My expanded version of tag drafting

Oops, Sean O’Driscoll had planned to blog about the article by the Economist that discusses the increase in networking and decline in visits to sex sites and suggests that I am tag drafting his del.icio.us account. Well I wasn’t, but I am now, instead I was drafting his blog.

For my presentation for Learnscope e-learning project planning day I expanded on Sean O’Driscoll idea of effective tag drafting.

Sean’s explanation of tag drafting relates back to the concept used in competitive cyclingmotorracing.jpg and motor racing where you get in behind the leader and use their slipstream to significantly reduce the average energy expenditure required to maintain a certain speed. He mainly uses the term to refer to how you monitor the websites a person (who you know is a really good tagger and tags on topics you care about) bookmarks in del.icio.us. By doing this you reduce the energy and time spent searching for the information because the leader is doing most of the work and you are just travelling in their slipstream.

My expanded version relates to locating the leader’s in the topics that you are interested in and monitoring their sites (e.g. blogs, wikis, podcasts, flickr, del.icio.us). Benefits include:

  1. The noise (the fact that they are all starting to discussing a particular topic) that starts spreading out from experience e-learning people’s blogs tells you if something is worth checking out
  2. Using their bookmarks in del.icio.us reduces your time locating the articles
  3. Help keep your knowledge current
  4. Provides opportunities for you to networking with them to exchange thoughts and ideas – the more people you network with the greater the gain for all involved

My expanded version relates to effective use of RSS feeds (maybe RSS drafting would be a better term); by using feeds properly the information comes directly to you and there is no need to continuously revisit each website to obtain the updated information. I do this by identifying the individuals who I wish to draft (i.e. follow in their slipstream) and then subscribe to their feeds using Google Reader which feeds onto my personalised Google Homepage (along with news feeds). If you are not sure of who to add I suggest you have a look at some of the articles in my shared items Google Reader in my side menu as you might identify people you would like to draft. For more information on how I RSS draft check out manage your World online.

Final chuckle – Sean commented in his interview for SolShare that knowing others are checking out what you are bookmarking in del.icio.us can put pressure on you to only bookmark really good articles. My girlfriend Evil Sue, put me onto extisp.icio.us which is cool software for giving you an image of what a person is bookmarking in del.icio.us. I use the extisp.icio.us text. It is amazing what you learn about a person from their bookmarks (Sean – you obviously like BBQing).

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Adevărat Lume fame – True world fame

As mentioned in previous post Gabriella (Despre chestii din viata (cu si fara tehnologie) in Romania and I have been informally networking with one another through our blogs; which to me has been a really amazing example of how social networking can cross language barriers and great distances.

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While Gabriela can read English, I can not read Romanian and yet each day I follow the great links on her sites and learn so much from what she shares with me. And she follows my blog, wiki, podcasts and checks what I have bookmarked each day in del.icio.us. Then bookmarks the items that interest her using her del.icio.us account. This is a classic example of what Sean O’Driscoll is calling “author drafting” on his blog Community Group Therapy. Sean describes author drafting as following behind a “fast rider” you already know tags topics you care about and you are “drafting” behind them. This is the strategy on my wiki site I call building your network and fans when using del.icio.us; so instead of searching for articles, others do the searching for you (however I really like Sean’s name for it).

In some ways it is like we follow in each others foot steps. And if you carefully read back between each of our postings it is like she reads my mind and knows what topic I am researching and posts a great link to help me out. Reality, that is probably what she is doing. She subcribes to my feeds from my different sites and they give her an idea of what I am working on. So thanks Gabriella for thanking me, in English, for all the wonderful educational resources I share with the World however I also thank you for everything that I gain from you.

My friend Frances, did the translation into Romanian, using an online translator, we hope we have translated it correctly. You have given me “True World Fame”, and the same for you, because my blog is on the other side of the world from you and it is amazing that it is read by someone whose native language is not English.

P.S I know that you will have already checked out RSS in plain English but if you haven’t definitely worth it. If it is not working please be patient – he has had technical difficulties with his site (probably as a result of his “fantastic snow day” – i.e. the video has been very well received) in which case I would go back and watch in a few days. Poor Lee reports he is still having technical difficulties, thankfully he has also put on youtube because that will probably help some of his problems (which I am sure are because his site was so overwhelmed – well done Lee – enjoy the snow – however working fine in Google Reader). So I have embedded the video here for you to watch.

Interesting point Lee tells you to locate the RSS feed and paste into Google Reader (and it is important that he shows people how to locate RSS feed). However with Google Reader, if there is an RSS feed on the page, you do not even have to locate the feed all you have to do is paste the web address into add subscription and normally Google Reader will all automatically locate the feed.
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The world has changed….social networking

Michael Coghlan is right “the world has changed…”; it is amazing to consider how the evolution of the World Wide Web and technology has enabled us to network with others using social computing plus maintain these connections and networks with each other regardless of where we are (e.g. sitting on the beach connecting via our mobile phone, PDA or wireless computer). If we reflect back in time, back to the introduction of the World Wide Web, there is no way we would anticipate this would be one of the outcomes. It still amazes me to realise that there are so many people online that I network with, who help and assist me and yet I have never meet.

More amazingly are the different forms of networking involved; and the fact that not all of the networking involves formal contact or communication and yet you gain from the networking. Take for example, Gabriela Grosseck. I came across her blog when I noticed that people were visiting my podcast site as a result of her post on wikispaces which included my interview with Adam Frey, co-founder of wikispaces. Not sure exactly how she came across my podcast site, possibly as a result of post on wikispaces blog.

I now subscribe to Gabriela’s blog because she post excellent information with lots of fantastic links to resources and information that have been of great value to me. She obviously values what I do because she posts about my blog, del.icio.us and wiki site as well now. And the only problem is I don’t read Romanian – well who cares (although I would like to read what she says about me) – doesn’t matter because I follow her links and guess the meanings she is saying. To me that is an amazing example of social networking, to be mutually assisting one another, globally dispersed, and one not able to speak the others language, and yet be able to connect on some level.

To highlight this connection, let me share what I learnt from Gabriela’s post today. I have been putting together tips for using del.icio.us on my wiki because it has taken me awhile to realise the true value of del.icio.us and I meet many people who have the same problem which I think relates to not using it effectively. Today Gabriela introduced me to del.icio.us Network Explorer . This cool application lets you check out yours and other peoples del.icio.us networks. Which is amazing when you start seeing, without realising it, there are many connections between the different individuals within each network. More importantly I then checked her recent bookmarking in her del.cio.us account which gave me additional web sites to more information that help me add to my tips for using del.icio.us on my wiki and I realised the benefits of using networks in del.icio.us and how you can share links with people in your network.

Look at my screenshot below from del.icio.us Network Explorer. Each dot represents a person’s del.icio.us account (191 people shown – if I kept pressing each dot there would have been more people with more connections). Each line shows a connection to another. Amazing to realise that some people you networking with more formally, have network members who connect with people that you informally network with. For example, Graham Wegner I know networks closely with Alex Hayes, and I have spoken a bit with Graham through my connections with Alex and would not know him without this connection. Yet Graham subscribe to many of the same blogs as me.

Yes Michael the “world is definitely changed….”, there is no way that I would have so many social networks that help me with my work and as Thomas Friedman says “The World is Flat“. Thanks Vicki Davis for putting me onto this great book.
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