Friday Thoughts on the Mobile Web, etc.

Hi all. Happy Friday! Aren’t you just so excited for the weekend? I know I am because it means I can get out of Los Angeles and head back to my beloved Bay Area. I’m in LA for a research trip (which is going quite well, thanks for asking), but it happens to have landed me smack in the middle of a heatwave, again–so if parts of this don’t make sense, it is because the heat has addled my brain. So when I’m not buried deeply in a Hollinger box, I’ve been thinking about the mobile web and dreaming about wifi (as the archives I’m doing research at doesn’t have wifi). The mobile web is a hot topic, kind of like Web 2.0 (or I suppose Web 3.0), as can be seen from looking at the programming at this year’s Internet Librarian Conference. So this Friday, is mainly about mobiles and libraries.

EDUCAUSE recently released a couple of very interesting articles. The first of which is Universities and Libraries Move to the Mobile Web. A quick look at the mobile web and how universities/libraries are (and are not) making use of the mobile web. Does your library have a mobile optimized website? I’m hoping my library will have one soon (thus one of the reasons that I’m so looking forward to the talks at Internet Librarian). The second, kind of related article by EDUCAUSE is fantastically titled, If You Twitter, Will They Come?. Great look at using Twitter in educational settings. I personally love Twitter and I’ve found that it really works well in certain teaching situations. For example, for getting notices to Frosh who refuse to check their school email but don’t mind having another text message (using Twitter’s fabulous Tweet to Text option) sent to their phone. Plus, it saves me typing out long emails–140 character tweets are definitely your friend once the craziness of the term sets in. But I can’t say I’m surprised that students don’t want faculty in their social networks–I don’t want students to be in my personal social networks, not because I don’t care about my students’ learning, but because I like to keep some boundaries between my work and personal life too. (And let’s be honest, with how easy it is to set up accounts, it really isn’t difficult to keep one for work/teaching and another for friends/family.) I think the way to go is by using these easy tools in ways that work for students (this means we should actually talk to the students). That way we can create or adapt the technology so that the university or library isn’t “invading” a social network so much as working with it.

Oh, and don’t miss out on the Pew Internet Report on Mobile Access 2010. Good read with interesting data–more support for creating applications that will reach mobile users (although, again, talking with users/customers first would probably be a good idea to see what they want).

I seem to be on the road a lot this summer and therefore I’m thinking about traveling a lot, specifically things that make traveling easier. One of the things that makes my life easier is using Lifehacker’s Top 10 thumb drive tricks. The humble thumb drive–so small and yet so mighty.

Another great post from Lifehacker, Jumping ship from iPhone to Android: A switcher’s guide. It is a good comparison of the two and perhaps useful for anyone who is trying to decide whether to stay/get an iPhone versus an Android phone.

And for fun on Friday, check on this comic from the wonderful xkcd.

Analogies Comic by xkcd


Have a wonderful weekend filled with reading and fun! The Waki Librarian will be back next week with more good library and technology stuff.