Friday, January 24, 2014

Learning2gether with Everybody

Do you ever feel you are verging on giving more time to your online endeavors than you feel you can use productively in your face-to-face ones? Whether or not that's actually the case (I haven't undertaken a systematic time analysis) I sometimes feel that way. That problem prompted one of my connections, frustrated in doing it himself, to run out of time and send me a notice to be posted on his behalf to one of my networks, and I responded with help for him to troubleshoot the problem. The time it took for that was probably more than if I had simply posted his notice, but posting on behalf of others as community leader could imply endorsement, and it's best if everyone in the community is enabled to work independently. But mainly, as I explained in my reply, I encourage independence because we all only get so many keystrokes in a day.

The above has been an aside by way of introduction, but I have been thinking to document one aspect of online community steerage that consumes a lot of those keystrokes; i.e. making announcement on social media sites. Intelligent use of tagging, and exploiting scripts and connections between social media sites might help to attenuate the problem, but writing it out might help me to see where there is potential for that, or potentially of even more value, maybe someone will comment with a useful solution to the problem.

One problem is that the social media landscape changes so often. I became aware a couple of years ago that social media specialists and consultants were being hired by entities seeking to manage their social presence (not only in getting out the message but also the quality of their footprint) but it is only recently that the abundance of social spaces that people inhabit has got to the point, for me at any rate, where it is running up against that finite number of key presses you get in a given day. Those consultants must earn their pay, if only in compensation for carpal tunnel.

Let's take for example the next Learning2gether event which is coming up in a few days, and I need to get the word out. Learning2gether is organized through a wiki, which means that a community can contribute key strokes to entering the events, but in practice those keystrokes are mostly mine. So most of what you see at is my own input, though occasionally that of others (and much appreciated!).

So the events themselves are shaped at that wiki, and when it's time to announce them, I scoop out the text and copy it into a Notepad on my PC, from where I can fashion versions to be sent out to various social networking sites. If we are planning to use HoA (Hangout on Air) I then set up with an announcement of the upcoming event. I use that page to keep our connection with the and communities current.

One place I post it is here: Tyson Seburn has worked with Learning2gether in the past - on Monday, May 6, 2013, we helped him host TESL Toronto presents: Aga Palalas – mobile apps for language learning, His calendar is not the ultimate solution to the world's educators' pooling in one place a comprehensive listing of all online and f2f professional events of interest to them (such a feature would be a script that goes into the wild and harvests all such notices tagged with the tag it is looking for; spam could be prevented by people posting such notices registering with the script, as with Stephen Downes's gRSShopper: but is at least easy to use manually, and events posted end up on the calendar.  I learned about it from Graham Stanley's posting here:

Then I'll post to relevant Nings. I don't use Ning much any more (here's why: but if the event is related to a Ning that is worthwhile and is supported by an institution that will pay for it, I post to that one. For example I post all L2g events at the TESOL Arabia EdTech SIG page at

Next I'll post an event on the relevant Google+ Community. This pushes it out to all subscribers at that community, and it can be shared (as an event) with one other community. I don't understand why just one, though it's possible to initiate the event elsewhere and share that with another community, thus getting your event out to 4, or to 6 or 8, but this cuts into our daily ration of keystrokes. I can understand the implications for flooding communities with events, but as a responsible user, I would prefer to make that decision (and let Google decide for all the irresponsible users :-). Ok, we've enjoyed my painting myself into a corner, and since I don't like to overdo the events, I simply copy and paste the descriptions of the event into "Share what's new" in a number of other Google+ Communities.

Here are some of my own communities:
Next comes Facebook.  I post announcements on the relevant FB groups, and here, as with G+C's I'm careful to include the relevant #tags. The posting itself is relatively easy; normally I just copy and paste what I put into my G+C's to each group.

Again, some of my communities
Indeed, reading this, I can see that I need a script that posts from one place into FB (not to my main page, but to the groups I specify) and same for G+ Communities I specify. Many social networks allow you to post on Twitter and to your wall at FB at the time you make a post on that network. I notice that a lot of my colleagues do this. Perhaps someone will remind me of the killer app that will do just what I want it to, directed at just the communities and groups I think will appreciate the information (or offer to help me code one).

Finally, I post to the Yahoo! Groups that have held their communities together for a long time and whose community members often support Learning2gether.  The two that I maintain are:

Personally I feel that Twitter is most effective nearer the time of the event so I don't usually post to Twitter until the event is nigh, though after the event I'll move its archive to and erase it from Once it's archived I'll here:, and let that one send a tweet, or to FB if it was my presentation.

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