RSS is Dead, Long Live RSS?

Matrice de services autour du RSS
Image by loic_hay via Flickr

I have to admit that my jury is still out on RSS.  I understand it, have taught classes about it and have used several different readers over the years.  So I found it interesting that @lrainie retweeted 2 blog articles about RSS today.

First one, The Top 5 Reasons RSS Readers Went Wrong, pointed out very good reasons that RSS exerpience just isn’t what it should be.  I completely agreed with #2 & #5 – “One of the things I like about shared links in Twitter & Facebook is that I can start or read a conversation about the story and otherwise give feedback (i.e. “like” or retweet) to the publisher of the news as part of the experience.” – “The process of adding feeds still takes too many steps. If I see your Twitter profile and think you’re worth following, I click the “follow” button and I’m done.”  I’m not thinking that Twitter is the answer for everything but they do make it easy to “subscribe” and share.

The second article, If You Think RSS is Dead Then That’s Your Loss and It’s a Big One,  of course takes the other side of things.  My feelings is that Marshall is entitled to his opinion as much as Dare and Sam are entitled to theirs.

My jury is still out.  I use Google Reader and have quite a few feeds but to be honest I barely read them anymore.  I pay attention to my Twitter stream and Friendfeed.  I follow people like @lrainie, @Mashable, @rww, and @Jeremiah Owyang that give me perspective on the social web and the Internet in general.  I follow people like @MLx, @baldgeekinmd, @msauers, @libraryman, @lorireed, @pollyalida and others that keep me up on my profession (Libraries & Training).  I follow people like @nengard, @ranginui, @wizzyrea, @Miromurr, @gmcharlt, @magnusenger, @nirak and more that keep me up on things going on in the Open Source community.

I don’t know if RSS is dead but for me the social web and looking to people I know and/or trust (compare to some news agency) is MY way of keeping on top of things.

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Bringing The Backend To The Frontend

103_0545One of the benefits of attending Computers in Libraries this year was being able to capture a live podcast for T is for Training.  As one of the regulars (although lately I’ve missed a few shows) I was excited to see Maurice work his magic in person.  First of all a couple of thanks you – Jane Dysart for allowing us to use one of the rooms to record the show and to Tim Spalding of LibraryThing who let us borrow the now famous Snowball Mic to record the show.  Without both of these kind people our show would not have gone on.

This show is special in many ways – our first with the particpants in the same room instead of phoning in or chatting via TalkShoe, friends that hadn’t participated in awhile being able to chime in, new friends coming on the show and rocking, and finally getting some long sought after friends on the show.

As for the title of the blog post and the similar one for the show it came from Michael Sauers.  Maurice was telling him about some of the chat that happens on the show because folks can’t or are unable to call in so they chat.  Quite often we have great conversations in the chat portion.  So Michael joked that “so you are bringing the backend to the frontend” (or something like that).  I immediately jumped on that and suggested that Maurice use that as the title of the show.  He often takes something that is said on the show and uses that for the title.  Also this explains the picture of Kevin Urian who was perhaps demostrating a different definition of backend for us.

Where Are YOU on the Ladder of Web 2.0?

A post by (almost)baldgeekinmd on FriendFeed about a site he bookmarked using Delicious gave me a great idea about how to market the “What is Web 2.0?” classes I’m presenting. So where are you on the ladder of participation?

I’m betting that the classes will be full of mostly spectators and a few joiners with a sprinkling of collectors. I figure those that are critics and creators already get it so they won’t be taking the class. I hoping that I can gear the class towards anyone (except the inactives doubt they’d come in the first place). Nice thing about that ladder is there is something Web 2.0 for everyone no matter what level you are on. Now the trick is to appeal to those spectators and get them to move up the ladder at least just one level.

How I Got Into Blogging or Be Careful Who You Tag They May Just Tag You

Well I could blame Meredith Farkas for starting this meme or fuss at the (almost) BaldGeekinMD and Julie Strange for both tagging me. Actually I’m flattered that they both tagged me but feel maybe that Maurice is getting his revenge for the “Sisters of Irony” tag teaming him on a previous meme.

To be honest my first “dipping of my big toe in the pool” came when I participated in Maryland’s 23 Things program. I then went on to try blogging more of personal with my blog about our family vacation to the land of my husband’s birth – England. Then I tried to continue with a more personal blog about things going on in my life, Something More Than Long (taken from “My Corner of the Sky” from the Broadway musical Pippin). But I didn’t seem to keep up with it and that blog died in March of this year.

Maurice knows the answer to how my latest blog came about – peer pressure! It started during the Computers in Libraries 2008 conference. Prior to the conference, I had had the pleasure of taking an 8 week online course about online training and Maurice (and Julie too) were in the class. Finding my fellow trainer soul mate in Maurice (this man loves technology and good music as much as I do) we made plans to meet up at CIL 2008. While walking to lunch or chit-chatting between sessions Maurice had the pleasure of my outgoing personality and opinions of open source vs. proprietary software. He dubbed me “The Open Source Evangelist” but I had to tell him that title was already taken by none other than Nicole Engard of Liblime. He kept nudging me to blog.

Even after the conference when I ran into Maurice virtually he’d put in a plug for me to start blogging. But what finally got me to cave in was being tagged for another meme by Michael Sauers. It was an interesting meme – teaching the next generation about your passion (which for me was open source). The flood gates opened from there.

Although my blog isn’t always about open source, quite often it is. I try to stick to some topic that comes from my experience of working 25 years in libraryland. My current slant tends to be more technology based but I tend to include rants about fashion (Project Runway), politics, and music (help with FineTune playlist). For those that read this blog I hope I provide some insight, some fun, a bit of humor and an occasional question or two to make you think.

