Why I prefer open to closed (and Twitter to Facebook)

I am not a huge fan of Facebook, and the future of Facebook makes me even more sceptic. Besides all the technological lock-in issues, I have a major problem with how Facebook makes people forget that they are communicating private things in a (semi)-public space.

This is also the reason I have turned off my Facebook wall. I consider Facebook a public communication channel, but I have experienced that many others use it for more private communication.

I much prefer to use fully open communication channels, e.g. my blog (with comments open again), Twitter, etc. Here everyone knows that the communication is public, and this also calls for much better digital communication.

When and where to post?

At any point in time I always have 20 or more blog post drafts stored in MarsEdit. Whenever I get an idea for something I want to blog about, I try to write it down. But then, for whatever reason, I decide not to post it right away. This may be because it was an underdeveloped idea, one that I feel I have to think more about before I actually post it. Or it may be that I get interrupted by something, and just forget about the whole thing before I go through my drafts folder again.

Once in a while I try to go through the drafts and delete or write them up properly. The problem is always how much time I should spend on writing and polishing the blog posts before publishing them. In general, I try not to spend too much time on blog posts, as I see them as small ideas that I want to share with the world quickly, or reminders to myself or others. More developed and complex ideas go into publications.

I see that people have very different strategies when it comes to this. Some spend a lot of time writing long posts, embedding pictures and videos, and proofreading properly. Others post short and quick notes about all sorts of things.

For really short things I have started to like Twitter quite a lot. It is the perfect medium for one-sentence long thoughts or links to interesting things. But for more paragraph-sized ideas I still like the blog format, and a somewhat quick and rough writing process. The rest of the time I have to spend on writing papers, since the Norwegian research system evaluates you on the number of  “research points” you have generated over the last year.

[This blog post is an example of something which I am not really sure is interesting to the world or not. But, since I already spent a few minutes writing it, I take the chance of publishing it anyway. ]

UiO goes social 2

A few weeks ago I mentioned that University of Oslo now openly supports RSS- and Twitter-feeds from the official employee web sites. Now I see that social linking has also been embedded in the new profile, as can be seen for example here.

These types of links have been around for some years, but many academic institutions seem to have been very reluctant when it comes to jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon. I don’t think adding a facebook/twitter button will change the world, but I highly support all initiatives that make universities more open.


UiO goes social and opens for blogging

University of Oslo is brushing up the web pages this year, and now the turn has come to my department. When I updated my official profile I found (to my big surprise) that it is possible to include RSS and Twitter feeds. Wow, not bad, not bad at all! I am very happy that the university sees the possibilities in promoting blogging and social fora among the staff.

Another good thing is that publications are now automatically extracted from Frida, the Norwegian publication database that we have to use. Up until now we have had to manually create publication lists everywhere, so this is also a time saver.