Saturday, May 09, 2009

Real-time tracking

New social media tools, third party applications and mashups provide tools to enable real-time tracking, search and access to global conversations and news. They can facilitate social networking and development of professional learning networks (PLN).

One example is the Track Twitter Now tool (mashup) which provides a simple search facility to track real-time (Twitter) tweets across the globe. These are displayed on an interactive map and tweets from selected locations can be viewed and followed up.

I tried search terms such as Moodle. It's amazing to see the number and pattern of tweets happening on different topics. Time of day and hemisphere influence this as well.

Another tool is Track This Now for real-time news. I created a widget from a search for Adelaide, Australia news. (see below)

Another mashup I tried out was the nifty flash slideshow, Flickr Flip Book. This allows a search on a topic or tag for photos uploaded to Flickr.

I used terms such as Adelaide, then edutweet, southoz and tweets, with varying numbers of photos and settings in the slideshow.

This tool is easy to use and the slideshow display looks good (it gathers information from the description, tags and comments associated with the photos). It would benefit from being able to select more parameters for the photos and gaining an embed source code.

Some of my Flickr photos came up under the search term 'southoz' as well as well as some photos posted by Alison (@theother66) from the Adelaide edutweet gathering last month. Thanks, Alison.

The proliferation of tools eg third party applications using Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps etc has added the valuable dimension of real-time (or near) tracking, connections, participation and collaboration.

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