Diigo vs. Delicious: Social bookmarking cage match

The last post on mrmerlot.com explained the apparent demise of the Yahoo!-owned delicious.com social bookmarking service. As a popular alternative to delicious, Diigo.com experienced a mass influx of new users (the author included), requiring them to make system upgrades to meet the demand.

While this delayed the importing of users’ delicious bookmarks for nearly a week, Diigo’s upgraded service now means new converts can import their delicious bookmarks in under an hour.

While it doesn’t seem imperative that users jump the delicious ship, here’s what you need to know if you’re considering moving to Diigo.

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As one social bookmarking service fades away, another gladly takes up the reins!

Read a follow-up post outlining the advantages of Diigo over Delicious.

This past week, many tech media outlets reported that the social bookmarking service delicious.com was going away (see here for example). They based the story on a leaked internal Yahoo! presentation showing delicious in a “sunset” column (sunset is the IT project management term for retiring a technology). After a huge outcry from loyal delicious users, the delicious blog posted the following:

…we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive…

This seems like a paltry attempt to try and retain users in the hopes they can salvage some market worth for whomever is considering acquiring the service. On the other hand, since Yahoo! acquired the service, no real innovation has been made, so sticking with the site may be good for users.

Unfortunately, I don’t think many will stay around.

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Forming your child’s online reputation

I’ve posted pictures and stories of my kids on my family website, on Facebook, and republished to various other platforms for a long time. In fact, since before they were born.

And it seems I’m far from alone.

A study by the internet security firm AVG found that 92% of U.S. children aged two and under have a presence online. The cause, obviously, is a generation of parents familiar with the web enthusiastically leveraging it to share information with friends and family regardless of geographic and temporal boundaries.

What does this mean for our kids as they grow older? Will having a historical record of their childhood preserved online – without their consent – give them another reason to seek counseling?

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“Flip-thinking” movie production: engage the fans, build the funds

I’m watching and participating in a fascinating experiment unfold in the movie industry. The main character in this case is Donald Miller, author of a number of best-selling books on life and nontraditional Christian faith.

The first book I read by Miller was Blue Like Jazz. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. BLJ instantly hooked me on his take of the modern church and his journey of faith. In a series of essays, Miller discusses events from his life and how they impacted, or were impacted by, his faith and involvement with church. His journey is, at times, thoughtful, funny, sad, and inspiring. Occasionally, all at the same time.

But this story is about more than just a great book being transformed into a movie. It’s about witnessing what might be the next major shift in the film industry. A shift that includes putting fans back at the center of the process and flipping the way they interact with films.

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Social media blackout at Harrisburg U? Bad idea…

Some ideas are just plain bad.

According to Inside Higher Ed, the provost of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (in Harrisburg, PA) is pulling the plug on popular social media sites for one week at his college. This “experiment” – I use the term loosely as he has no control or defined parameters – is intended to find out…what, exactly?

For a school centered around technology and at which social media is wholeheartedly embraced and used, this seems like an odd activity to pursue. In addition, the provost chose to block the following sites: Facebook, AIM, Twitter, and Myspace. In addition, he has ordered the collaborative functionality of the internal learning management system to be disabled.

W.T.H.? (what the heck?)

I’m by no means alone in my confusion about this story. A writer at Crunchgear offers these observations on why this study is doomed to fail:

  • Smartphones. “ Provost surely recognizes that much of the social web is accessible via smartphone, and text messages have largely replaced instant messenger applications”
  • Filter failure. “…blocking all social access…isn’t really even possible except by eliminating internet access altogether.”

In addition, I’ve come up with just a few more reasons to abandon this useless study:

  • Ethics. How often do you hear of experiments where the “test subjects” do not give their consent?
  • Out of touch. Why choose those social networks? If recent surveys are any indication, kids don’t use Twitter, Facebook is rapidly becoming passé, and MySpace is basically moot. And AIM? Really?!
  • Productivity. By disabling the Moodle learning management system, the Provost is taking away effective work tools…and during the beginning of the semester when communication and organization is most needed!
  • Disrupting business. You can bet that at a technology-centric college, there are more than a few students who have thriving online businesses. Businesses that probably rely on social media engagement. This “experiment” could negatively impact real-world moneymaking.

What am I missing here? Is there some redemptive aspect of this idea? What other “studies” have you come across that seem to completely miss the mark?

Bait & switch: Microsoft’s free new (lame) cybersecurity ebook for teens

Microsoft, you disappoint me.

I was very excited to come across this post from Lifehacker today announcing a Microsoft’s free cybersecurity ebook. Hooked by the cover graphics (admit it, you are, too!) and reading that it was geared for teens, I quickly followed the link to see how I could begin to share this resource to all my friends and colleagues.

Too bad it was a massive bait-and-switch.

You see, while the cover shows a nicely drawn comic – seemingly promising the same inside the book – the book itself is pages….and pages…and pages….

…of TEXT.

Sure, there’s an occasional sketch thrown in, but I think Microsoft missed a huge opportunity to reach their target audience. Instead of using an engaging comic book (sorry, “graphic novel”) format, they defaulted to what so many critics of PowerPoint bemoan: a mind-numbing enormous tome consisting of text and bullets.

Admittedly, I’ve only skimmed the first chapter, but even that leads me to the conclusion that it’s written for someone with very limited web experience and enjoys reading endless pages of text combined with what seems to be a fairly condescending storyline.

If it isn’t obvious by now, I won’t be sharing this resource beyond this post.

If you happen to like the ebook, however, I’d like to know why in the comments!

The best systems are simple [TED video]

Simplicity is something we desperately yearn for in areas from data visualization to technology. Yet these very areas often stray into more complex waters, becoming less usable the further they go. George Whitesides, who has a background in chemistry and various other sciences, seems uniquely qualified to help us find a definition of “simplicity” in this TED talk.

If you don’t have 18 minutes to spare, then skip to the 7:30 mark and watch until about 15:30. Whitesides explains how an ideas as simple as a wall switch was used to create the transistor. Many transistors put together created the integrated circuit. Many integrated circuits helped create the computer chip which ultimately evolved into what we know as the Internet and cell phones. Which means a concept as simple as a wall switch was built upon to allow people in the most remote areas of the world to have access to people and information around the globe at their fingertips.


An introduction to the “21st Century Web”

A while back, I asked for help identifying what web sites would be ideal for someone who had missed key advances on the Internet for the past several years. As a social software trainer, I teach a class designed to encapsulate the “latest and greatest” on the web in order to lay the groundwork for students to understand the nature of our social enterprise tools. It’s my goal to help them “get” how these tools can empower them and increase their productivity both professionally and personally.

I recently published a Google Doc as a guide to the websites we cover in the class and includes ideas for experimenting with each one. Since the class is only three hours long – and focused on those tools that have counterparts in our social enterprise suite – some of the sites (like the ones under “Media sharing”) are only mentioned.

Please view the list of “21st Century Websites” and let me know what you think. Alternatively, you can download the full PDF or 2-page condensed PDF versions.

What critical sites are we missing?

What other activities would you suggest we add to the “Try this” column?

Please feel free to reuse or redistribute this resource as you see fit!