Social Media, elearning, Blogs, Lifestream, & Productivity

Where is Everyone? - Baekdal.com

These days, everyone is trying to figure out how to connect with other people. It used to be simple, you just placed some ads in whatever newspaper that was most suited to your product, but now that world is becoming ever more irrelevant. So how do you connect with other people today? And more importantly, how do you do it tomorrow?

eLearning Learning - Tony Karrer

eLearning Learning, a collection of blog posts and articles all around eLearning, now has a blog.

The long tail of blogging is dying - guardian.co.uk

Why? Because blogging isn't easy. More precisely, other things are easier - and it's to easier things that people are turning. Facebook's success is built on the ease of doing everything in one place. (Search tools can't index it to see who's talking about what, which may be a benefit or a failing.) Twitter offers instant content and reaction. Writing a blog post is a lot harder than posting a status update, putting a funny link on someone's Wall, or tweeting. People are still reading blogs, and other content. But for the creation of amateur content, their heyday for the wider population has, I think, already passed. The short head of blogging thrives. Its long tail, though, has lapsed into desuetude.

Frequently Asked Questions About This Lifestream - The Steve Rubel Lifestream

It's been a few days since I announced that I was abandoning my blog in favor of a lifestream. The move seems to be going well as comments have been coming in at a good clip. Here's a quick rundown answers to of some common questions that came in via Twitter, Friendfeed and comments...

Top 10 Productivity Basics Explained - lifehacker

There's a core set of habits and techniques that filter and color a lot of what we write about at Lifehacker, but we rarely step back to explain them for newcomers. Let's get back to basics with 10 productivity tactics.


Social Media, Learning, Web, Twitter, Microsoft, & Training

Safeco Field

From Social Media To Social Business Design - Logic + Emotion

We're realizing that the bigger picture goes beyond how you can be a great tweeter, blogger or social media evangelist for your organization. It's time to think beyond marketing and building personal brands and time to think about how participation through social technologies can lead to emergent outcomes for any organization.

Are Deep Learning Skills Atrophying? - CLO

No one is saying that applying business-outcome analysis to learning is a bad thing. The question is whether the pendulum has swung too far. One might argue that the balance was once set too far toward instructional design and learning delivery for their own sake, without enough emphasis on the measurable impact of learning on the business. Today, the issue that must be carefully addressed is whether the balance has shifted too far toward "running learning like a business" without adequate grounding in the what, how and why of enterprise learning.

The Conversational Web - eContent

Being curious about yesterday's race, I queried Google on "Grandma's Marathon". Almost 100% of the first 20 results (farther down that most people would ever read) are traditional news media reports of the race. However, if one runs the same query via Twitter Search, the results are dramatically different, you learn what it's like to actually run in the race.

Twitter on the Barricades: Six Lessons Learned - New York Times

Does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means -- individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites -- were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion.

Why Microsoft Had to Destroy Word - Harvard Business

With the release of Office 2007, Microsoft demonstrated newfound commitment to delivering software that delights. In his excellent presentation on the design of the user interface for Microsoft Office 2007, lead designer Jensen Harris depicts the evolution of Microsoft Word, from a relatively simple application in 1989, to a bloated behemoth so overloaded with features that it required 30 toolbars, 8 task panes, and "clever" technologies such as Clippy to use it all.

Training Magazine

The digital edition of June 2009 Training Magazine is now online.


Media, Animation, Innovation, Information vs. Design, Learning, & Productivity

Festival Time

Twitter's Role in Iran--Is The Medium Really The Message? - NussbaumOnDesign

"The message finds the medium" - Bruce Nussbaum

Could Power Point Presentations Be Stifling Learning? - Science Daily

This article recently appeared in Science Daily. Part of it reads:
Stephen Mahar of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and colleagues have explored the impact of custom animation in PowerPoint lectures and examined the idea that custom animation may, in fact, negatively impact student learning.
To test their hypothesis, the team recorded two versions of a PowerPoint lecture. The presentations differed only in the presence of animation to incrementally present information. They then showed students either the animated or non-animated lecture and then tested the students recall and comprehension of the lecture.
The team found a marked difference in average student performance, with those seeing the non-animated lecture performing much better in the tests than those who watched the animated lecture.

