Greasemonkey now has a script that adds a Twitter search to your Google search results in Firefox.
A reminder to all of you who attended the CILIP Hampshire & Isle of Wight evening meeting on Web 2.0 and social networking that the PowerPoint can be downloaded from http://www.rba.co.uk/hiow/ . Anyone is free to download it if they wish but it probably won’t make much sense unless you were there and heard my commentary! It is also available on SlideShare at http://www.slideshare.net/KarenBlakeman/cilip-hants-isle-of-wight-social-networking
You might also like to view the twitterstream that evolved over the evening by going to http://search.twitter.com/ and searching on the hashtag #hiow . You will note the participants had their priorities right by tweeting on the quality of the biscuits and tea/coffee 🙂
A big thank you to all of you around the world who tweeted to us at the seminar about where you were, what you were doing and how you use Twitter. It really showed how great Twitter can be.
If you are interested in monitoring how the snow is progressing across the UK Ben Marsh has compiled a Google-Twitter mashup to map tweets tagged with #uksnow. Twitter users have been using #uksnow for reports on the amount of snowfall and travel disruption that they encounter. If they also include the first part of their postcode and marks out of 10 for the amount of snowfall their tweet is automatically added to a Google map. The site updates every minute.
#uksnow tweets 9.55 am 2nd February 2009
Yes, I’m sorry, this is another Top !0 list from one of my workshops – a full day in-house session on Business Research. This time around Marketingfile.com made a return to the list at number 4 after a long absence, three of Alacra sites are at number 2 (nominated by participants as “All the Alacra sites”), and Twitter is at long last being considered as a serious business tool (Yay!!). It is worth noting that this group were interested in Second Life; some of their contacts and clients are involved with Second Life so it would have been useful to have a look at how it works . As usual, though, we could not connect to SL. It appeared that the ports used by SL were blocked by the by the organisation’s network.
Here is the full list:
1. Internet Archive or Wayback machine at http://www.archive.org/. For pages, sites and documents that have disappeared. Ideal for tracking down lost documents and seeing how organisations presented themselves on the Web in the past.
2. “All the Alacra sites”. Not strictly accurate in that it was just three of their business web sites that attracted attention:
Alacrawiki at http://www.alacrawiki.com/. The Alacra Spotlights section is a good starting point for evaluated sites and information on industry sectors. Note that although it is a wiki only Alacra can edit these pages.
Alacrasearch at http://www.alacra.com/alacrasearch/. A Google custom search engine that focuses on business sites selected by Alacra.
AlacraStore at http://www.alacrastore.com/. “Search over 70 million reports on more than 550,000 public companies and private companies from over 55 premium business information publishers.” Search for free and pay as you go on your credit/debit card. A full lost of their content providers is at http://www.alacrastore.com/search-by/publisher.
3. Advanced Search. The advanced search screens of the likes of Google and Yahoo have many options for increasing the precision of your your search: file format (e.g. xls for data and statistics, ppt for expert presentations, pdf for industry or government reports); site and domain search to limit your search to just one web site or a type of organisation (e.g. UK government, US academic); and in Google there is a numeric range search.
4. Marketingfile.com at http://www.marketingfile.com/. A collection of lists with a bias towards UK and Ireland but there are some International, European and North American lists. The lists are divided into Business and Consumer and further categorised into sectors or type, for example Drinks Trade, Aviation & Defence, Smaller Companies. Each list can be searched by a number of criteria depending on its structure and coverage. Searching is free and data is charged for on a pay per record basis.
5. Freepint at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ Head for the discussion area, labelled as the Bar, where you can post your query and tap into the knowledge of regular ‘tipplers’
6. Trade Association Forum – http://www.taforum.org/ . A useful, searchable directory of UK trade associations.
7. Sector Skills Councils. This was not one that I mentioned in the workshop but is a resource that the organisation that I was visiting often uses. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sector_Skills_Councils) , and please don’t complain that I am citing it:
“Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are state-sponsored, employer-led organisations that cover specific economic sectors in the United Kingdom. They have four key goals:
- to reduce skills gaps and shortages
- to improve productivity
- to boost the skills of their sector workforces
- to improve learning supply”
Further information on the Councils can be found at Alliance of Sector Skills Councils,
The workshop participants commented that “some of the councils are better than others”.
8. Google, Yahoo, Live, Exalead, Ask. Let’s admit it – much of the time we head for Google as our first port of call, but it is worth running your search in the other contenders. Results are sorted in a different order and they do have different coverage and search features.
9. Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/. “Looks interesting”. “Need to try it out as a source of information”. “Could be useful as a promotion/communications tool”.