That’s the rest of the story…..now I want to know yours – Michael Sauers, Bobbi Newman, Joshua M. Neff, and Marianne Lenox.

Worth a Thousand Words

So they say is the definition of a picture. Recently on FriendFeed, Tad started another meme. This time it wasn’t about what you’d like the future generations to know or how you got started in libraryland but something equally interesting – Take a picture right now. No, you can’t fix your hair or freshen your makeup or straighten your bow tie. Just do it (as Nike says).

It was interesting to see the pictures of friends I either knew virtually or in reality. Some were real surprises – like almostbaldgeekinmd, I’ve only seen him in casual wear so it was great to see him in a tie and jacket. At least 6 librarians had some collection of books in the background of their photos, go figure! My favorite backgrounds were the ones taken at work. Fun to zoom in and see what toys, tshatshks and papers could give me some insight into these folks I call friends.

Only problem is there doesn’t seem to be one location where all the photos can be seen together. Perhaps I can convince folks to leave links to their photos in the comments section here.

I’ll start:

Instructions: Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair – just take a picture. Post that picture with NO editing. Post these instructions with the picture.

FriendFeed – the new RSS aggregator?

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something new. Not unlike Nicole Engard’s blog “What I Learned Today“, I could keep a list of neat, interesting, exciting, frustrating, a-ha moments. Yesterday was no exception to the rule.

I took part in the maiden voyage of T is for Training a podcast show hosted by Maurice Coleman (aka (almost) baldgeekinmd. The first topic of discussion was information overload. How, as trainers, do we deal with all the RSS feeds and information coming to us on a daily basis? I believe, forgive me if I credit the wrong person, Stephanie Zimmerman that mentioned she does what I do — let my friends aggregate for me via FriendFeed. She talked about StumbleRead which I had not heard of before but immediately started using. StumbleRead allows you to pop out a small frame that feeds you all the activity going on your FriendFeed.  So you can have FriendFeed going without taking up one of your tabs in your browser.  It allows you to see feeds/posts from your Friends or Everyone and you can share from within the application (powered by Google App Engine).  Ooh, just love hearing about a new product, software app, or web site I can play around with.

I’m not trying to be lazy. It’s just that I can subscribe to over 300 feeds (like some on the show) but I’d never get through them all. Or I can pay attention to what the library community is talking about on social networking sites like FriendFeed. Because FriendFeed not only allows you to post directly into it but also import information from 43 different sites (plus the ability to import RSS feeds from any site) – I can keep up to date on all kinds of information due to the diversity of my “friends”. If they don’t have an area of interest that I do than that is a feed I can subscribe to and hopefully post about so they can learn from me as well.

For me, FriendFeed keeps me up on politics (the discussions about Obama, McCain and Palin have been interesting), fashion (found several other Project Runway fans there), library news (everything from LibraryJournal to WebJunction to individual library’s feeds), and many other topics.  So who really needs an aggregator when you have your friends?

When Words Escape Me

My boss, Amy De Groff, suggested to me that I should submit a proposal to Computers in Libraries 2009.  She knows how much I’ve enjoyed attending this conference over the years.  She felt that the classes I’m offering this fall at Howard County Library for our customers on Web 2.0 would be something that perhaps CIL might be interested in.

I’ve been staff training at the Howard County Library for some time now.  My classes are always well attended (even when they aren’t mandatory trainings) and I’ve gotten good feedback such as “I speak in plain English not techie”.  So I thought I could move onto our customers and help them learn about the read/write web and maybe able to converse better with the techies in their lives (or at the very least go home and have the courage to play a bit more with the web).

I took my boss’s advice and tried to find someone to co-present with.  Good idea if you are new to presenting at CIL to have a more experienced co-presenter help you over the bumps and take you through the hoops.  I tapped my friend (almost)Baldgeekinmd to see if he’d be interested but alas he was unable to.  However, he had a fantastic idea and one that is very Web 2.x — throw the idea out to the community!

So off to FriendFeed I went.  Within a few minutes I had a Facebook email from Joshua Neff and several comments on my FriendFeed post from Michael Sauers.   Michael and I emailed back and forth a bit and he agreed to present with me (if we get selected mind  you).

Now the fun begins, writing the proposal.  Luckily the form only requires a paragraph for the session description but what is causing me to have writer’s block is the title.  I know from personal experience that catchy, descriptive titles also catch my eye when I’ll flipping through the CIL program guide.  So for once I am at a lost for words.

I’ve used Doodle to create a poll.  So, please feel free to vote there or comment here.

T is for Training

I had the honor of participated in a niche that was finally filled today. To paraphrase what baldgeekinmd said “if you see something missing on the web you fill it – that is part of the read/write web”. Maurice was inspired by Greg Schwartz’s Uncontrolled Vocabulary show. And after searching around the podcasts out there realized there wasn’t anything that addressed training especially in the library world. So hence T is for Training was born.

Today was the “dress rehearsal” for the show. I joined Maurice, Jennifer Ranck (Training Coordinator for Eastern Shore Regional Libraries), and Bobbi Newman Digital Services Librarian at the Missouri River Regional Library.

I expected to be just a causal testing of the software (TalkShoe) but Maurice dived right in and had an agenda setup and the topics were quite interesting. Everything from do librarians need survival training to Bobbi’s 2.1 program to general talk about the aftermath of 23 Things here in MD (once Bobbi left the room was full of just MD trainers so we slanted the topic to us) and even a small trainer vent session. I suggested that Maurice keep the last 3 minutes of the show for the trainer vent session (will save a lot on our therapy bills).

I’m excited about this show and hope that lots of other trainers (library related or not) will join us on September 12 at 10:00 am for the first show and all the others to come.