Twenty-three things: Activity 16&17: Delicious.

I’ve challenged some of my colleagues to take the 23 Things challenge to become more invested in online learning this summer. This website includes a 10-week game plan for learning some online learning and presenting methods that are useful for teachers, and that are appropriate activities for the age group we teach. There are other 23 Things lists out there, I know, but this is the one that we’ve chosen to work with, and that I’ve decided to complete.

The previous entries in this series are here:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Discovery
  3. Setting Up a Blog
  4. Starting with Flickr
  5. Find some Flickr Toys and Tools
  6. Blog about the role of tech in your classroom
  7. Initial experiment with RSS Readers
  8. RSS Readers continued
  9. Cloud Computing
  10. Web 2.0 Activty
  11. YouTube & Video
  12. Podcasts
  13. eBooks
  14. Wikis (a disaster story)
  15. Wiki Sandbox

Activity 16: Tags and Delicious

Delicious is a website that allows one to track, sort, manage, and keyword by tags and categories all of your bookmarks for the Internet, and share them with others via social networking.

It used to be called del.icio.us — it had a .US domain name rather than the more common .com, — and I decided I didn’t want to use it the last time I went through the 23Things list. For one thing, it’s cumbersome. I have to save my bookmarks to someone else’s website, and it becomes another website I have to check in on regularly — like Feedly or other sites ive learned to use as part of this project. I have to tag and categorize them and manage them, rather than having that work done for me. I can do that work just as easily in my web browser program, thanks to the interpenetration of Web 2.0 concepts and tools into desktop programs, and vice versa.

For another, it’s social. Increasingly, as a teacher, I’m asked to work within a walled garden —a paradise, curiously enough, from a Persian word — where kids will have access to the digital tools and materials I provide, And expect them to use, but not be subject to the demands or needs or imposition of other adult users who may not have the students’ best interests at heart. also, as I use the same computer increasingly for both school and private work, I’m reluctant to “cross the streams” in public. Facebook and other social media tools have made the hazards of crossing the streams both increasingly likely, and increasingly likely to result from a privacy setting accident.

Third, and this is a big one for me, is that the business of tagging and categorizing links is clearly part of someone’s business strategy to make a fortune. I don’t know whose fortune will be made, if anyone’s, from link-tagging and categorizing… but sombody’s always spinning, somewhere. For me to spend my time and energy categorizinging and organizing my links requires that I me to take time from projects I should be doing, like reading student papers or planning classes, or writing reports. It’s also time I could be spending on kayaking or mountain climbing or other such activities. And if I do it for Delicious, I’m clearly not using my time being creative in ways that may eventually feed me as an artist, financially.

Which annoys me.

But this is future shock. This list of 23 Things was created in 2003 or 2004. And it’s now out of date. A brief ask-around of folks I know indicates that relatively few use or ever used Delicious, and most of us have switched over to using programs like Evernote or Dropbox or simillar Cloud-based apps to track their bookmarks and keep them synced from one device to another.

But OK, that’s not the purpose of this activity.  I’m ranting, not following directions for the activity.  For this Activity, I’m supposed to a) set up a Delicious account [don’t have to, my old one is still there], and b) try out a few common search terms and see what I find that’s useful and relevant, and c) write a blog post about what I find.

So, on to Part B — try a few search terms.

  • search term: 3D-printing
    • Ooops, most recent link is 5 months old
    • Try 3d printing
      • most recent link is 2 years old
  • search term: common core curriculum
    • Most recently available link is 10 months old
    • next most recently available link is 2 years old.
  • search term: hermeticism
    • most recently added link 3 years ago.
  • search term: Latin
    • most recent link added 2 years ago.
    • Pearson’s website for Ecce Romani added 3 years ago.
  • Search term: Connecticut
    • most recently added link, 6 months ago.
  • search term: Boston bombing
    • most recently added link, a month ago.
    • next most recently added link, 4 months ago
  • search term: Egyptian revolution
    • most recently available link, 2 years ago.
  • search term: Michelle Rhee
    • most recent link: 4 months ago
    • Michelle Obama?
    • most recently available link: four months ago.
    • her husband? search term “obama” — first link presented to me as relevant, dated TWO YEARS AGO.

Ok… so this is all feeling way out of date and not very useful.  I mean, if people were keeping up with it, great… but if the site isn’t keeping up its own link system to handle important stuff about relatively recent events, there’s no way to make use of it today.  More importantly, I had a network of nearly 80 people there… and none of them has added a link in over five years.

That looks and feels like a dead social network.  Maybe people are still adding to it, but not about subjects I care about.  And no one I cared about online as relevant to my work, three years ago, has decided to stick with it.

What about Technorati?

Activity 17: Technorati.

Yeah… I don’t want to do this.  Just looking at the front page  of Technorati tells me that this is primarily a technology-oriented site, that probably comes up with a bunch of stuff that I might care about…  but really?  It looks like I have to wade through a bunch of crud that I don’t want.  And the people I know who are involved in Technorati usually post the interesting stuff they find to their Facebook accounts — where, eventually, I might see them, and read them if they’re of interest to me.

All the same, let’s try a few search terms before signing up for an account. The same ones as at Delicious.com

OK, all of this is goodish, I guess.  But I have other sources of news for most of this, and I have access to other materials that don’t require me to join this website.  I didn’t find anything that made me shout for joy and jump up and down in excitement here… no amazing new resource for teaching Latin, for example, or any wild new source of information about my state, or amazing new how-to’s for my school’s 3D printer.

So, I’m going with my initial gut reaction, and not joining Technorati at this time.

7 comments

  1. What devices do you sync bookmarks to? If you used more devices, would that change your choice? I’m a Delicious user, but am always curious about other ways to do things.

    This year I’ve become more nomadic. I routinely use four devices (phone, tablet, and personal and work laptops) and occasionally use a couple more. I use Delicious to keep them in one place without compelling me to use a particular browser or sync them. It’s kludgy but location-independent.

    I’ve accumulated about 5000 links. That makes Evernote or Dropbox unappealing. I want to be selective about what I sync, and Delicious’ search is good enough that I don’t have to curate the collection beyond the initial tags.

    I’ve never liked the social aspect of Delicious. It strikes me like your parents saying “Go play!” and shoving you toward the neighbor kid you have nothing in common with. I’m sure there are a few people I’d follow – but I bet I’d get more from their Tumblr blog than their bookmark stream.

    Does Instapaper fit in to the 23 Things list? I’m curious how you use it.

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