While maybe its news to the researchers, Instructional Designers have know about this phenomenon for some time. Ruth Clark and Chopeta Lyons wrote about it in their most excellent book, "Graphic for Learning" (2004):

Humans have a low perceptual threshold for movment. Therefor, animation is a very powerful attention grabber. In fact, if you are not careful, too much animation is so powerful it will become a distraction or even an annoyance. (p85)

On using too many effects, the authors warn:

Chances are the learners will enjoy the the animation immensely but not be able to answer the most basic questions about the simple process the animation describes. (p86)

Information is more important than design in evaluating companies on the Internet - Innovations Report

We often think that people are more interested in "Bright Shiney Objects" but this research shows that is not always true.

Researchers from the University of Valladolid (UVa) have shown that the effectiveness of company web sites depends more upon their informative content than on the impact their designs may have on viewers' emotions.

Are Engineers, Scientists And Mathematicians Enemies of Innovation? - Business Week

We need more anthropologists and sociologists working with our engineers and scientists to develop services, products and experiences that people need and want. And we need managers in companies to understand what they do and enable this doing.

How cell phones will replace learning - Computer World

In a nutshell, the Web 3.0 will function a little bit more like a human being. It will "understand" how facts and ideas are connected. And it will also "understand" what you're looking for and take your own particular context, needs and preferences into account. Your interaction with the Web will "feel" less like the operation of a machine and more like interaction with another human being.

Survey Finds Workers Average Only Three Productive Days per Week - Microsoft Press Pass

Unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings are among the top time wasters that workers around the world say make them feel unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek on average. Via Twitter


What I learned from Twitter this Weekend... 140 Characters at a Time

On my desktop sits a small app called Twitterrific. It's a small window, about 4"x5", that gives me a condensed view of the world by feeding in tweets from people around the world I have chosen to follow. This weekend I decided to select a few of the tweets for those of you who are still wondering what Twitter is all about with the hope of giving you a better understanding. They range from news, to articles, to life in general that caught my attention.

Relevant Articles

The first tweet that really caught my eye was a link by iThinkMedia to a Business Week article on Tufte, who is one of the masters of visualization design.

About 10 years ago, The New York Times crowned Tufte the "da Vinci of data." A more fitting title might be the "Galileo of graphics."

This is perhaps the number one reason I like Twitter, it is always rich with information that is quite relevant to my work. The original tweet that brought me that tidbit looked like this:

ithinkmedia RT @Mary_a_Myers RT @ibmdesign :Interesting BusWeek article @ Edward Tufte, master of visualization design http://is.gd/ZpNb

The message reads:

  • ithinkmedia: the person sending the tweet
  • RT: Return Tweet - the original senders of the tweet (clicking on the manes will take you to their Twitter page and if you think they are a person of interest you can choose to follow them)
  • http://is.gd/ZpNb: the link to the business Week article (the link is shortened in order to fit the character limit - another popular link shortener is http://tinyurl.com

Another informative tweet is from Marcia Conner on the Four-Quadrant Model:

It is a helpful reminder that there are other forms of learning besides formal and informal. We also have "nonformal" - learning, such as OJT, that is directed and led by someone other than the training department, such as a manager.

Amit Gautam tweets a link to Jane Hart's Slideshare presentation on Social Learning:

Of course not all of them are links, but rather pithy comments, such as this one from Teach Paperless that causes one to stop and reflect:

"Coming Clash: Social media is formative. High-stakes tests are summative. You see the problem coming down the pike, no?"

Of course some are not really relevant but quite interesting nevertheless, such as this one from Sahana Chattopadhyay that she makes 100 TWITTERS!

