Thing 11 & 12: Podcasting and YouTube

Podcasts are audio or video files that you can either stream on the web or download, for example to an iPod.

Thing 11: Find some podcasts which interest you

I was already familiar with the idea of podcasts, though I didn’t quite realise the extent to which they are used. I had only really encountered the Guardian books podcast, and that was when I borrowed my boyfriend’s iPod, so this ‘Thing’ was quite interesting for me.

Since I was aware the Guardian had some podcasts, that was where I started. I was expecting to find one or two categories of podcasts, but I hadn’t counted on quite so many!

Subscribe to the feed for your favourite podcast in Google Reader

I have subscribed to the Guardian Books podcast in my Google Reader, and also to their Bike Podcast. However, I don’t actually own an mp3 player, so I wouldn’t really get the chance to listen to many podcasts, so I stopped there. Perhaps I will invest in one!

I was struck by how easy subscribing to podcasts is, and is just like any other RSS feed. However there are some RSS readers that are specially for podcasts, such as iTunes, which would make it much easier to put these audio files onto an iPod.

Thing 12: Search for and view some videos on a topic of your choice on YouTube

I already know a lot about YouTube, since I have used it to watch a whole range of videos for various reasons. During a university seminar in my final year, we discussed the sociological mythologies of a Cadbury’s advert, but in contrast I also like to keep up to date with the Vlogbrothers channel.

The great thing about YouTube is that you can pretty much guarantee something you want will be on there. Whether that content is legal (or safe for work!) is debatable, but it is so easy to type in some key words on the site and come up with a relevant video in the first few results.

Find “YouTube EDU” and view some videos from a university of your choice
I didn’t know about YouTube EDU before this ‘Thing’. I searched for Exeter University, but found they hadn’t uploaded much to the site (4 videos). I then had a look for Sheffield, and found that most of the results were from Leeds Metropolitan University, and were videos of various sports matches.
I can see why this part of YouTube is useful, as it narrows down the search results into the ‘Education’ category. I personally couldn’t find much, but I think if I had a more specific topic in mind it would be easier to navigate. It also depends a lot on how much a particular university has contributed, as it is with most of these social media sites I have explored in the 23 Things.

Thing 9 & 10: Social bookmarking and tagging

Sign up for a Delicious account, bookmark and tag some of your favourite web sites

Delicious is an online bookmarking site, where you can list links and tag and share your links.

Delicious is another tool that I have actually used before, though admittedly not to a huge extent. As part of our trainee project, Lauren (the other SSL trainee) and I have compiled some useful links on academic writing, to eventually put into a shiny and exciting LibGuide.

Our list isn’t extensive in the slightest, but it is long enough to appreciate the organisational nature of tagging. When you ‘tag’ something with a word, all items with that tag are grouped together.

This is good and bad. It is good because things, like these bookmarks, can span a few categories. Tagging is flexible, so an item can be in several categories at once. If I’ve got a bookmark about plagiarism which is aimed at undergraduates, I can tag it with both these terms. If I had to put this link into a stricter folder (as web browsers provide), I would either have to choose one of these, or duplicate the link.

Furthermore, when we are adding links to the LibGuide, just a click on the appropriate tag will bring all the relevant links and filter out those which are not in that group (I imagine this would be even more useful if we had more than 20 bookmarks saved!).

However, the problems with tagging seem to revolve around taxonomy and ‘folksonomy‘. This is because there is no pre-designed set of tags, which allows great freedom when you’re tagging your own things, but leads to difficulty because there is not adequate cross-over between tags. A great example was given at one of the recent graduate trainee sessions: sf, sff, sci-fi, science fiction, Science-fiction, science-fiction, SciFi, Sci Fi, Sci-fi, … etc!


Add other Delicious users to your network so that you can easily view their bookmarks

I have added the VHL Library to my network, just to see how it works. However, I don’t think I’ll be adding more. That sounds very negative of me, but as I have only been using Delicious for my project, I don’t have a burning desire to share these links with my friends and colleagues!

This leads me to a slight issue I have with Delicious. All links that you save are automatically public, and there isn’t a way to make them private. If I were to save all my favourite sites to a public page, everyone would know I’m one of those people who spends their time watching videos of kittens on Youtube. 

Thing 7 & 8: Online Photos and Images

Create a Flickr account, upload some of your own photos, tag them and add descriptions

It was easy to set up a Flikr account, as there is the option to sign in with your Google account. I uploaded some photos which I had saved from Facebook to my desktop. I am sure there is an easier way to import photos from Facebook, but I was just playing around with mine so that seemed the easiest way.

I uploaded some photos from my Graduation in Exeter, and a few others which were taken in Oxford and back home in Colchester, so that I would have a slightly more interesting map when I ‘Geotagged’ them. Geotagging is an interesting concept, and I am sure geotagged holiday snaps from an around the world trip would make a fantastic map!


Go to the Picnik site and connect to your Flickr account, try out the different editing tools on your photos

Picnik is an online photo editing site, which allows you to grab photos from where you store them, including Flikr and Facebook, which is where I store most of my own photos. 

There were a couple of tools which really stood out when I was editing my photos. I was playing around with a picture of the Radcliffe Camera, and the ‘Sharpen’ option really made this photos better.

Rad Cam

It made details like the cobbles on the street and the bicycles’ spokes really stand out, and I hadn’t realised they were quite so blurred in the first place!

When I was editing a picture of one of my Mother’s chickens, I found the ‘temperature’ option quite useful. I took this photo in the summer, and I wanted the colours to be warm.

Chicken under a bush

By adjusting the temperature, I could make it look a little sunnier than my camera could. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how good the quality was when I took these photos, so it may not be all that great now!

After fiddling round with the basic editing tools, I clicked on the ‘create’ tab, which opened up a whole new realm of crazy-photo possibilities. There’s everything on there, from adding frames to various effects. There is even the option to pixellate faces and make the lines in your picture neon. I had a play around on this photo of my friends in a bumper car, and it looks pretty tame compared to some of the possible effects.

Bumper car

In terms of other photo sharing sites, I have used photobucket before, and Flikr seems to be quite similar. I’m not sure how much I will use Flikr and Picnik, but it is useful to know just how much of the work they can do for you. It’s also good to link between your accounts, for ease and simplicity.