Saturday, 15 January 2011

Two things I've only just realised I don't do any more

It has just occurred to me that there are two things I used to do a lot but which I haven't done at all this year! In fact, it may have been for a lot longer and I probably don't think I'll be doing either very much at all in the future. How quickly things change.

No, nothing to do with New Year's resolutions. I didn't even try. No, these are both ways of doing something that had become quite sort of normal - in one case it had been pretty essential for years and years, the other a comparatively recent thing to do most days. I surprised myself when it dawned on me but that probably says more about my observation or awareness skills than anything else.

I'm talking about photocopying and Facebook publishing. Sorry if you thought I was about to reveal some deeply entrenched habit or fascinating personal facts but this is a vaguely e-learning and education-related blog. I used to photocopy every morning. Sometimes there was quite a social scene in the Library where the best photocopier was sited as we all queued and hoped we'd be able to carry our piles of handouts or copied draft strategies or whatever back to the classroom or office in time for whatever it was we proposed to do with them. On cold days, that paper was wonderfully warm too.

Whilst I definitely did notice that my photocopying had dramatically diminished some years ago, mainly due to publishing all my materials and notes on my web site or the VLE, I hadn't realised that it had completely stopped. I hadn't even sneaked in a copy of my driving licence or some bill I was sending off which I'm sure everyone does from time to time.

I did need a copy of a few bits and pieces that weren't available on-line recently but I just photographed them and used the picture. I suppose that took a bit longer but the funny thing is that I never thought twice about it. I needed to send someone something and just whipped the camera out and did so. It was in colour, too, not shades of grey.

The Facebook thing is possibly the biggest surprise, though. I quite like Facebook and regularly browse through what various people are doing but it was only when I looked at my own profile page that I saw that my entries were all from one or other of a range of applications that feed Facebook rather than my actually typing in the boxes there. Apart from an occasional profile picture change, comments on someone's comments or picture and maybe a few photos of my own that is it. Quite different to even as recently as last year when I was often updating my status or something.

The big change is largely due to finding a nice feed application in RSSGraffiti which picks up what I publish in various places and throws it into Facebook and using Rockmelt, a great new browser based on the super-fast Chrome. Rockmelt provides a dead simple panel to display what's going on in Facebook without actually having to visit the full page. That's basically all I want. Rockmelt also provides similar panels for my e-mail and Twitter and it is Twitter that nowadays gets most of my attention. If I want to share something I share it there and that goes to all sorts of interesting people as well as Facebook.

Facebook is largely now a 'friends' place for me and I can't recall when I last had any interaction there of any significant 'work' relevance. Twitter is still almost entirely 'work' in terms of who follows me and sees what I say but I am increasingly using it for other things I like to share, be they thoughts on potholes, design, X Factor views or what my son's doing at school that he shouldn't. The people I follow cover all those things and more and, increasingly, I'm getting a lot of local news that way as well as great links to new web tools and the like.

I wonder I'll give up for 2012?

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