Other ones flow in, such as this one from Tony Karrer titled Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive and another one from Mick Yates on the 5 Habits of Successful Executives on Twitter:

  • They are their brand's conscience
  • They don't sell - They share
  • They are real human beings
  • They write well
  • They commit

I get three tweets in a row that Annalie Killian, Sharlyn Lauby, and Vanessa Haakenson are now on Facebook (@#%&*, I never got the memo we were supposed to join! Whateeever...). Via Annalie Killian, Sharlyn Lauby, and Vanessa

Update - via gsiemens on Twitter: "...and the facebook vanity urls start rolling in :)." (now it makes sense why I got the above three tweets all in a row... DUH!)

And more Facebooks are tweeted! Ed Shepherd via Ed Shepherd on twitter, Matthew Bibby via mfubib on Twitter, Sahana Chattopadhyay via sahana2802 on Twitter, Clark Quinn via Clark Quinn on Twitter, Guy Wallace via Guy W Wallace on Twitter, & Mick Yates via mickyates on Twitter.

Life Continues...

Many of the tweets give you a small glimpse into their daily lives...

". o O time for less ranting, more stats homework. And perhaps #bacon" - She Semper (the # is a hashtag for search)
"Just had two slices of pizza - 70 16" pizzas just delivered... yum..." - Peter Jones
On Lake James for the weekend. Escaping Lake Norman's weekend crowds and ocean sized waves. Ahhh. - Guy Wallace
Cool, Bug is really restless as our storm os coming up - everything is still and she's ancy - amazing what babies can sense Raj Boora

Conversation Happens

And finally, real conversations happen, such as this one:

  • sahana2802, "Am finding that it's becoming just as imp to point out source of critical info/content as to be the creator of the content itself."
  • shantarohse RT (Retweets) the original tweet
  • sahana2802, "@shantarohse all of us are editing the web in real time...a kind of impromptu learning management is happening that is working beautifully."
  • shantarohse, "@sahana2802 In that case, I think I would also add that while source is impt, so is the notion that all content is transient."
  • sahana2802, "@shantarohse yes, I agree. Perceptions and views are rapidly changing...especially so today."

Hints Roll In

"[#Captivate Tip] To paste an object on all slides, copy it; in Storyboard view, select All and Paste. Credit @rickzanotti (via @rjacquez)" - via mfubib on Twitter

Final Thoughts

I hope this post has been helpful for those who have not yet begun to tweet. As sahana2802 paraphrased/tweeted, "Twitter is about "Being in the NOW of Information Exchange" (via sahana2802 on Twitter).

Teach Paperless tweets "Yet another example -- and a big one -- of why we need to include Twitter in education: http://tinyurl.com/kwmh7g." (the URL he is pointing to is an article from the "Atlantic" -- The Revolution Will Be Twittered)

Of course like any media you have to be careful. While Twitter does have its bright spots ('#CNNFail': Twitterverse slams network's Iran absence), it does have its rough spots: Hey, Just a Minute (or Why Google Isn't Twitter)

And if you are tweeting, what are you learning?


Social Media, Brain vs. Eyes, & Sales Training


Despite Army Order, Some Bases Still Ban Facebook, Twitter - Wired

"At Fort Huachuca both are accessible, however there are a large number of people making noises about it being inappropriate," an e-mail from Arizona reads. "The two things they all have in common are (1) they are older and don't understand web 2.0 and (2) they have never deployed. A lot of DACs [Department of Army civlians] trying to tell us what Soldiers need.

#Lrnchat on Twitter

While the weekly sessions of chats always seem to be at the wrong time for me, I always find them interesting. This is why Twitter makes a great SoMe (Social Media). Transcripts of chats

Brain Knows It's Duck Reason - Scientific American

The brain is faster than the eyes.

"When an Iraqi reporter threw his shoe at President Bush, University of Washington neurologists were delighted. But not because of politics. The fling was just real-world evidence of a theory they were testing. As the shoe flew, Bush ducked while Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, who was standing right beside him, barely flinched. The reason, the researchers say, is that we have a dual vision system. Our brains "see" things well before our eyes do."

Product Sales Training: Overcoming Death by PowerPoint - CLO

The challenges we found boil down to:

  • Information overload: The need for reps to know a large amount of changing product information.
  • Sales effectiveness: The need for reps to sell effectively and consultatively in increasingly complex and competitive markets.
  • Time crunch: The need to meet the two above challenges in shorter amounts of time.

