Protect Your Feeds and Occasionally Google Your Username

February 2, 2008

Some would say there’s something narcissistic about googling your name.  However, it’s a good idea occasionally to see what appears on the first couple of pages of Google results. 

Last week I had a nasty surprise when the first page of results from a google search for my Jaiku username returned a link to a profile page on a dating site.  Although I see nothing wrong with dating sites, I should state that I am happily married and have never needed the services of the formentioned.   Moreover my social networking is purely professional, I do not carry out my personal life on the internet.  When I browse to the profile in question I note that although the profile picture, username and feeds are mine, the “bio” information is invented.  There is no way to sign in to the site in order to delete the profile.  Further checks reveal that other Jaiku and Twitter members have also been victims of this bogus site.

bio.jpg

It seems that a Spanish company known for shady practice has been scraping RSS feeds from Jaiku and Twitter by way of an application for Google IG.  Unfortunately neither Twitter nor Jaiku have announced this to their users.

In an attempt to prevent further “hijacking” of my information I have made my Jaiku and Twitter updates private and suggest others do the same.

Hello SMiELTworld!

January 14, 2008

Signed up for an online course on ELT and social media.  This blog, one of the assignments will be the hardest for me.  I’m not a stranger to social media, am a member of too many Ning networks, active in a couple, use twitter and delicious regularly, voice thread for a multitude of purposes and various other services and tools as the need arises.   But a blog, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.  It’s not that I don’t blog, I do, if you could call what I do “blogging”.  But it seems that blogging to order or rather as an assignment is not something I can easily put my mind to. 

I’m thinking if I paste the assignment here it may be easier for me to focus:

  1. What have you noticed about the various platforms that you have opened accounts on? What do they have in common? How do they differ?
  2. Are these environments different from LMS (like Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle and others)? How?
  3. What does “social media” mean for you? Which social media have you used already and what are your feelings about it?

Maybe I’ll start from the part of question 3 which I didn’t yet answer in my opening paragraph.  What does “social media” mean for me?  What are my feelings about it.

 “Social media” is my chosen tool for learning, my PLE if you will.  Not usually as part of a course but as a day to day activity.  Social media has also become the staff room of my choice, the place I go to meet colleagues and share events, ideas, thoughts, questions, plans, recommendations, projects etc etc.  Slowly it is also becoming a “place” where I meet friends, see familiar faces, get to know new people.   However social media is a part of my professional life, it is not a place where I usually carry out my personal life.  There is a little overlapping at the moment as my daughter and her friends decided to join facebook and befriend me, this has added a new angle and I’m not sure I like it, but then I don’t like fbook anyway… 

Social Media is is also something that I am introducing my students to slowly.  It’s not easy as most of the applications are a little difficult for the average Israeli elementary student.  Just signing up for a site and learning the interface is an exercise in EFL.  Participating in written online conversations in English is difficult for them.  We are using Voicethread and Ning and many of them use Youtube regularly as a source of entertainment.   

As to question 1 – The various platforms are easy to sign up for, adding content is quite simple and most of them provide some kind of comment and befriending system.  All the platforms are web based services, some offer RSS feeds (possibly all I can’t remember) Many offer widgets of different kinds to embed in other websites and blogs.  Many of the platforms include ads of some kind.  Differences obviously content type and privacy features.  Some of the sites seem not to have any content moderation eg: 43people  Most of these sites would be very difficult for my EFL elementary school students to use, and some of them are less than appropriate.

Are these platforms different to LMS systems?  While I haven’t actually experience of an LMS  if I look at the words, Learning Management System, they hint at a place where my learning would be managed, by whom? 

I think that most of the LMS systems are hosted on an institutions own servers, I may be wrong, however if true this would make setting up such a system more difficult.  It would however probably mean that the institution has more control over content and privacy of members and I’m sure no ads.