I love the way you can use free Internet tools to create your own network of meaning from scraps, clips and brief connections with other minds. Academic fashion requires anything of "value" to have an acronym these days. So you can call this a "PLN" or personal learning network, if you want. But really it's just finding stuff again when you want it.
Like this wonderful video from Eli Pariser on personalised search. I don't think most people realise that Google alters the search results they see based on their previous search history. Or that facebook is hiding a lot of what their friends have to say from them.
This is a thrilling rap by Akala telling truth about why education's important that I picked up from a friend's newsfeed. I could have missed it due to facebook's constant, bossy interference.
And how about this fantastic development from a Stanford summer school that provides an iPad keypad for blind users where the keys follow the fingers not the other way around (think about it…)?
So you can understand why a great sadness for me in this past year has been the way in which AVOS wrecked the social bookmarking tool Delicious, previously a brilliant niknak for quickly "filing" all sorts of things and seeing what other people were collecting too. Feel free to browse the 2000-odd links I saved in 2011, which I also have backed up on Pinboard. But I think I am going to have to start using Evernote properly in 2012 to replace Delicious as AVOS seems to be insensitive to the wails of Delicious users. Which just goes to show that free is not forever, and crowd sourcing doesn't necessarily make you money…
Another festive chore will be backing up my gmail and contacts… Here's a nice summary of how to do it. If you'd like to find out more about this stuff, I'll be running the Social Media Skills Intro and Intermediate evening courses again in January - 8 hours x 2 weeks 190 euros. Happy Christmas – and yes, I keep my gardening links online too!