Tag Archives: twitter

Why You Won’t Read This

Wall with title of the post

I know that you won’t read this post. Here’s why.

  1. I am not saying anything you don’t already know. Whether I am writing about fatherhood, love, school, or any other topic, my views are found in books, YouTube videos, and other blogs. At the moment of writing this there are already  2 million new post on the internet according to WorldOMeters. In fact even opposing views are found through these channels. My beliefs are centered on my personal story and do correlate with many other people, even you at times. I am not alone in my views, and neither are you.

 

  1. I am not popular. On Twitter I only have 2,477 followers. I only have 272 friends on Facebook. On Instagram I only have 58 followers, and my most like photo has 19 likes (I do have some videos with more likes, but I think it is because my sons are the subject of the videos, so they share them). Katy Perry has 100,365,254 followers on Twitter. Cristiano Ronaldo has 103,576,615 likes on Facebook. Beyoncé set the record for the most likes on Instagram with her pregnancy photo; 7.8 million likes in 24 hours.

 

  1. I don’t have a focus. Most of the advice on making a blog work is centered around focusing your message, or branding your identity. There is also the advice about writing great headlines or building email lists and that post should be short. I use the free version of WordPress, and have a basic layout. No pop-ups or banners to get you to follow me. I do have a Flickr feed, though, I think that is cool.

So why am I even writing this? Why have I been writing a blog (in some form) since 2009?

Because of you.

Because of me.

Because of life.

Because it is all connected…

If there is one post, one sentence, or idea that helps you make your life better, it was worth writing it. I may never meet you in person, but that doesn’t mean our lives are separated. Honestly, if you think about it, technology allows us to build powerful connections that can make a positive difference in this world. And not just in a grand way, but in our everyday life. A single tweet, picture we share, or reading a post can make a bad day better. That’s awesome.

So, thanks for not reading this post today. I hope it has been a bright spot in your day. I’ll talk (write) to you soon.

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Life Without a Phone

iphoneI know this is going to shock you… I have been without my iPhone for two weeks. It finally died during Christmas break. I have a replacement phone on the way, but it is back-ordered. I’ve learned a few things about how a smartphone impacts our daily life.

Emerson

Created at PicLit.com

First, life goes on. Honestly. in some ways, it has been good not to have my phone… or maybe I should say apps. Some readers may have noticed that I have not been as active on Twitter lately. Especially with sharing my typography photos I make with Typic. Which I also share those photos on iTagged and Instagram. I do miss taking photos and not just for the creative things I do with them.

I could not take a photo of any of my children during the break. No smiling faces as they opened presents. No fun shots as the family let our new guinea pig, Kota, play in the living room.  Even worse, no chance to share those photos with Grandma and grandpa in Wyoming. I also couldn’t send text messages to other friends and family just to say hello. Let alone communicate with my wife to handle our busy everyday life. Who’s picking up who? Can I stop and get milk?

But life goes on.

I am more connected with the people around me. I’m not checking my Twitter notifications while my daughters take a bath.  I’m playing or talking to them as they make bubble beards. I am getting projects completed in half the time at work. I notice how people are feeling through their eyes. And honestly, right now, I feel more relaxed.  I feel free, not connected to my phone.

This feeling is interesting because when my phone first died I was stressed. I couldn’t check in on one of my favorite games, Puzzle and Dragons. Puzzle and Dragons uses a simple psychology reinforcement of tracking how many days you have played total and how many days in a row. Before my phone died, I had played for over 600 days. My streak was 496 days. Now, I don’t spend hours a day playing Puzzle and Dragons. But as you can see, I was connected to it.I won’t even discuss how many worlds I have lost in Minecraft Pocket EditionTheTop

 

 

 

I can’t calculate  how much time I spent with Twitter alone. Add all the time I listen to my music, checking Flipboard, researching new apps and just texting friends, and you can see that I was connected to the phone.

There are a number of studies about our addictive behavior with technology, this is a true concern for our development as people and a culture. These last two weeks have been an interesting case study of how connected my life is to my phone. Without my phone I am more connected with the people around me.  I’m more connected to what is going on in my life right now. But without my phone my connections with people and interest is affected. Connecting with my family in other states, friends and colleagues on Twitter, and even communicating with my family to make our daily life run smoothly has been lost.  I miss taking photos and playing Puzzle and Dragons. I miss creating typography pictures.

I learned I can live without a smartphone and when I get my replacement to make sure I disconnect from the phone to connect with the people around me. The past two weeks have reinforced that technology should enhance our lives, not control them.

But the most interesting thing I learned is that I don’t want to live without a smartphone. And that idea is for another post, I think the mailman has just pulled up…

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A Digital Path

IMG_2890 “Please help me teach a valuable lesson to the 7s retweet/favourite/share whatever 🙂 #weinspire #cybersafety pic.twitter.com/Mwfqxd0wQj” Tweet from Home of 7AH.

Well, lucky for you I am also a teacher… but I could be anyone behind a keyboard.  Your picture is now apart of a blog post from an individual in Nebraska, US. I have not manipulated the photo, but I could.  Photoshop is an amazing tool… oh wait I did alter the photo…IMG_2892

In fact, I used a simple app…PhotoFunia.

