Maps and checking in

Jumping back into ANZ 23 Mobile Things for awhile, this week ‘Thing 4’ covers maps and checking in. So this is things like using google maps on your phone, foursquare, Readar, Facebook checkin, etc.

Once upon a time Kate and I were actually going to present at the last VALA on location-based services, and it’s still an area that libraries and cultural institutions could be exploring in more detail. For some reason I love maps, and I love apps that interact with maps, and websites that interact with maps. Pretty much if there is a map and something fun to do with it, I want in.

For someone who loves maps so much I am terrible at navigating and reading maps. I hate Apple maps (does anyone like them?) but I love having Google Maps on my iPhone (but not the current version) because my phone is small enough to spin around and always be pointing in the right direction and have the additional text directions in case I just completely fail. Look, I’m just more of a picture memory type person OK? Once I’ve been somewhere once I will be fine, and I’m alright with NO map, but give me a map and I am thrown.

I have really cut down my app use recently, but I still am quite the fan of Foursquare. I held out on joining for a long time because I was worried about people knowing where I was all the time …until I realised that I was tweeting those details anyway. So I signed up and was addicted and became the mayor of lots of places and I hardly ever cheated. Maybe just once or twice when I was engaged in some prolonged mayorship battles. Then one day I just had enough and I deleted my account completely. In hindsight I wish that I hadn’t, but at the time I just wanted to step away from having such constant online interaction.

So I rejoined. Now I use it far less and I only added people who I know quite well (and a couple who are overseas anyway). In terms of posting my checkins to Twitter or Facebook I hardly ever do it. Twitter mostly if I am out somewhere fun and might want to have a discussion around it, Facebook would be really rare. I hardly ever use the Facebook location tool and I am pretty sure I currently have it disabled for other people to check me in. I don’t really see the point of cross-posting everything all the time (that goes for all apps).

In terms of libraries and cultural institutions, for next week I will be writing a blog about tools such as Historypin so that’s a slightly different topic, but in this context I like the idea of creating tours around the library using Foursquare – or taking users OUTSIDE the library and into the surrounding area, or exploring the history of the suburb, etc. Thing 11 looks at Augmented Reality and apps such as Layar, and again you can have a crossover here. I think people should be able to engage with libraries from anywhere, and it doesn’t have to be “their” library that they’re engaging with. If the library has information about the spaces outside of their physical building I think it’s great if they can engage beyond their walls.

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23 Mobile Things

On the heels of the successful 23 Things for Professional Development program that got librarians around the world actively learning and participating in internet and web 2.0 technologies, Jan Holmquist, Pernille Saul, Stine Grabas and Sigrid Kjøller at Guldborgsund-bibliotekerne developed a 23 mobile things program.

Now Jan Holmquist has collaborated with Mylee Joseph and Kathryn Barwick from the State Library of New South Wales to create an English Language version of the course. The ALIA NGAC (Australian Library and Information Association New Generation Advisory Committee) and New Professionals Network NZ have combined to offer an Australian and New Zealand contingent, that started with an introduction period last week.

While the ANZ group has a timetable for each ‘Thing’, this is all really self-paced learning and a chance for librarians or anyone else to actively engage with 23 mobile things in their own way, but sharing their learning and achievements through social media.

The 23 Mobile Things are:
1. Twitter
2. Taking a photo with a mobile device:  Instagram / Flickr app / Snapchat
3. eMail on the move
4. Maps and checking in
5. Photos + Maps + Apps: Historypin / What was there / Sepia Town
6. Video: YouTube and screencasts
7. Communicate: Skype / Google+ Hangout
8. Calendar
9. QR codes
10. Social reading: RSS / Flipboard / Feedly / Goodreads / Pocket
11. Augmented reality: Layar
12. Games: Angry Birds / Wordfeud
13. Online identity: FaceBook and LinkedIn
14. Curating: Pinterest / Scoop.it / Tumblr
15. Adobe ID
16. eBooks and eBook apps: Project Gutenberg / Kindle / Overdrive / Bluefire / Kobo, etc.
17. Evernote and Zotero
18. Productivity tools: Doodle / Remember the Milk / Hackpad / any.do /  30/30
19. File sharing: Dropbox
20. Music: last.fm / Spotify
21. Voice interaction and recording
22. eResources vendor apps
23. Digital storytelling

