Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Evolving my web persona and tools

Over the past few months, you may have noticed some changes in this Coevolving Innovations blog, or the Distractions, Reflections blog. It’s been two years since I wrote “the why and how of establish your web persona“, and “installing and customizing WordPress on your own domain“.  Those reflected the state-of-the-art in 2007, which is a long time in technology.  To explain these changes, I’ll relate my thinking in three parts:

  • 1. What do I want with my web persona?
  • 2. How has the technology changed (in ways that I didn’t foresee)?
  • 3. What have I done with my web activity?

These topics are described from the viewpoint of an “advanced blogger”.  New technologies emerge continuously, and I try many of them out.  I use some tools that novices find cumbersome, but that’s the way that I continue to learn.

1. What do I want with my web persona?

My first blog entries date back to October 2005, and they’re still available on the web.  In December 2006, I split my professional persona (mostly serious writing) from my photoblogging (easier on the eyes and brain), particularly for readers who subscribe via e-mail rather than using an RSS reader.  During this period, my perspective on my web persona has been constant in three ways:

(a) I want people to find appropriate information about me

In the test of “googling myself”, I’m pretty satisfied that people can find me.  Actually, a searcher will find me in multiple places, and should be able to navigate to his or her specific interest.

(b) I want to post durable content that reflects my personality and style

A major complaint of people who don’t read blogs is that it seems that people blog about their cats, or what they had for lunch.  I try to minimize that.

I do use Twitter and Friendfeed for short commentary, Google Reader Shared Items for popular news, and Diigo and Delicious for social bookmarking.  Since I travel a lot, I use Brightkite to give people some sense of which city I’m in, and Dopplr for which cities where I have travel planned.

On my professional blog, I post content that isn’t appropriate for publishing in journals or ideas that I’m working out.  On my photoblog, I take care to crop and edit each photograph, rather than just uploading snapshots.

(c) I want clear ownership of (and access to) my content

I have a wordpress.com blog where I list the MP3 audio recordings — mostly lectures and interviews — that I believe are worth noting. However, for content where I want to retain copyright, I post to my own domains.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to share content — in fact, there’s a Creative Commons license at the bottom of web pages on my domain.  However, I’m just not comfortable storing lots of content on a hosted service where I might have issues accessing it some day.

Most people don’t pay attention to the terms they sign (e.g. on Facebook).  With photographs, Flickr is good with explicit Creative Commons licenses, but I’ve had some subjects who don’t want their faces on the web, so I respect that, and have a complete private archive hidden away.  The buck stops with me.

2. How has the technology changed (in ways that I didn’t foresee)?

Before I write about what I didn’t foresee, I’ll take credit for one trend that I got right: choosing open source software platforms.  WordPress (for blogging) and Drupal (for my publications content) have turned out to be architecturally stable, and rich with plugins.  My time isn’t spent writing code, it’s spent selecting existing plugins compatible with the way I use the technologies.

(a) The frequency of content approaching near-real-time

Twitter only dates back to 2006, and hit the mainstream media in early 2009.  I never would have thought that I would resort to using instant messaging tools — my favoured tool is Pidgin, with a plugin for Twitter — to keep up with streams of social content.

(b) Mobile devices and browser frameworks have advanced rapidly

In October, I joined the mobile-connected world with a Blackberry Curve.  Beyond e-mail, my greatest use of the device is for Google, and Google Maps Mobile in particular.  It has made me sensitive to web sites that don’t perform well on mobile devices.

Also, since I prefer “fat clients”, I hadn’t really considered the advances that would be made in frameworks such as Ajax, so that people can effectively work on the web through a browser.

3. What have I done with my web activity?

I read web content as much as a write web content, so it’s hard to decouple one from the other.

(a) I participate in online communities with linkages back to my web sites

I tend to avoid online communities that aren’t as good connecting outwards as inwards.  As an example, I prefer Urbanspoon over other restaurant review sites, because it recognizes that content is sometimes located elsewhere.  I’ve been sufficiently bold to post links on Wikipedia back to my web sites, not because I need the traffic, but because I think that other people might appreciate the pointers.

(b) I’ve rethemed my web sites to accommodate mobile devices, and leverage new technologies

In a major effort, I started with the WordPress Vita theme, and heavily modified it to be somewhat similar to my prior theme.  My prior theme wasn’t widgetized, making the addition of sidebar plugins a significant effort.  In addition the strange behaviour with IE drove me to write an entirely separate style sheet.

I’ve installed the WordPress Mobile Edition plugin to take care of small screen devices.  Most recently, I’ve been able to leverage the WordPress Shadowbox-JS plugin to create spectacular slide shows.  (This is really an advanced function, so the hint is most useful to readers who would otherwise “View … Page Source …”) to figure things out.

I’m going to close with a fourth point, which is paths not chosen for my web persona.

4. What don’t I want for my web persona?

Any decision has consequences, so I’ll be explicit about them.

(a) I don’t want my blogging to become a chore

I already have a day job, so more time on the computer is almost like more work.  However, my blogging is mostly related to (a) academic research, and (b) photography, which are activities on my own initiative, rather than driven by someone else.

The net result is that I’m not blogging every day, or even every week, as some of my colleagues do.  My photoblog on travel is 9 months behind.  Still, I’m satisfied that I can keep up with distant friends and people I’ve met along the way in virtual way … and the microblogging and social bookmarking syndicated onto my personal web sites let people know that I’m still active.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: Instead of using a t July 4, 2020
      Instead of using a text editor or Notepad on my computer for everyday work, I now use #Zettlr as a persistent scratchpad, a new page each day. The feature of creating #Markdown often helps in copy-and-paste to other applications. I haven't exercised #Zotero citations, yet, but probably will, shortly. > Roam let’s you manage knowledge, […]
    • daviding: The #GlobeAndMail ed June 29, 2020
      The #GlobeAndMail editorial declares that the brain drain of 15,000 Canadians to the United States between years 2000-2010 could be reversed, with corporations near-shoring northwards. > Canada already exerts a powerful pull on people from the rest of the world. A global Gallup survey, conducted from 2015 through 2017, shows Canada is one of the most […]
    • daviding: Consumer grade audio June 20, 2020
      Consumer grade audio and video recording devices are practically near professional broadcast quality. Post-production workflows have adjusted to becoming asynchronous for the daily late night television shows. https://www.theverge.com/21288117/late-night-seth-meyers-tech-gadgets-show-home-ipad-microphone
    • daviding: Authentically apprec June 10, 2020
      Authentically appreciating "causal texture" from the Emery and Trist (1965) article leads us through the meanings of contextualism and contextural, texture, causal, and transactional environment c.f. contextual environment. http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/causal-texture-contextural-contextualism/ #systemsthinking
    • daviding: Racial bias in AI mo June 9, 2020
      Racial bias in AI models now sees IBM ethically prioritizing social responsibility ahead of technological capability. We can, but should we? Are responses on Twitter indicative of Silicon Valley morality? https://twitter.com/TechCrunch/status/1270159828980248584
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
      Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
    • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
      Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
    • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
      Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
    • 2020/03 Moments March 2020
      The month started with a hectic coincidence of events as both a teacher and student at two universities, abruptly shifting to low gear with government directives for social distancing.
    • 2020/02 Moments February 2020
      Winter has discouraged enjoying the outside, so more occasions for friend and family inside.
    • 2020/01 Moments January 2020
      Back to school, teaching and learning at 2 universities.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal