INF506 reflecting on twitter analytics

Working through the social networking tools module of INF506 started me on a journey of evaluation of the opportunities provided by micro-blogging and how these platforms have affected my PLN (personal/professional learning network). It’s been a long while since I thought about just how much I rely on twitter to keep in touch with thought leaders in education, new professionaltwitter profile May 2016 reading, conference events and other opportunities to connect and learn from fellow educators across the world. What that looks like might be just about reading and lurking, researching links and information shared, or it might be participating in twitter chats and following hashtags with a few notifications set up to pull the information to me instead of having to reach out to get it. There is something quite unique about twitter’s role in education in this century.

Twitter has completely shattered information access hierarchies… and social hierarchies too. In essence, twitter is accessible to anyone who has access to the internet and that access is global. This simple communication tool with a restriction of 140 characters has played a significant role in a global information revolution. For me it has provided opportunities that have been enabled by members of my PLN which have had a direct, positive effect on the learning outcomes of my students and my colleagues.

Within the INF506 module there was a section on twitter analytics and there are a wide range of tools to choose from to analyse your twitter account and reveal how twitter connections work. So it was time to have a play with these tools and see what the analytics revealed. The perfect opportunity came in the form of a new Australian chapter of the twitter chat #EnviroEd on Wednesday evenings which is hosted by some of the leaders of Environment Centres run by NSW Department of Education in various places across NSW. I have an interest in this topic but it also gave me an opportunity to see how the chat was reflected in my analytics amongst the normal usage of my twitter account.

SociovizThis graphic was created using Socioviz and provides a sociogram of my account within a set time frame – in this example it was set for a week either side of the #enviroED chat. Socioviz can reveal the interconnections between users on the twitter platform and the size of the dots indicate the frequency of contact for those members of the network. In this example, all the yellow dots on the right side of the graphic are people who participated in the #EnviroEd chat in the week of the snapshot.

At one level this is just an interesting diagram for a personal twitter account but these analytics have the potential to be very useful when analysing social media usage for schools and libraries – finding the links in school communities and providing information about library users. Drilling down into data can provide information to inform decisions about content and timing of usage of social media accounts and how best to manage those accounts.

Twitter analytics engagement

Of course twitter has its own analytics features which can provide lots of information about how the account is engaging with followers and the traction being achieved for content that is posted. Knowing your audience and when they interact with your account can help the management team to utilise the account more efficiently and provide the data required to know if it is worth all the effort to maintain these social media accounts.

There are many measures of engagement provided by twitter. Link clicks, retweets, likes and replies can provide information about how followers are engaging with the accounts and when this is happening. It is important to remember that for many businesses that run twitter accounts they are doing so by paying for it using professional social media marketing and management companies. Schools and libraries can tap into this expertise by reading social media marketing blogs and engaging with social media experts online – yes… through their twitter accounts.

It is important to remember that representing an educational institution or teacher professional association, using a twitter account, comes with responsibilities and potential problems. Social media policies are written to protect employers and associations from poor decision making of individuals who are running accounts. Honorary positions can be forfeited by misusing twitter accounts for personal point scoring or poor digital citizenship – misrepresenting your employer’s position or providing incorrect or poorly worded advice when you are representing a professional association, will have consequences in the real world. It is important to think carefully about what you post in any social media platform – but especially when you are representing an agency or association.

Engaging on twitter, building a PLN, and benefitting from the learning and connecting that is available, means that there is much to learn about best practice and how to build relationships online. The benefits are multiple and there are many opportunities to engage with this learning through twitter. There are a wide range of chats held with an education focus and these run at all hours of the day and night as twitter runs 24/7 across all the time zones. A list of just a few of the education based twitter chats is available here.

For me, five people I would recommend to follow on twitter would be @pipcleaves @townesy77 @aliceleung @johnqgoh and the amazing @nickpatsianas

Teens, libraries and social networking

Book Review:

Agosto, D.E. & Abbas, J. (ed) (2011) Teens, libraries and social networking : what Librarians need to know. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO.

