I don’t know about you, but one of the things I enjoy about holidays is a bit of a digital switch off. Much as twitter is my “go to” network, it has evolved into a primarily work related space for me. I try not to “be” on twitter out of office hours/weekends and holidays. It’s too much like being at work. My automatic daily update ensures I still have one tweet a day, and I do share the odd Instagram picture. There are of course exceptions such as the Eurovision Song Contest which is just so much better with a twitter feed. Watching Question Time live with twitter on the other hand is not such a good plan, it is just a spiral of rage and despair imho.
Like many others my digital presence is constantly evolving. A couple of years ago, when Twitter was new and exciting, I would check my stream and tweet along with everyone else. Now I tend to use Facebook more for connections with friends and family “out of office hours”. Over the past few years I’m actually sharing photos more via instagram for quick sharing to FB and sometimes Twitter. Over the past three years I’ve been using the Blipfoto site to share a photo a day. This is a totally different network for me and one I really value. I also get my best stats there. I wish as many people read this blog as looked at my pictures! Like others have pledged to pay to keep the service alive.
Over the holidays I did decided to experiment with Periscope the broadcast service from Twitter. When I say experiment, I mean it was more a spur of the moment thing. I have used Periscope once before at the last Open Data Glasgow meet-up as an emergency streaming solution.
A few days before Christmas, my Mum who was staying with me decided to make mince pies one evening. Instead of trying to explain Periscope to her I decided just to show her, and so our first (and I have to say funniest) broadcast began.
Much to my surprise we got 34 viewers – I think I actually knew 2 of them. Fuelled by our success (and perhaps a glass of wine) the next day we decided to do the same as she made some meringues. We got about 40 viewers this time including Lawrie Phipps with whom I had the brief twitter chatter below (click the image to see the storify version) and prompted this post.
I’m still trying to figure out what Periscope means to my digital presence but I do think it has huge potential for education. Like anything without any control over who views, or interacts with you, it will take a bit of time, and initially some pretty digitally confident people to experiment with it. I don’t know if I am digitally confident or digital careless – probably a bit of both, so later in the holidays I did another broadcast with my 8 year old niece as she and my Mum made pancakes.
This time we hit the giddy heights of 130 viewers, and got the first taste of the down side of open broadcasting in this way. Some idiot and that’s the only polite word I can think of to use, started randomly typing “sex” then “porno”. In my best school teacher voice I told them, politely but firmly to go away and get their kicks somewhere else. They did.
On reflection I can see how that kind of interaction would have freaked a lot of people out, and would have turned them off using periscope or other services all together. It exemplifies in a very “lite” way the scary/nasty side of making yourself openly available online. It just made me sad that people feel the need to behave in that way, and have that kind of negative, pointless digital presence.
In terms of education I think we need to be taking control of these kind of spaces, not running away from them or trying to lock them down all together. Of course, I wouldn’t advocate every child to start broadcasting themselves all the time at school and or home. However we could use this type of instant broadcasts in lots of creative, positive ways in learning and teaching; particularly around practical demonstrations, critiques/review etc as well as formal/informal group working). I think HE should be leading the way in this as we all increase our fully online delivery.
In terms of recruitment, there’s huge potential for interviews (formal and informal), virtual open days etc. At GCU we actually did Periscope bits of our last open day.
It is going to take time to figure it all out, again open practices, research and auto-ethnographic approaches are going to become increasingly important. It’s only by sharing and developing our narratives of these types of experiences that we will be able to make any kind of sense of the educational potential of services such as Periscope and how they fit into our evolving notions and experiences of our own and our students digital presence(s).
My holiday experiments have definitely encouraged me think more seriously about how to use Periscope in my context and with my colleagues. My Mum and I may still try to get a Mary Berry type deal somewhere and give up all this education stuff . . .