It’s true, I was really chuffed there was a lecture.

It’s not because of nostalgia – I was never that keen on lectures when I was an undergraduate. It’s not about how I learn best – I pick up ideas best through reading and synthesising ideas, and I think I’m generally all right at self-directing my learning.

Instead, there’s something in the combination of passivity and activity in listening to a lecture for a change. Especially because the lecture slides were illustrative rather than instructive. It was just a change of pace, and therein one of the benefits of multimodality.

The Story Behind That ‘Future That Liberals Want’ Photo

Samuel Themer never planned to be a symbol of everything that’s right or wrong with America. He just wanted to go to work. But when he hopped on the subway to head into Manhattan on February 19, the Queens resident was in full drag—he performs as Gilda Wabbit.

from Pocket


A few days ago, the Twitter feed of a right-wing political magazine tweeted the photo above with the caption ‘This is the future that liberals want’. And it spectacularly backfired. My Twitter feed  – admittedly one which roughly reflects my political views and is therefore a bit of an echo chamber – was full of people commenting ‘well, yes, actually’; there were also plenty of memes using the same text but with different images – some serious, some ironic, some hilarious: my favourite so far is about gay space communism.

The article I posted is the story behind the image, and it’s quite lovely. Definitely worth reading. But it’s made me wonder about the way in which community cultures develop around the notion of endorsement. The tweeted memes had so many RTs and favourites. I’m thinking about the ways in which we instrumentally use Twitter to express community, identity or belonging without actually creating content ourselves. To say ‘yeah, me too!’ without actually saying it. It’s almost equivalent to the MOOC participants who would be classified as lurkers: they might agree with a comment, but express it only in the ‘up votes’ (or whatever mechanism is used)….


This was a bit fortuitous (and came about because I jokingly suggested to my manager in the first week of EDC that I was now an “automation genius”), but I thought I’d share the gist of what I said. I was speaking to HASS graduate researchers, so I tried to provide them with a few ways that I thought IFTTT might be useful for research. If anyone reading has other suggestions I’d be really grateful to hear them!

  1. Publicising your work: e.g. getting IFTTT to tweet or FB blog posts you write, reaching a wider audience without necessarily needing to do extra work.
  2. Curating research: e.g. using IFTTT to save tweets on a topic, or things said about you during a conference presentation, and put them somewhere you can safely retrieve them at a later stage (or when someone talking about the REF asks you about impact)
  3. Organising your life: e.g. there are IFTTT recipes for getting reminders about starred emails you haven’t dealt with, or saving contacts’ details somewhere sensible.
  4. Backing up your back-ups e.g. I talk about backing up work a lot; but it dawns on me that if you regularly back up to say, Dropbox, you could get IFTTT to back up your back ups to Google and Evernote and lots of other places.

How I feel openly posting ‘academic’ work on Twitter

Just Pinned to Education and Digital Cultures: Pinterest: Chedsnehblogs ♡
That’s scary jumping, rather than anything else, just in case it isn’t clear. It was an ‘eeek moment’, a sort of worlds collide thing, because I use Twitter sometimes professionally but largely not these days… in any case, nothing bad happened!