Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Final Task - Summary

I learned that a free email account is a passport to a number of snazzy free Web 2.0 accounts. An email account is required for each of the services' registration areas for verification and communication purposes. Working in a public library, staff regularly teach classes on setting up and using email accounts.
In my opinion, all of the tasks were pretty straight forward. While not necessarily challenging, the most time consuming was setting up the email account since there were more fields of information that were requested to fill in on the registration page.
PVLD can create user communities or share timely information with some of these technologies and incorporate these into the PVLD website via widgets/badges/etc.
The "self-directed" learning model was extremely successful because many staff people finished the tasks whether at work or at home depending on the amount of time they required. The carrots and celebrations definitely contributed to the interest/excitement in the topic. Now that people have been exposed to this, they see how useful and user-friendly these technologies are and are not as hesitant to casually talk about them.

Task 10 - Explore MySpace.com


MySpace is a social networking site that gives people a free way to communicate with friends acquaintances and strangers. Used by many to keep in touch with friends and invite others to events, it is also used by people who are networking or promoting. The benefit of having a freely hosted profile, email/chat account, event/birthday reminder service, and blog is very nice. The fact that it is easy to configure and that there are many websites with profile editors and a large community willing to help newbies is also positive.
The downside of this is the pathological human element. People who do bad things can also freely join MySpace and other social networking sites with anonymity. These bad people can abuse information, spam people, and write inappropriate comments/emails. It's unfortunate that bad people also join MySpace. I guess that since this is in an online, "virtual" human-to-computer-to-server-to-computer-to-human domain, good people magically forget that people are at the other end and that the same rules that apply in everyday human-to-human life don't apply online. This is a mistake on the part of good people and they need to be reminded that regardless of the medium, whether face-to-face, on the phone, or online, safety is important above all. People who understand this need to communicate this to people who are unaware of this.
MySpace owes its popularity to it's ease of use and free accounts. The company is able to keep accounts free through ad revenues. Some people use ad blockers since they find the Adobe Flash-based advertisements annoying (the ones that make noises and follow your cursor).

Task 9 - Explore online office tools

Google Docs and Spreadsheets are a free and convenient way to create a number of documents where you can do anything from write papers, crunch numbers, or put together presentations. Given the digital work environment it is also possible to quickly and easily share this information with others. Additionally, the files can be edited online in a collaborative environment that is more "real-time" than emailing people a document and having them send drafts back and forth with their own edits. It's definitely a feature-rich set of tools and definitely where this sort of software needs to be.