The worst of social media

It happened again.

I was in a sleep; I’d like to say deep sleep but I don’t know for certain. I heard my phone vibrate.

I have my phone on vibrate all the time anyway and then program it to “do not disturb” from 9pm to 5am. I’d tried to stay up to see the end of the hockey game but didn’t make it.

I think I’d finally dropped off when I heard the vibration. With my scheme, there’s only one reason why a message would overturn the settings.

The message was a bit cryptic since it made reference to the WRPS. Could the “W” be Windsor? Then I realized that it stood for “Waterloo Region”. As we know, it’s only a 3.5 hour drive along the 401 to get here and, if the alert was true…

So, the word got out to the province. Later, as we were to find out about 1:00am, the alert was cancelled. That didn’t stop my television from displaying the alert when it was first turned on this morning. The message had been received and was just waiting to be viewed.

I turned to social media, in this case Twitter, to see the details. The message was just that it had been cancelled. That was the good news.

Sadly, though, social media was not a good place to turn for details. There were all kinds of complaints from people. Amber Alert (and variations thereof) was trending and not in a nice way. Not with leads or information but from people complaining that the Amber Alert had wakened them from a sleep. It wasn’t just the one in Ontario; an Amber Alert had been issued in another jurisdiction as well.

My reaction is the same as it always is at times like this. What jerks! How selfish!

The whole program is to open eyes throughout the province. Particularly when it’s issued at 11:30 at night, the people could be in many locations throughout the province. It only works when it works. By working, that means that as many people in the province are informed so that there are many eyes on the lookout.

Probably the only positive thing is that these people would still be in the province since the border to the United States is closed.

On the heels of yesterday’s very positive post about the use of social media, this was an example of how it can be used badly.

I did eventually get back to sleep. I hope that the complainers did as well. It’s a small price to pay to get the word out to the province; may you never need it personally. Just suck it up, buttercup.


OTR Links 09/30/2020

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The value of a network

According to Twitter, I’ve had an account since 2007. Before that, I took the traditional approach to learning.

That typically meant signing up for courses, taking workshops, going to conferences, and doing a lot of error and trial. With my background, my focus typically was education, technology, and technology in education. I make no apologies for that. That was my job and I’d do anything (well many things) to stay on top of things. I shudder when I look at some “leaders” who are still mired with approaches of years gone by.

Being a member of Twitter changed all that although not much in the beginning. A Twitter account only works when you follow and interact with smart people. A trite phrase back then was “the smartest person in the room is the room”. I still see it these days but it had a more special meaning for me back then.

These days, I follow a lot of people. Some I follow directly and others I follow on Twitter lists, private and public. Ontario Educators should know about the lists since they’re my resource for Friday mornings. My routine for learning involves a number of things but I really value the inspiration that appears in those lists.

In addition to letting the lists generate content, I’ve started documents for each of the lists. Daily, it pulls together inspirational content from members and puts them in a newsletter format. On my timeline, it will look something like this.

These documents provide such a wealth of information. Just click the link in the Twitter announcement above. I’d be lying if I told you that I read them from cover to cover although I try my best.

From these, I get a sense of what’s relevant enough from others to share it along with a continuous feed of news stories. They’re not always about technology or education and that’s a good thing. We all like following politics.

Here’s a perfect example of some learning that I was only able to have as a result of someone sharing it and making it part of a document.

Here’s What Happens Every Minute on the Internet in 2020

Click through for the entire graphic and story.

For those that think they know everything, it really should be a humble realization that there is so much available to learn. It brings back another old trite phrase “the internet is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant”.

For those who are not connected, this should serve as motivication to get connected and connected to wise people. I so value those in my lists or, as I like to call them, “Active Ontario Educators”.

The connections made and their value supports the notion that learning never ends. It’s almost criminal when people join Twitter because they were required to because of some course and then drop it when the course is over.

Of course we live in interesting times. These times, technology, and education are not sitting still for anyone. We all need techniques to try and stay in sight of things. This is one of the ways that I do it myself.

OTR Links 09/29/2020

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Response to spammers

It’s been a while since I honoured those spammers that drop off comments quite regularly but you never see them, thanks to Akismet. I’m watching football on Sunday as I write this and had this urge to do a purge. But, I couldn’t resist sharing some of these.

If look at the bottom of my posts, you’ll notice that I tightened up things that are considered spam. Generally, if anyone leaves a link in a reply, it ends up in the spam folder awaiting moderation or deletion. I’m happy to note that it’s actually working and fewer unfortunate comments appear publically.

For your enjoyment, here are some of the bits of spam I enjoyed/smiled/purged this afternoon.

Well, thank you! Actually, this is an example of a comment that didn’t get caught.

Why would someone from Trinidad and Tobago be using Thanks for your offer to being an author here. Your area of expertise really isn’t a good fit though.

Hey, I thought you were Kimber from Trinidad and Tobago!

The way that you have brought in various phrases would actually be an interesting computer science problem to assign students. Along with a healthy dose of ethics, of course.

It’s interesting to note that the spelling errors are consistent and therefore I can only conclude that they’re in your original template.

Yes, I have a spam problem. It’s from people like you. Or bots like you.

Count me in for time travel. Stamp my ticket for 2022, please.

I’d like to think I can do more than write a single paragraph, no matter how wonderful it might be.

The whole idea of spam continues to intrigue me. I get that some try to get you to click through to a website of their design. In 2020, aren’t we all a little more careful online?

Anyway, these were a select few. They and all the rest are now gone.