The solutions include:

  • Case-based learning: Create a systematic set of c-based learning experiences that integrate selling skills and product knowledge.
  • Point-of-need information: Provide up-to-date product knowledge at at the point of need, during or before a sales interaction.
  • Knowledge sharing: Provide methods for sharing knowledge and best practices among sales reps.


Twitter, Mind Mapping, Presentations, & Feng Shui

Reflections of Cruisin Colby

Twitter Hype? Or Social Media Ignorance? Harvard Business School Blows It - NussbaumOnDesign

Why the latest report about Twitter's decline is wrong. The ratio of number of active to passive users on the very first "web 2.0" application, discussion groups, had about the same ratio.

"Sorry, HBS, but anyone following social media has known about this ratio of active to passive participants for YEARS. I remember talking about this with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at the World Economic Forum in Davos three years ago. He said that 1% of Wikipedia participants did 90% of the posting and editing, another 9-10% were somewhat active and the rest just used the encyclopedia without changing it."

The Power Of Mind Mapping - Forbes

Why use mind maps?

  • We brainstorm, interview someone, or review a transcript and want to add a note to another part of the outline. We page up or down, find the right spot, and then add the note. It doesn't take long for paging up and down to become frustrating and exhausting, like running up and down flights of stairs to do your work.
  • Traditional outlines are linear. If the information is stored in an outline and notes, you have a feeling of dread because you know you are going to have to slog through pages of material to refresh the context and recapture your thoughts.
  • When working with others on a wiki or even a shared document on Google Apps, it can be hard to collaborate.

Comment on Some ASTD Comments (or, My God, You let these people train others?) - Robert Bacal in The Happy Curmudgeon

"We have a professional trainer attending a professional conference, who is so put off that a presenter DARE use an overhead projector that she feels compelled to make it the first point in here commentary. There's no talk about learning, which after all is the point. This is about being so superficial in attitude and knowledge that one believes that if the newest, more complex technology isn't used, that somehow, it simply isn't worth listening to."

Feng Shui On Steroids: Design Your Space to Achieve Your Goals - zenhabits

Is your space designed to help you do great Instructional Design?


Instructional Design, Innovation, Web Usability, elearning, & Newspapers

The Sidewalk

The Various Roles of Instructional Design (work in progress) - Jonathan's ID

Job descriptions in ID (or, ISD) these days are all over the map, with very little consistency. It doesn't help that few HR and Recruiters have any knowledge of, or experience with, the field. So I'm going to propose some roles as I understand them, in the hopes that some day hiring managers will be able to articulate better what they want/need in terms of talent for their training departments or projects.

Twitter's Ten Rules For Radical Innovators - HB

  • Ideals beat strategies
  • Open beats closed
  • Connection beats transaction
  • Simplicity beats complexity
  • Neighborhoods beat networks
  • Circuits beat channels
  • Laziness beats business
  • Public beats private
  • Messy beats clean
  • Good beats evil

10 Tips to Create a More Usable Web - Webdesigner Depot

"Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word "usability" also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process."

Students Who Get Stuck Look For Computer Malfunctions - Science Daily

There is a kind of silence in the relationship between students and the educational software they use. The computer never gets tired, is not bothered by endless examples of random answers, does not distinguish between students, but on the other hand cannot provide individually-fitted feedback, which is one of the most important tasks of a teacher. ...Instead of getting mired in a debate about how digital tools can solve various types of classical pedagogical problems, it would be more relevant to focus on the new types of interaction and knowledge that can arise from the use of digital tools.

How to Save Media - Technology Review

Newspapers and magazines won't vanish. But they must change.

Why The New York Times Doesn't Call Its Readers 'Readers' - New York Times

In a world of near-ubiquitous computing, where an ever-expanding collection of devices turns readers into an army of co-creators and news distributors, The New York Times is trying to figure out its place. And the venerable Gray Lady's place in this world, increasingly, rests squarely with turning its readers into, well, something more.


