t need 37 pieces of flair.
I set up a quick status blog on WordPress.com today. It auto posts the content to Twitter so it’s handy for when I want to post the occasional status. Plus, I’m now dogfooding another part of what I work on every day which is always good.
Effectively Instapaper has found a way to keep its users engaged with the site’s main purpose, reading, while offering users ways of keeping tabs other readers. It’s like getting a peek at someone else’s bookcase, without them knowing that you peeked.
Imagine what would happen if Twitter operated this way: you have no inkling of who is following you and others have no clue if you are following them. You just have an account that you post to, occasionally a person responds to you. The only way you know if a person is following you is when you go to Direct Message them.
Imagine that, because what would really change?
Ben Brooks — The Masked Social Network.
I read an Edudemic article this morning about the future of school social networks:
Now, a movement is afoot to create student-friendly social networking sites, which would be limited to education and bound to particular districts or schools. These sites would give students the chance to communicate with peers in person and via the computer, in a setting not unlike an online school. Yet the most desirable aspect of school-friendly social networks may be that they would allow students to work together in a productive manner, while providing adults with the peace of mind sites like Facebook simply cannot offer.
This is all well-intentioned but it likely won’t be successful in any meaningful way.
It reminds me of educational video games. Things that education executives draw up to try to marry technology with their version of learning. They don’t work. You can’t create a video game that kids will want to play by removing its soul.
Similarly, creating a school social network by allowing for social connections which parents, teachers, and administrators approve of misses the point. You’re leaving out the soul of a network. It’s this soul that makes Facebook and Twitter so appealing in the first place.
Growing up outside of a very small, rural town meant being extremely isolated in many ways. Had you told a junior high or high school version of myself that I could use something like Twitter, Facebook, or, hell, even my blog to connect through shared interests with people irrespective of place, age, or social status I would have been floored.
That’s the soul of these platforms. That’s what makes them revolutionary for schooling. If you think creating sanitized, school-friendly networks watched over by parents and administrators is going to create any meaningful learning opportunities then you’re totally missing the point.
Educate kids on proper usage. Teach them online safety. Show them the power of serendipitous connections to people a world away. But don’t, for their own sake, limit their potential because of fear.
And a week or so later, when you try to remember what you said at this party, that really terrific thing, you rack your brain, but can’t quite come up with it. That’s Twitter.
The blog, on the other hand, is slow, reliably reference-able, and findable. It’s like a speech, prepared in advance, with the text distributed. Some will hear the speech on the day it’s delivered, but others will be able to reference its text across the years.
Randy Murray — Business Blogging: Tweet For The Moment, Blog For The Ages.