Given that I’ve already explored most of the things on the list, I’ve volunteered myself over at ANZ 23 mobile things as a mentor and I’ll be writing a blogpost for them on  Photos + Maps + Apps: Historypin / What was there / Sepia Town. No doubt I’ll write something here on each of the other Things as they come up.  I won’t necessarily write in the same vein as learning about them, but I can share my thoughts, ideas, and experiences with them. This week has kicked off with Twitter, and I sure do have plenty to say about that.

Incidentally there is a new ALIA Social Media Group on Facebook that might come in useful, but for the moment I’ve decided that yet another distraction in my life cannot be helpful so I’ve left for the time being.

I’ll be interested to see what comes out of these projects, but it’s good to see people wanting to be engaged, play, and experiment, and I’m tracking  #23mobilethings and #anz23mthings over on twitter.

So … hi

With the news that Google Reader is closing I got a couple of follow notifications so I think there are still 2 people who might get my updates.

Really that suits me fine. I have decided I’m going to try to write again. Every day. But start small and not always with something profound to say (did I ever?). I always struggled with what this blog should be about but now I don’t care so much so I will just write.

The other week at the hairdresser I ran into a former tutor of mine from when I was at UTS in 2006. I’m sure that I must have seen her since then, but it’s definitely been a long time. She’s now at another uni and focusing on research work. Anyway I mentioned that I miss research and still wish I could do more (but also that my friends and family have banned me from studying ever again). It got me thinking about what I wanted to do my Masters project on but couldn’t because of timing and various things.

For a long time one of my main interests has been in getting information to people who need it most. Although perhaps that’s not the best way to put it, because everyone needs information all the time and sometimes particularly keenly. But what I am interested in is ways to get information to people who may be in a situation where they can’t get access to normal channels, where they are too afraid, too ashamed, don’t know where to look, etc. For example during my Grad. Dip. I did a pilot research study on the information needs and behaviours of ecstasy users in New South Wales – people engaging in a high risk, illegal activity, who have a right to information about the drugs, about their health, about legal aspects, but because of the nature of what they’re doing they can’t necessarily just ask their parents or their doctor or their teacher. In an ideal world people could ask their librarian for where to find help on any topic without being judged.

But in 2011 I read some articles about how homeless people were using social media. I remember this one ‘Homeless turn to Twitter for food, shelter’ and wanting to investigate this further. I blogged about this back then over at ALIA Sydney, but I didn’t pursue it through my studies and now it’s still sitting in my head as something I want to do.

Like with all things online, behind the computer you can be anybody that you want to be. Online, people don’t need to know that you’re homeless, you can connect with friends and family and interact as you choose to. Or you can share your experiences, either to people in similar situations or to people who are willing to listen and engage. I think that people being able to connect with health and support services online now is a fantastic thing. And even just having somewhere to vent when you’re having a bad day.

I think there is a perception that if you are homeless you wouldn’t be on social media, but why wouldn’t you be if you want to? There is free internet access in many libraries (complete with free classes on using social media and the internet), free wifi popping up everywhere, and increasingly cheaper mobile phone services.

Really I never stopped thinking about this, and still have a google alert set up, but I’ve still never pursued it. I am craving research right now so I think I should do something about this …but what?

Day 13

Alright so I skipped a couple of days. This is because I ran out of time and had to head to party number 2, and then yesterday I was too busy recovering. I never made it to party number 3. The 90s party was awesome fun… it felt eerily like we were back in the 90s. About 11:30pm or so a bus took most of us into the city to keep partying with karaoke. Oh dear, oh dear. It was fantastic fun though!

Anyway, today I blogged over at ALIA Sydney, so I think, being a public holiday and all, that I’ll just link you to that for now. I wrote about ‘The homeless, social media, and libraries‘ which is something I’d like to explore further at some stage. Elements of it in any case.

Well, I hope you’ve all enjoyed your long weekend. Back to work tomorrow!