Blog as an avenue of instruction

My cat of 15 years companionship died last night. Or rather early this morning on the way to the emergency hospital.  If there had been fewer red lights…actually she had been in decline since a messed up vet decided to update all her vaccinations at once a little over a year ago.  Anyhow, after crying non-stop for the past 8 hours I started reading some sites on pet grief and they provided some good advice.  One was to think of all the good things in your life you can still enjoy that are not pet dependent.  One of these is travel, which (sadly) would in fact be easier now. I’m not done grieving, but planning ‘projects’ is endlessly distracting and engrossing for me and may help keep my eyes from completely swelling shut.

I like reading Matt Gross’ Frugal Traveler in the New York Times.  His perspective is quite like my own when researching, planning trips.  I brightened a bit this morning when I saw this older blog posting of his describing the steps he takes when researching trips AND the sites he compares.  I have to admit I have gotten lazy in the past couple years, letting TripAdvisor do most of the work for me.  I mean, find a hotel with good reviews and click! you get estimates from all the ‘major’ travel sites.  Note that word, ‘major’.   I, like Matt, previously revelled in mining out gems of lesser known choices.  However, after hearing an interview by Rick Steves of travel guru Arthur Frommer I my doubts about their authenticity grew.  Mr. Frommer suggested that the online reviews have been heavily salted with paid reviewer comments and thus were flawed.  It begs the question, just how do you establish credibility as a resource and maintain your reputation? Saving that for a rainy day, I suggest you read Matt’s article for it gave me a new list of resources to follow my travel fantasys.

Related to some Twitter research I am doing, I also considered Matt’s article a method in itself for instructing a larger internet user group.  Late adopters of the internet are now familiar with blogs.  Locating instructions and writing them in a step-by-step linear fashion as accessory to newer tools such as Twitter may help increase adoption and more complex use of the tool.  Lists of steps, ‘how-to-manuals, have been around for decades and are comfortable format for less web savvy user groups.  Something to consider.  If you write it ALL out, you do not assume a level the user might NOT be at, thus avoiding confusion.

…I don’t think planning a trip is going to help much with the grief process btw.

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Researching ‘them’

So who has written ‘books’ or guides for Twitter? Who are their intended audience(s)? How shall we differentiate? What media are they in? Cost to use?

Some examples:

The Twitter Book– O’Reilly & Milstein

TwiTip (a list of books)

CNet Newbie

Caroline Middlebrook

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Managing those Tweets

How shalt thou manage thy tweets? Consider tools, aggregators and others. Is it your outflow or inflow? How shall it be grouped? By location, related topic, work-vs.-play or a friend list’? Is it worth a re-tweet and to whom? A group (can we define in advance?) an individual or ‘the world’?

Aggregator

http://happn.in/about . I started a new twitter account adjacent to my ifarmurban blog.  Immediately I had one follower, happn.in, which collects tweets relative to some major cities (like Seattle apparently).  Now, I haven’t figured out if any of my tweets made it to their site, but it is an interesting method of gathering tweets around a locale.

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To Twit or Not to Twit?

Well, just how are ‘companies’ using Twitter? Nedra at Spare Change starts us off with a tantalizing list of possible usage categories. I noticed some variations when browsing a couple of government agencies I follow:

Providing Information/Early warning system: Washington State Department of Transportation:
@wsdot – main account
@wsdot_traffic -puget sound traffic reports
@wsdot_passes – mountain pass reports
@wsdot_media – media happenings
@wsdot_tacoma – Tacoma traffic

Blog/story link back=Providing Information at the Environmental Protection Agency:
http://blog.epa.gov/blog/
http://twitter.com/dipnote

Voyeurism into an ‘in group’ ongoing conversation. Is the goal to ‘personalize’ government? NASA:
http://twitter.com/NASA

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“This American Life” explains US financial crisis

(Original Posting 11/23/08) Wonder how the housing market folded?  Friends of Ira Glass explain how the financial crisis happened in his audio file, Giant Pool of Money at This American Life http://tinyurl.com/5fl6z7. I caught this audible podcast episode early last summer as I faithfully downloaded my subscription at iTunes. It was worth revisiting again last week. (WARNING: episodes will take 1 hour each of your time)

Now they’ve followed up with Another Frightening Show About the Economy to explain more about how our economic crisis went global. http://tinyurl.com/497nkq

Locally, we’ve been talking about the head-turning affect in our rank/reputation research group.  AFSATE above clearly describes the startling phenomena of (rapid) matching business strategies to keep market share. Did too many heads turn?  In attempting business survival of the fittest, was lemming-like behavior the unintended consequence?

UPDATE: JUNE 27, 2009….AND there’s MORE! They added some more I had missed.  Click to review.

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Brits explain how US market works

(Original Posting 11/06/08) Exchanging illuminating videos with friends has its benefits.  New find of Brasscheck TV and a slightly older vid explaining “How the Markets Really Work (from 2007)“.  Interview style, this is an even more simplified explanation than This American Life below.  (However, please note there are some racial inferences that would not be acceptable in the US.)

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SNL: USA Economy Explained

(Original Post 11/03/08) Exploring other multimedia storytelling explanations of our economic crisic led me to NBC’s Saturday Night Live, The Bailout.

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