To Follow Or Not To Follow

Theskystallione

Twitter is a great streaming feed for news and information, but what you get depends on who you follow.

While Twitter does provide suggestions based on whether they are “promoted” or who you already follow (i.e. follow Joe because they are “followed by” Julia), it doesn’t tell you a lot of information about them except their Twitter handle, short profile, location, basic stats, etc.
A new service called Twtrland helps you decide who to follow by providing lot’s more information and displaying it in an organized fashion–simply plug in the Twitter handle you are interested in knowing more about and you get the following:
1) Basic Info–Picture, profile, stats on follow/follower/tweets
2) Top Followers–Let’s you know who else (from the who’s who) is following this person.
3) Advanced Stats–Provides measures on how often he/she gets retweeted, tweets per day, retweets, etc.
4) Graph of Content Type–Displays in pie chart format the type of content the person puts out there: plain tweets, links, pictures, retweets, replies and more.
5) Samples of Content by Category–Examples of this persons tweets are provided by category such as: famous words, plains tweets, pictures, links, retweets, and mentions.
I like the concept and execution of Twtrland in organizing and displaying tweeters information.  However, I cannot really see people routinely taking the time to put in each Twitter handle to get this information.  Making a decision a who to follow is not  generally a research before you follow event. The cost-benefit equation doesn’t really make sense, since it doesn’t cost you anything to follow someone and if you don’t like their tweets, you can always change your mind later and unfollow them if you want.
Overall, I see Twtrland more as a profiling tool (for research or interest) by getting a handy snapshot of what people are doing/saying online in the world of micro-blogging, rather than a decision support system for whether I should add someone to my follow list or not.
(Source Photo: Twtrland Profile of Sylvester Stallone, Rocky!)

Capturing It All

Lifelogging

Often it seems as if so much of our life is spent memorizing things and then trying to remember what we thought we memorized.

It starts in grade school and continues throughout our education–memorize, spit back, repeat.  
Advances in education may actually recognize the need and try to get kids to think now-a-days, but there are still all the “fundamentals” that need to be put to memory, so you can pass the standardized tests like the SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and more. 
But we don’t just memorize to pass tests, we pride ourselves on what “we know” and we test ourselves and show off our expansive knowledge-base through things like board games such as Trivial Pursuit to game shows such as Jeopardy.
At work too, we hire, retain, and reward people based on their “knowledge, skills, and abilities” and recognize those who are true “subject matter experts.”
I remember friends who used to read the encyclopedia to increase their knowledge, and the Almanac with all the facts and figures–is still a best-seller. In Yeshiva, we also spent a good part of our high school years, memorizing from the Talmud. 
The challenge for us in the 21st century is that knowledge is growing so fast that we as individuals can barely keep up with the volume and pace of change, so we specialize professionally and seek expert advice from others on areas outside our area of specialization. 
Still we memorize and try to remember as much as we can.  We read, watch TV, browse the Internet, travel, try new things, and fill our heads with incessant facts, memories, and chatter. And we become frustrated when we can’t remember names of people we recently meet, the punch line to a joke, the facts for a presentation at work, the spelling of a simple word, or even what we had for breakfast.  
So rather than memorize and forget, people are turning to capturing events from their lives and playing it back when they need to recall information or are feeling nostalgic. 
We do this when we take photos, videos, audiocasts, blog, tweet, etc.  and then access these from our hard drives or the Internet though services like Flikr, YouTube, Podbeam, Blogger, Twitter, and so on. 
Now we starting to move beyond recording just moments in times (i.e. snapshots) and instead capturing it all!  
The Futurist (July-August 2011) reports that people are discovering things like Lifelogging–where through cameras, recording devices, and storage media, they record virtually “every instant of their lives.”  We are nearing at a time, when this is becoming “not only feasible, but possibly even appealing” to the masses.
By recording the events of our life–whether in blogs, photos, audio or video recordings–and combining this with advanced search tools, lifelogging “could provide us with the equivalent of near total recall.” 
Perhaps the ability to capture more and more of our lives digitally will make it unnecessary in the future to sit and memorize so many useful and useless facts and information. 
We don’t have to remember everything in our heads, we just need to know how to access the information when we need it.
Learning does not have to be about memorizing but rather can be about critical thinking, and being an expert does not have to be about what you have memorized, as much as your experience and ability to think through problems and find solutions. 
(Photo Source: here)