The affordances of ‘new’ technology and social media

infographicThis latest cartoon from the talented Wrong Hands made me both smile and reflect on the many changes of how new technology has replaced older technology, devices and other things.

Just this week I was asked if I had photos of my recent 103 km trek across the Sahara Desert. My reply was “Yes, they are on Flickr“.  I received an email from O2 for our latest bill for the landline telephone we rarely use. I read news via websites. LinkedIn is my ‘rolodex’ and list of connections complete with photos. If I want a business telephone number I google the company but then get agitated at the length of time the automated messages take so turn to Twitter or email if I have a query. Searching for my CV I realise my most current version is saved on a floppy disc and my PC no longer has the holder to read one. I keep VHS tapes mostly for nostalgia but have replaced many favourites with DVDs. Sat nav and google maps have replaced the big bulky maps we used to have in the car. Spell check can trip us up but is so handy when writing online. Shopping in general, but especially books is done via Amazon, Ebay and other online stores. My encyclopaedias are treasured but in some sections outdated, so Google and Google Scholar have taken their place. Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

New: Creating your own personal library of articles from Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to search scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. However since the update of the Google homepage with its new minimalist look, it is not so high profile. It’s probably quicker just searching for Google Scholar to get to it! Once there you can search for literature and now can save useful and relevant articles to your own library. Continue reading

Posted in Google+ | Leave a comment

Is it @Impossible? – A new social network where wishes can come true for free


Lily Cole, perhaps better known for her roles in film and fashion; is a recent graduate of Cambridge University and Founder of Impossible. Impossible is a social network based on the principle of gift exchange. Users can post wishes and they are answered with gifts. When a wish is granted recipients can respond with a ‘thank you’ post. These thank-yous are recorded on the user’s profile for all to see, a sort of virtual tally of their generosity.

make a wish.
take a wish.
say thanks. Continue reading

Posted in Social Good | Leave a comment

Some easy tips to help control what you share on Facebook


Getting to grips with Facebook settings is an important part of being in control of your online presence. We all love sharing updates and photos, but are you sharing them more publicly than you think? Take a look at who can see your past posts and limit the audience if you’re not comfortable with anything. Continue reading

Posted in Facebook | 6 Comments

Strategies to improve visibility and impact through social media


As a blogger, author of a book, chapter or article; it should come as no surprise that we look to find ways to increase readership. This morning whilst researching for a project I am working on, I came across an article by Professor Christine Pascale who provides a list of tips for researchers and authors to improve research visibility and impact. Whilst this focuses on research, many of the tips can easily be applied to any form of writing you wish to share. It could be your blog about poetry or a book you have written. Continue reading

Posted in Social Media | 1 Comment

A useful visual guide to choosing the right Creative Commons licence

In previous posts I wrote about how to find images that have a Creative Commons licence and how to choose and apply a Creative Commons to your work  It is important to remember that other people’s images must always be attributed and those which have copyright must not be used without permission. By searching for images that have a Creative Commons licence you will save yourself a lot of time.

The infographic below from Foter is a clear and useful visual guide which captures why a Creative Commons is important and explains what each of the licences represent.

Towards the end of infographic it also shows you how to attribute Creative Commons images that you may wish to use. Attributions can either be placed immediately below the image or within a blog or presentation for example, could be listed at the end.
Creative Commons Photos

How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter  –  CC BY SA

Posted in Visual Communication | Tagged , | 2 Comments

How to spot a phishing scam in suspicious emails


Having just watched an excellent screencast on how to spot a phishing scam created by Nik Peachey, I wanted to share his excellent tips.

Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Nik’s screencast takes you through a real example of a fraudulent email which looks as if it has been sent by BT Yahoo. The short video points out the important things to look for to check for authenticity. I recommend you taking a look.

Nik advises that the key pointers to look out for are as follows:

  • The information in the message. I used Google to check out the content and the name of the sender to see if they were genuine.
  • Use of English. Grammatical mistakes and use of either too formal or very informal language are often a give away.
  • The look and design of the message. This is often very poor and at best has some kind of attempt to link to a logo from the company.
  • Mouse over the hyperlinks and look to see where they go, if they go anywhere. Dead links or non-existent ones are a give away as are ones that are random numbers or letters or which have an odd suffix. The one in my message led to sngsnfjswrsad and had a suffix of so that’s very suspicious.
  • The return address. Although it looked like customer services, it’s very easy to set up an email that shows anything you want it to in the reply, but checking the true address showed this to be a random email account and quite possibly not even the one that belonged to the sender.

To add, Microsoft warn about the misuse of web addresses by Cybercriminals. This is where they re-create an address that resembles the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered by adding, omitting, or transposing letters. For example, the address ‘’ could appear instead as:

  • ‘’
  • ‘’
  • ‘’

This is called “typo-squatting” or “cybersquatting.”

Emails that sound too good to be true very often are. Taking care to check the points above will help to minimise risks. Microsoft offer further advice on how to protect yourself from email and webscams.

Posted in Safety | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Adding profile pictures and cover photos to your social sites: A guide to sizing

This is a very useful sizing guide for selecting images for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. Thank you Ashleigh Lay for sharing this infographic and the embed code for others to share on their blogs.

Social Media Spec Guide

by ashleighlay.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


Posted in Visual Communication | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What happens in 24 hours of Social Media use?

24 hours

There are over 7.13 billion in the world today and every 24 hours 40% of these people go online to search, create, curate, learn and engage in social media. During this time an astounding 2.7 billion likes will take place on Facebook, where 1 in every 7 minutes online is spent. On LinkedIn 15.6 million searches will take place, on Slideshare 100 million page views, and on Google+ 5 billion uses of the +1 button. Continue reading

Posted in Social Media | 1 Comment

How to choose and apply a Creative Commons licence to your work to encourage open social sharing


There is an increasing movement to openly share information and to encourage people to re-share through Twitter or any of the other social channels. Many do not want to attach strict copyright to such work, but still want to be attributed. They may wish to only share if the work is not edited or is not used for monetary gain. The use of Creative Commons licences is an excellent way to ensure it is clear what you are happy with. Continue reading

Posted in Social Media | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments