Two Libraries, Two Attitudes

Greenville County Library

First, let me make something very clear. Both Greenville and Spartanburg Counties have outstanding library systems. The services both of these systems provide are vital to the education and health of our communities, and we would be much poorer without them. That being said, I have noticed some distinct differences in how each system addresses information in the digital age, and specifically social media applications.

Spartanburg County Library is embracing social media. From their main website one finds links to their YouTube channel, their Twitter stream, their Flickr account, and their Facebook group page. All of these accounts are very active, and appear to be updated regularly. I was most impressed with their YouTube channel, which features a video podcast twice a week. The one for this week is embedded below: Continue reading “Two Libraries, Two Attitudes”

Kids and Social Media


This past week I was asked to advise on guidelines for teacher-student interactions in social media settings such as Facebook.  Essentially, we’re recommending caution.  The new guidelines will be posted in faculty handbooks, and read as follows:

Faculty/Staff members should maintain professionalism in their relationship with students at all times. Activities/behaviors in which faculty/staff members should not participate with students include, but are limited to the following:

1) Posting student pictures on web-based social network sites (Facebook, MySpace etc)

2) Exchange cell phone numbers with students

3) Participate in inappropriate text messaging with students

4) Participate in inappropriate e-mail correspondence with students

The key word here is “inappropriate.”  Unfortunately, no definition is given as to what might be considered inappropriate.  There are the obvious reasons – the unfortunate ones that make headlines.  However, is ANY contact via e-mail or text messaging between teachers and students appropriate?  Our paranoid society would cast suspicion on any of these activities. Continue reading “Kids and Social Media”

Expanding My Media Empire

For some time now I’ve been searching for a way to host media files without clogging up my storage space here on RandomConnections.  Specifically, I’ve wanted a place for audio and for Google Earth files.   Being something of a cheapskate, I really didn’t want to pay for more storage on the site, so I was looking for free alternatives.  I think I’ve finally pieced together a solution, and I’m ready to go live with it.  It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works for me.  More importantly, it doesn’t cost anything.

I had tried both Houndbite and Boomp3 for free audio file hosting.  For the most part I liked Houndbite, but it was completely unreliable.  For the past three weeks it was offline, and just recently came back.  I couldn’t use it in my Google Earth demonstrations as I might have liked.  Since I was having so many troubles with Houndbite, I tried Boomp3.  That is now completely defunct. Continue reading “Expanding My Media Empire”

Twitter Hits the Mainstream

Twitter certainly has been getting A LOT of press this past week. On Monday, the Daily Show did a segment on it, John Cleese released something on his video blog about it, Daniel Schorr and Scott Simon discussed it on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and there have been at least three articles about it in the editorial pages of the Greenville News. I think the catalyst was when various politicians were spotted Tweeting during President Obama’s recent Congressional address. If Congresscritters could do it, then it must be (A) easy and (B) the thing to do.

As you might imagine, these stories have run the gamut from those who think it’s the absolutely best thing, and everyone MUST start Twittering (Tweeting?) to those that think it’s a complete waste of time. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. Continue reading “Twitter Hits the Mainstream”

The Incomparable Weirdness of Twitter


As if there were any doubt, my true nerd nature is about to come through.  Some of my admissions in this post will be embarrassing, but it gets my point across about Twitter.

I freely admit that I am a Trekkie.  I can usually name most of The Original Series episode titles having seen just a few seconds of one.  I am not, however, a “Trekker”.  I don’t have a Star Fleet uniform in my closet (although I did have a model phaser when I was a teenager), nor to I dress up like a Klingon and attend conventions.

So what does this have to do with Twitter?  I’ll get to that in a moment.  I signed up for Twitter as a matter of convenience.  It was a simple way of updating my blog and Facebook from one location.  I didn’t really have any intention of “following” anyone on Twitter, but soon I got tired of looking at my own updates.  I added a few friends and locals that I knew from other social networking sites. Continue reading “The Incomparable Weirdness of Twitter”

A Geeky New President

There were ample opportunities for someone like me to really get their Geek on while watching the inauguration.  First there was the Hive Mind experience of sharing the inauguration in real time with friends (and strangers) separated by thousands of miles on Twitter and Facebook.  Then there was the ability to get multiple perspectives from … Continue reading A Geeky New President

Reflections on Twitter and The Death of Conversation

A synopsis/compilation of recent conversations…

Me: Yesterday several of my friends and I went for a hike in the…

Sibling/Friend: …yeah, I read that in your blog.

Me: For our anniversary we went to Disney and…

Sibling/Friend: …I saw your posts and pictures online.

Me: Um, is there anything new I can tell you?

Sibling/Friend: [silence]

I began to wonder if blogging and social media had, in fact, killed conversation, rather than enhancing it. Continue reading “Reflections on Twitter and The Death of Conversation”