Learning, Brainstorming, Leadership, Development, Innovation, & Twitter

Perfect Storm? or Perfect Opportunity? - Ellen Wagner in eLearning Roadtrip

I saw a number of comments (@jarche, @bschlenker, @raetanner) that gave me a pretty clear indication that the technologically savvy crowd was disappointed at how very "behind the 2.0 curve" the general ASTD assembly seemed to be. I saw complaints about the backwardness regarding social media and informal learning. I saw other comments that acknowledged how frustrating it is that learning innovations are being "gated" by IT departments.

Brainstorming for Better Business - Businness Week

Brainstorming sessions have led to important innovations at Kaiser Permamente. Here's how the managed-care company did it

Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders - HBR

Poor leadership in good times can be hidden, but poor leadership in bad times is a recipe for disaster. To find out why leaders fail, we scrutinized results from two studies: In one, we collected 360-degree feedback data on more than 450 Fortune 500 executives and then teased out the common characteristics of the 31 who were fired over the next three years. In the second, we analyzed 360-degree feedback data from more than 11,000 leaders and identified the 10% who were considered least effective. We then compared the ineffective leaders with the fired leaders to come up with the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. Every bad leader had at least one, and most had several. The list of worst leaders.

9 Ways to Twitter Your Personal Development - Zen Habits

Personal development has become a highly popular blog topic for bloggers and destination for readers. Twitter will likely soon follow, with segments already developing in the personal development arena.

Is Innovating Failing In The US? - NussbaumOnDesign

Economists and policy-makers tend to confuse invention with innovation. Innovations are significant changes that add value to people and organizations. Breakthroughs in science and technology per se do make for innovative changes in society. So it is not the failure of innovation over the past decade that is the problem but the failure of technological and scientific breakthroughs to become innovations that is the issue.
So why? My answer that engineers and scientists often forget the social aspect of invention.

Yes, Twitter is revolutionary--just not in the way that you think - cnet

"Twitter's a success for us when people stop talking about it."


Dialectical Bootstrapping, Connections, Body & Brain, Twitter, & Social Media

Rotten Pier on Beach

You Know More than You Think - Scientific American

Herzog and Hertwig called their more involved process "dialectical bootstrapping." You can pull yourself up by your own proverbial bootstraps by assuming that you are wrong, providing a second estimate based on a search for new evidence, and then averaging the two estimates. (Interestingly, in Herzog and Hertwig's studies, bootstrapping did not lead to second estimates that were more accurate than the first. The benefit of dialectical bootstrapping was only realized when the first and second estimates were averaged together. Compared to simply providing a second judgment, dialectical bootstrapping creates diversity —it leads to estimates that are more likely to have offsetting errors.)

Using Connection Activities - ASTD

Connections are short, learner-focused opening activities that include four important elements: connecting learners to other learners, to the topic, to their own learning goals, and to the learning outcomes. Learners also connect to the trainer and to the training environment. This means they begin to feel relaxed and at ease with the trainer and comfortable in their environment.

Our Bodies, Our Brains - Scientific American

A recent experiment published in Psychological Science shows that approaching or moving away from an object can actually affect our thought processes. And body movements which are connected to negative emotions tend to enhance cognitive ability. The authors say that's probably because adverse situations typically require more cognitive control to deal with potentially bad consequences.
Working with 38 subjects, the scientists confirmed that either a step forward (a typically positive movement) or a step backward (usually negative) significantly changed one's ability to perform a mental task.
Taking four steps back improved a subject's accuracy and timing on the task, whereas taking four steps forward led to longer processing times and more errors.

Tech sector has questions, few answers - Fortune

Twitter the "it" site of the consumer-technology world, which also happens to be the pinata of techdom. It's popular because people love the immediacy of sharing 140 characters worth of information with friends and strangers alike. Yet Twitter is under attack because there's no visible strategy for the young company to make money.

Social Media Doesn't Sell - Business Week

83% of people on the Internet use social media. But only 5% of them ever use sites like Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace to make buying decisions.