 

 

Consider for a moment the unknown that happens with anything we produce digital… from a picture, to a tweet, to the information of our lives that we share. Home of 7AH, I hope this blog post spurs some interesting discussions. I also hope it generates a few seconds of thought for everyone before you go digital with anything… who knows what will happen to that moment.

 

 

 

 

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Whatever happened to Georgia Wonder?

Back in 2009 I was following a band Georgia Wonder on Twitter. I was also teaching a unit on digital literacy for my sophomores. I had a crazy idea to try to connect with people I followed on Twitter to enhance some of the topics we were covering in class. One of those people was Julian Moore of the band Georgia Wonder. He agreed to talk to my sophomores via iChat to talk about the music business.

Here is the online magazine my students produced from that lesson: Chalk: Georgia Wonder issue.

Here is the blog post Julian wrote: Nebraska USA.

But this post is not about that lesson; it is about relationships. Relationships in our digital age.

Julian and I hit it off right away. In fact we both have the same birthday. For quite some time after the iChat lesson we kept in contact on a regular bases. Georgia Wonder was working on a new album, and in fact the class and I got to hear the first single from the album as Julian was working on it. Today it is 2013 and I have lost contact with Julian. There have only been two posts on Twitter from the band since last year. Their blog has not been updated in a long time. Julian is working on a novel, but that blog has not been updated either. So what happen to a friendship in the making? Life.

Let me take a minute to bring in a few ideas that have been on my mind lately. In the TECHS class we have been discussing digital citizenship, and part of that discussion has been the change in our definitions of friendship, communication, and relationships. Yesterday we watched the following TED talk “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle.

I have been reading the book You are not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, which discuss many of the same ideas. This blog isn’t about those either.

Now this is a hard truth. I know that if I stopped using Twitter or Facebook, nobody would really care. Somebody might think off hand that I hadn’t posted anything in awhile, but life would go on. I will be starting a new job soon and in a few months after I leave ESU 10 somebody might think about me, but life goes on. But here is the point, the aspect we as a culture and as individuals are discovering and working through; life goes on whether we are online or not. (And I am thinking we need to be offline a little more… but that is for another post) But when we embrace the power to enhance our relationships through technology we create an incredible personal experience that enriches what we do and who we can become. At the moment much of technology discussion feels like technology is a separate aspect to our lives. It is not; it is a tool that can enrich our lives.

So what does this have to do with Georgia Wonder? Good question. I may never connect with Julian again, but the possibility is there because of technology. But just like any friendship, job, or change, life goes on. But my life, and my students’ lives, was enriched by our connection. If we keep the focus on how technology can make our lives better; I think we will do just fine.

By the way, Georgia Wonder, if you get the chance to read this… I’m still listening to your music.

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24 hours

In the last 24 hours I got a real look at what technology can do for us in our lives.  I will try not to bore you with an extensive look at my day, but I think it is important to share with you how technology can be a great tool for us.

24 hours ago I posted a blog on shoveling snow.  The weather didn’t improve and I decided to work from home and that started a great 24 hours.

The Scratch Cat

I needed to communicate with the teachers for both of my class responsibilities, which meant email.  But that was not the only email I wrote (as I watched Storage Wars).  I sent an email to a TECH student who is interested in app development.  I also sent an email to a teacher about the Scratch program she was interested in teaching.

I then had to revamp some assignments for class.  The TECHS class wasn’t too much trouble because we were watching informational videos on Java Script that were already posted on Angel.  American Lit had to be changed to a purely online assignment.

I was then going to grade assignments for American Lit but got into two conversations about life.  One conversation on Facebook and one conversation on Twitter.  Both were with former students. The kind of conversations that energize you because they go beyond the basic; “Hey, what are you doing? Nothing. What are you doing?” routine. The conversations covered deep aspects of life (Fatherhood, Highs and Lows of Life).

I finally got to bed just before midnight.  I got a little extra sleep because the kids’ school

The Blue Moon Coffee Shop

had a late start because of the weather.  I got to drop off my two little girls at day care and then headed to my other office, The Blue Moon coffee shop.

As I drank coffee I was involved in a Twitter conversation about connecting with students on social media sites, sending information about Symbaloo for someone and read a couple of powerful articles.

I headed home so I could Skype into a Social Studies Teachers meeting a colleague (Deanna Stall) was hosting.  I demonstrated Socrative to them (a cloud based clicker tool for the classroom).

When my time was up I noticed a friend and colleague (Mr. Badura) was on Skype, so I shared Socrative with him.

I ate lunch (but didn’t tweet about it). 😉

Then I called each of the schools individually in my American Lit course with my iPad using the Polycom app.  I spent about 15 minutes with each school covering the guidelines of the assignments, answering questions about upcoming essays, and a few classes got a small tour of the house.

And now I am posting another blog.  To build on yesterday’s post, what technology did in the last 24 hours for me was to make small meaningful connections.  To share, to laugh, to help, and to make real personal connections with a wide range of people.  Now, I will take face-to-face conversations any day, but honestly, what happen in the last 24 hours could not have happen without technology.

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