A Twitter account move

Twitter is a social media/networking … thing … that I’ve had a long love-hate relationship with. Great for quips – and at its best during Eurovision – and amplifying very simple messages; awful for nuanced discussions, readability, privacy and safety. My first account was within a few weeks of the service going live, but I gave up on it shortly afterwards due to a lack of networking with other people. But, come November 2008 and at a conference in Chicago, I found myself surrounded by people tweeting and so picked it up again. Over the many years now I’ve had various accounts – geoshore, joe_librarian and wordshore were three of many – and not all of of them were completely serious.

But now I just have one – solstraler. This used to be the twitter account for the 2007-12 Virtual World Watch project, but it was overhauled while largely keeping the existing small follower/following base. Hence it was created some time ago, but the content in there is relatively recent (unless you are reading this post several years from now).

The name? This is Norwegian for (roughly) sunbeam or ray of sunlight. The idea is that it is positive, and it’s something I try and get a lot of in real life by doing the “going outside and wandering around” thing. And, most importantly, it’s to do with shining a little light on certain things that are work-related, but more of that another time when other content elsewhere has been created. In the meantime, the solstraler account is heavily focused on games, games in learning, EdTech (education technology), various cultural things, and the odd meme and joke. Much less focused on heavy stuff, or politics, or grim things as you can get those (waves at the TV, the Internet, the shops, people talking outside) anywhere else.

So, if you were following me on a different twitter account, then you may want to consider following me there. Or, not. At the end of the day, it’s just short text messages.

LinkedIn is surprisingly useful

LinkedIn is one of the (many) networks or social media websites where I created an account years ago and quickly lost interest. The interface seemed underdeveloped, and still does (though this is not isolated just to LinkedIn; I’m looking at you, Flickr). And at the time, there was not the critical mass of people in the educational games, games in education, and games research sectors signed up to it, so it felt like a “lonely researchers club”.

I’ve returned to it of late; largely because of needing to sort out my entire online work presence, but also because there was a sudden ticking over of “connection requests”. And I’ve found it – now – to be surprisingly useful from a work perspective. Rather than bumble around on university websites looking to find actual research and researchers – which is increasingly difficult as universities become relentlessly commercial and non-profit activities become buried under layers of other stuff (often non-academic stuff) – it’s been easier to home in on directly relevant research, and researchers, through this service.

In addition, the suggested connections algorithm of LinkedIn has been throwing up a lot of directly relevant researchers who I did not know existed. True, there’s also some misses in there, and some suspicions about where LinkedIn is pulling all of the primary data from (I suspect various places on my laptop it perhaps shouldn’t be nosing in). But the hit rate for interesting – from the perspective of work – people has been usefully high. It also doesn’t take long before getting a sense of the main centers of games in education research and academic activity, especially the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the University of Sk√∂vde in Sweden, the IT University of Copenhagen, and Tampere University in Finland. Putting the names of some of the suggested people straight into Google Scholar has thrown up quite a few articles and papers of completely direct use that I also was not aware of and hadn’t come up in previous literature searches.

So, despite the 2003-style interface and the fact that LinkedIn may be quietly harvesting my entire laptop and wider social network for data (really, why else does it suggest my solicitor for connecting to?), I’m finding this particular service useful. If you do similar research or work and want to hit me up, I’m at: