Is blogging the “new” lifestream?

A little while ago I was wondering what platform I could use to aggregate my various online properties (Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, etc.) in a so-called “lifestream” and someone suggested that Friendfeed might be feasible. I looked into it for a while, but couldn’t commit to it because something didn’t feel right about using one service to point to all the other services.

With the recent Facebook acquisition of Friendfeed, I figured out what I didn’t like about using Friendfeed as a gateway, and that is that it’s not mine and never will be. It’s unlikely, but what if Facebook decided to kill Friendfeed? That in itself wouldn’t make a huge difference because Friendfeed would only be aggregating my content that is hosted elsewhere. But the principle is that building on a platform I don’t control just seems like a bad idea.

Which brings me to the blog…or at least, the self-hosted blog. With all the plugins available nowadays, it’s possible to incorporate virtually any content from most of the popular services, directly into the blog. I’ve had my Twitter and Flickr streams on /usr/physio for ages, and in the last few months have included additional content from Slideshare and Scribd. My blog is not going to go away anytime soon because I control the platform, down to the version of the software I run. No matter what services crop up that I decide to make use of, it’s only a matter of time before someone writes a plugin that I can use to incorporate that content into my site.

Of course there are issues with interaction on the blog, with most commenting systems incapable of integrating with each other (i.e. my Twitter feed is displayed on my blog, but any reader can only respond via Twitter, rather than directly from the blog…and the same goes with any other services that I’m using). But this problem would exist with any current “lifestreaming” platform.

So, is the blog going to make a comeback?

Proposal presentation

In our department, we’re required to present our research proposals for comment before submission to Higher Degrees.  This allows the group to give feedback before final corrections in the hope that the proposal is accepted without having to make major revisions.

I’ve just shared my proposal presentation that I gave a few days ago on Slideshare.  The feedback I received, although mainly editorial, means that the structure of this presentation is not the same as it will be in the final submission e.g. the Method has received another step in the process.

Would love any feedback.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-13

  • Put 3 conference presentations on SlideShare a few days ago, why didn't I think of this before? #
  • Spent 3 days on a writing retreat with no internet, wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Was productive, got a draft of a publication done #
  • International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – open access and peer reviewed #
  • Permission granted: open licensing for educational resources – Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning #

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Sharing documents and profiles

I’ve been meaning to play around with Scribd for a while now but never felt I had anything useful to put up.  After uploading some conference presentations on Slideshare a week ago and seeing the steadily climbing views, I finally decided to get a few abstracts together and upload them publicly.  You can see them on my Scribd profile.

I’m looking into alternative forms of publishing (see my Mozilla project on a collaboratively authored South African textbook), especially since the majority of the local journals I’ll be publishing in aren’t online (yet).   In order to get academic recognition, it’ll take years for my papers to filter out into the field if I rely purely on hardcopy.  This seems to be a useful alternative to get my academic content out right now.

I’m also starting to wonder where I can aggregate all of my online spaces into one place.  This blog would seem to be the natural place, but the structure doesn’t quite fit.  I need an online business card that could direct people to the places that interest them.  I’m playing around with a simple wiki at but don’t have the time to fiddle with the CSS to make it look right.  If anyone has any idea about how to aggregate my different profiles (e.g. find me on Mendeley, Facebook, etc.), my feeds (this blog and Twitter, Flickr), my conference presentations and article abstracts, please feel free to drop me a line.

Here’s an example of one of my abstracts using iPaper:
Abstract – Knowledge, Attitudes Towards Social Software

My presentation at SAAHE 2009

My presentation at SAAHE looked at the use of blogging as a tool to facilitate ethical and clinical reasoning among final year physiotherapy students in my department. The abstract is available here, and I’ve shared the presentation slides on Slideshare.

You can either view it online, or download it. I’ve shared it under this Creative Commons license that allows you to do anything you want with it under the following conditions:

  • You may not sell it
  • If you share or adapt it (and you may), you must tell people where you got it from
  • If you share it, you must share it under the same conditions that you received it

I should also mention that it’s available in the OpenDocument format. OpenOffice is a free office suite (similar to Microsoft Office) that’s capable of working with this format.

Full URL to access the presentation on Slideshare:

Note: I also took the opportunity to upload some of the other presentations I’ve given recently (also in OpenDocument format). See the tab, “More by user”.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-19

  • @axolote I agree, technical problems will always happen. Sometimes it can be avoided, often not. Such is life. Breathe deeply and relax 🙂 in reply to axolote #
  • Some differences between online and offline education strategies. Presentation on Slideshare #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-01

  • Reflective practise and assessment at #
  • Social media applied to online-only university, open courseware and peer-to-peer learning #
  • Nice explanation of the semantic web by Tim Berners-Lee, in Scientific American (2001), so a bit old but still good #
  • A matrix of uses of blogging in education, prepared by Scott Leslie in 2003, at Original blog at #
  • Learning in and within an open wiki project: Wikiversity’s potential in global capacity building at #
  • Web 2.0 storytelling: emergence of a new genre, about creating rich media with social media, quite cool, at #
  • Developing professional physiotherapy competence by internet-based reflection, at #
  • Using micro-blogging in education; presentation on Slideshare, plenty of related slideshows as well. Available at #
  • Another slideshow about using Twitter for education, slides 3, 6, 11 are pretty cool. Available at #
  • Rehab+, a physio-related database from McMaster University (the home of EBP), providing citations 4 the latest evidence #
  • RT @benwerd The people are the social network; the site is the tool that facilitates that network. #
  • If everyone opened up their APIs, could we have a web without the web? #
  • Who are the Net Generation (Gen Y)? #
  • The disruption of textbook publishing, too expensive (time, labour, resources). Are digital books a solution? Wikis? #
  • Basic guidelines on how to design a questionnaire for conducting research in health (2 links – and #

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Some activity at last

It’s been a pretty busy morning so far, catching up on all the feeds that I’ve neglected over the past month or so.  Here’s a list of a few things I found that might be interesting to you.

Found Academic Earth, an online repository of video lectures by international scholars, which could be a useful resource.

Did some research on a social networking platform called Elgg that could be useful for the department, rather than relying on a hosted service like Ning.

Read this short article on differentiated learning spaces at Eduspaces (also powered by Elgg).

Gave some feedback on the OpenPhysio paediatric assignment.

Read a little more on the idea of open research (or research 2.0, online research communities), which is an approach I’d like to consider for the writing of my PhD.

Came across this interesting article on Social learning at C4LPT, a social media platform for learning that runs on Elgg.

Found this presentation on Slideshare about the 21st century classroom.

Found an article on the principles of web-based teaching at the Canadian Journal of Teaching and Technology.

Downloaded an article called Beyond constructivism: exploring future learning paradigms from

Followed a few people on Twitter.