10. RBA Business Sources. http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/. Selected sources of business information organised by type e.g. statistics, share prices, company registers. Yes, my own site, the basis of the workshop notes, and as one person commented “It is the quickest way to get to all the sites you told us about”!
The 14th annual INFORUM conference starts today in Prague at 10.30 Prague time. INFORUM covers professional electronic information resources for research, development, education and business purposes. If you are not able to attend the event in person live video broadcasting of the sessions being run in the New Auditorium will be available at www.ikaros.cz. The programme of the event is at http://www.inforum.cz/en/programme/.
I shall be twittering some of the sessions (Twitter name karenblakeman) and I am sure there will be others. Unfortunately, because Twitter is “stressing out a bit” at the moment you can only view one page of tweets. The ‘Older’ option has been temporarily suspended, which is very annoying if you are trying to follow conference tweets. My own tweets are recorded daily by LoudTwitter at http://karenblakeman.livejoural.com/.
Dig around and you can find several mainstream information providers who are twittering, although they are usually just sending their RSS feeds to Twitter via Twitterfeed rather than being actively involved in the community. Run a Twitter search on the BBC, Timesonline and the FT.
As mentioned earlier in my blog I was at INSOURCE 2008, 5th-6th February and twittering it. I would not normally Twitter a conference; my usual approach is to record nuggets of information and interesting sites in a Word document on my laptop. On this occasion, though, two colleagues who were not able to attend asked if I would Twitter it so that they could ‘follow’ me and get a flavour of the event. Right from the start I made it clear to them that I was not going to tap in every piece of information from the slide presentations. Most of the presentations are now available on the INSOURCE web site as PowerPoints and some as Word documents. Instead I concentrated on noting down snippets and web sites that I especially wanted to remember and significant comments from the speakers that were not on the slides.
For such an experiment to work one must have a laptop with a reasonably long battery ‘life’ – or easy access to a power socked for recharging during the breaks – and a reliable wi-fi connection. Those criteria were met at this conference (and the wi-fi was free!) but there was one unforeseen problem. The languages of the conference were Czech and English, which meant that I had to use head phones to listen to the simultaneous translations for the Czech papers. Unfortunately the reception on the head sets was frequently disrupted by static apparently caused by nearby laptops, wi-fi connections, mobile phones etc. Luckily, Marydee Ojala was attending the conference and was not as badly affected by the static as me, so she was often able to twitter on when I could not.
Aside from the technical disruption, how did we fare? Both Marydee and I are relatively new to twittering so much of the time early on was spent discovering how the whole thing works. For us the main issues were:
1. The 140 character limit on tweets (entries, postings, updates – whatever). At first this seemed to be a serious limitation but it does concentrate the mind wonderfully and you learn to note just the essentials. In comparison, my previous Word records of conferences appear verbose and full of waffle.
2. The ‘timelines’ or pages are public so one must be careful not to make libellous comments or offend people. It is possible to ‘lock’ your updates/tweets so that only selected followers can see them. If you prefer, you can send private messages to one another – a bit like passing notes in class (now that dates me!).
3. Not all of Marydee’s tweets appeared in my timeline and vice versa. This really did become very annoying as we had to periodically look at each other’s page to check what the other person had said. I have since discovered that this is a known bug and that Twitter is working on it. See The Case of the Missing Updates and Weekend Update on the Twitter Blog.
4. Both Marydee and I are concerned as to how long the tweets remain on the site. You can view the most recent 200 tweets on a page or in your own timeline but there is no mention of any expiration date. 200 may seem a lot but if there are several of you following each other at a conference, you quickly exceed that limit and have to resort to looking at individual pages for the older tweets. For me, that defeats the object of following conferences on Twitter. It is far more interesting and useful to see tweets on the same presentation from different people intermingled. The 200 limit also means that if you want to keep them as a permanent record for even just a few weeks you have to copy the tweets to a locally held document. There is no export facility.
Marydee and I twittered the INSOURCE conference together by ‘following’ each other. Apart from the technical glitches this worked reasonably well. However, if more people were involved it would be far too cumbersome to identify all the twitterers at a conference and follow them. But Twitter have thought of that – see Using Twitter for Your Event. That will be our next Twitter experiment 🙂
Twittering (or is it tweeting) the INSOURCE conference in Prague generally went well. It helped me concentrate on the presentations more, and I really got into the swing of it once I had become accustomed to the 140 character limitation on each tweet. The only problem I had was with some of the Czech presentations. The headphones for the English translations were subject to static from nearby laptops and the wi-fi connections. At one point my headphones gave up altogether. Marydee Ojala, who is also here and twittering, took over from me and then joined in full time. So there are two threads of the conference on twitter.com: my own (karenblakeman) and Marydee’s (marydeeo).
Twittering is about to re-start at 8.30 Czech time, 7.30 UK time.