Useful links: Twitter for .edu, public learning

Is Your School Missing Opportunities to Leverage Twitter? Examples and links to a white paper that describes what top schools are doing.

What is the scaffolding for learning in public? contains a ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ for public learning and wealth of resource links.

Pew Report: Search Still Drives News Traffic But Sharing is Important. Are you using Twitter links and Facebook Likes to direct your attention more than ever these days?

Useful Links: Rent your software, new RFP rules, Photoshop SDK, higher education

You Can Rent Photoshop and other Adobe Software gives you some useful and potentially helpful information.

The New RFP says RFP and procurement process for software should start with finding software that doesn’t suck.

Speaking of Adobe, because of an open SDK, developers are now creating Photoshop apps for tablet devices. Adobe Turns the Tablet Into a Photoshop Companion.

Here’s one for the educators. Peter Thiel: We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet, It’s Higher Education.  I’m looking forward to the discussion on this one – check out the comments at TechCrunch.

Useful links: Interactions, Mary Sue, Steampunk, Biz Stone

Visualizing First-Time Interactions at SXSW from Pleasure and Pain is another of those charts of hubs, connections, and connectors that is so fascinating. This time it uses contacts made via Hashable.

The Mary Sue is a new blog devoted to female geek culture. I’ve been watching them a couple of weeks and have seen several very worthy posts there, such as this one: The Unseen Effects of Affirmative Action at MIT.

Does the word steampunk make you happy? Well, GeekMom is celebrating a whole week of Steampunk posts, beginning with this one.

Twitter just turned 5. (See my post about Twitter turning 5 on BlogHer.) The NPR program Fresh Air interviewed Biz Stone about Twitter in preparation for the anniversary. It’s a great interview and must listening. Twitter’s Biz Stone on Starting a Revolution.

AOL taking its lead from Demand Media

Business Insider hit the news with LEAKED: AOL’s Master Plan. The master plan sounds eerily like what’s going on at Demand Media. They leaked the entire master plan. Details of the plan leaked by Business Insider include:

AOL is using this document to train editors right now. It is an illuminating look into how AOL, a company with hundreds of millions in dollars in annual funding, is trying to turn itself into a 21st century media giant on the fly.

Some tidbits:

As a result of AOL’s new policy, Paul Miller decided to leave Engadget after five years as an editor there. He explained his last day at Engadget in Leaving AOL. I wrote about my almost-relationship with Demand Media in Changes at Google will Reduce Spammy Search Engine Results. AOL seems to be following in Demand Media’s footsteps in their attempts to rake in financial gain with volumes and volumes of content. Notice I didn’t say quality content.

Content Farms vs. Content Strategy

Compare that with the goings on at A List Apart, that bastion of web quality, where they are preparing to publish their third book: The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane. I suspect that Erin’s approach to what good content is and what a content strategy that will sustain a business should look like doesn’t sound exactly like AOL’s master plan. In fact, I contacted Erin and asked her what she thought about this move by AOL. Here’s her response.

AOL’s current editorial strategy seems related to their old marketing tactics from the early 90s, when they indiscriminately flooded the mail with all those install CDs. They’re competing with content factories like Demand Media and, to some extent, the Huffington Post, and they’re trying to win by cranking out reams of SEO-ed up content with no real substance.

Contrast that with the notion of giving readers and viewers content that they genuinely want and need that drives publications ranging from web pubs like A List Apart or The Awl to international print brands like The Economist. Those publications are successful because they’re producing things people can use, rather than useless fluff that will only make it harder to find content of substance.

Where this touches content strategy as it’s practiced in a UX context is the decision to publish a limited amount of useful, well written content vs. a huge volume of search-engine bait or content designed to “feed the beast” of blogging and social media. Unless you really want to join the content mills as they race toward complete crap, it’s pretty clear that focusing on user needs and editorial quality produces much better results.

Crap Overload

Part of the overload we are faced with today is an abundance of cheap crap. But the problem is, people willingly consume cheap crap. That’s why there are so many more reality shows than quality scripted dramas like Mad Men or The Good Wife. It’s cheap to produce, and people are willing to consume it. The problem isn’t just that there are content farms churning out cheap crap. There’s also the willingness of the search engines to reward sites that produce it and willingness from readers to consume that sort of content. Like reality shows, content farms make money. As long as the cheap crap brings in a profitable bottom line, we’ll see more and more of it produced.

The New York Times talked about teens leaving long form writing behind and moving to Twitter. The reason? It’s too much work to write something long. Extrapolate that into it’s too much work to read something long, or something deep, or something meaningful.

Is that it? Is it just too much effort to do quality work, or to invest quality thinking into what you’re consuming? If that’s it, I think we’re doomed.

Are you old enough to remember the days when we scoffed at anything “Made in China” as being worthless junk? Well, China has since surpassed us in many ways, including education. Is “Content Produced in the USA” going to be a joke before long?

Useful links: LinkedInMaps, using HTML5, CSS3 logo, LinkedIn button, Foursquare badges, Blekko

Hubs and Connectors: Understanding Networks Through Data Visualization talks about LinkedInMaps. Very interesting stuff.

Get familiar with HTML5 at Opera Dev is another great post from Chris Mills that explains what HTML5 offers and why teachers should be using it now.

CSS3 gets a new logo is a new look at the HTML5 logo event. This whole versioning number/logo thing is getting pretty funny.

The LinkedIn Official Share Button – Why Should A College Care? explains why you should care.

Foursquare’s University Badges Now Available at All Colleges & Universities now available for every college and university around the world.

Blekko Bans Content Farms Like Demand Media’s eHow From Its Search Results The new search engine that promises no spammy search results takes a big step. Google is taking steps in a similar direction. Watch for an article from me about this tomorrow. (Or today, on BlogHer)

Useful Links: distance education, W3Fools, Golden Globes

Distance Education Access Guidelines. “The California Community College System is committed to providing equal access to education for students with disabilities. The following guidelines represent the latest opinions and advice for delivering accessible distance educational services.”

Must reading for any web educator: w3Fools – A w3Schools Intervention. Here are the reputable resources recommended instead of W3Schools:

I’m sorry that the WaSP InterACT Curriculum wasn’t included in the list of reputable resources. I think it belongs there.

scene from the social network The Social Network took home awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score and Best Screenplay from the Golden Globes Awards last night.

Maybe I’m a traitor to technology and the intersection of technology and society, but I was hoping one of the films about women – The Kids are All Right or Black Swan – would win Best Picture. Since the Golden Globes are a fair predictor of the Oscars, a movie about social media may become the Oscar winning movie of the year.

Were you/are you rooting for The Social Network? Should it take home the Oscar for Best Picture, too?

Useful links: Classes?, Virtual Classrooms, Twitter, CSS Reset

Why Use Classes or IDs on the HTML Element is an excellent post by Chris Coyler.

The Case for the Virtual Classroom is must reading for educators.

Twitter Birds are Liars is an interesting discussion about Twitter by Antonio Lupetti.

Eric Meyer spent the holidays rethinking his CSS Reset. If you use it regularly, go see what he’s done. Reset Revisited.