Teens use social media to develop and connect within their social networks (Agosto & Abbas, 2009). Much of this is bidirectional information sharing and social interaction. Attempting to tap into this social networking for young adults is a new challenge for library services. These tools provide an opportunity for libraries to become portals for greater educational opportunities. Agosto & Abbas, and contributors, explain the reasons why large numbers of teens use social networking tools and make suggestions as to how best to use them to support teens in using library services.Agosto and Abbas

This series of contributions by a range of authors involved in providing services to young adults, explores a wide range of issues involved in the use of social media and social networking in libraries. It includes profiles of public libraries using these tools, the role of media literacy, the challenges of using these tools, and the legal issues involved, including terms and conditions of social media sites. The book also explores uses of virtual worlds, and other tools like podcasts and media channels.

The book also includes an extensive list of websites and examples of libraries utilising these tools.

Open Leadership – the social media challenge

Social media in education has brought about some significant changes. It has given teachers new ways to collaborate with each other – share innovation, share creativity, share knowledge, drive change.
In the podcast, “Selling Social Media Strategy to Leadership”, (Schwartzman, 2010), Charlene Li describes three trends in the new culture of sharing:
1. More people online
2. The widespread use of social sites
3. The rise of sharing
Li advocates a change to open leadership in order to foster new relationships, understand and govern these new relationships, and explains that there are new rules required such as:
– Respect that your customers and employees have power
– Share constantly to build trust
– Nurture curiosity and humility
– Hold openness accountable
– Forgive failure
In organisations, like schools, that are used to top/down control, astute leaders know they need to get closer to their employees but don’t want to lose that traditional control. This becomes a leadership issue – how do I understand this new world? How do I work and lead in a new way? This is creating a power shift whether leaders like it or not – leadership needs to be redefined.
Li explains the “10 elements of openness” that provide a framework for leaders to utilise these new ways of leading and build strong foundational relationships. Two areas of sharing emerge – Information Sharing and Decision Making. The decision becomes what to share and when.10 elements of openness
Leadership responsibilities require us to be circumspect in how we make decisions. How open you should be depends on the goals. In the past it was based on the notion of authority, how much the staff needed to be brought in for buy in… but now you can’t expect to produce a bulletin… now people demand information (Li in Schwartzman, 2010).
It’s all about the overall relationship with the people you’re trying to reach and in schools this can be particularly challenging because of the levels of leadership and the participation of school executive, teachers, students and the wider community. Social media is a great tool for building community and gives the audience choices about how to buy into their relationship with the school. This “buy in” depends on the nature of the relationship of the individual with the school. The outward facing aspects of Facebook provide strong connection network opportunities for students and their families.
Meanwhile, teaching staff involvement in social networks and the development of a PLN (Professional Learning Network) can circumvent traditional lines of communication and produce a “catch up” scenario for school executive. New initiatives from institutional hierarchies are commonly now released via social media announcements rather than being communicated through traditional levels of ‘gatekeepers of information’. This can lead to expectations of shortened response times and planning requirements and place additional pressures on school executives to be responsive and well-informed.
Social media and the sharing culture ensures that the modern notion of leadership cannot ignore the impact of formal and informal groups, and the interaction between and among those groups (Paus, 2013). As groups form and begin to communicate, the transmitters and receivers establish paths of influence. Degrees of influence are developed and networks are built. The influences occur gradually changing meanings and behaviors that will affect the whole group and stimulate more connections, increasing sharing or affecting network connections. Once these groups build lines of communication, the group lives an experience which results in the sharing of influence, and provides new opportunities to develop and exhibit leadership.

For school executives this can result in knowledge influencers being established amongst all levels of leadership within the school and can shift expectations. The modern school leader needs to embrace this change and accept that “permission to know” is no longer their exclusive province but may happen organically within groups that reach beyond the school gate. A strong leader will see this as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Paus, V. (2013) New media and leadership: Social media and open organisational communication. [online] In Change and Leadership. Vol.17. Available at:

Schwartzman, E. (2010) Selling social media strategy to leadership with Charlene Li. [online]. Available at:

Edmodo, school libraries and promoting ethical online behaviour

In 2007, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) developed Standards for the 21st-Century Learner that include skills, dispositions, and responsibilities essential for today’s digital citizens (AASL, 2007). The first set of these standards states that teenagers must be given opportunities to learn to access and evaluate the information found on social networks.

  • Standard 1.1.5: Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
  • Standard 4.1.7: Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
  • Standard 4.4.4: Interpret new information based on cultural and social context.
  • Standard 2.3.3: Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions.

Within these standards, AASL also addressed ethical and legal behaviour on social networks and supports the provision of opportunities for teens to follow legal regulations and demonstrate ethical behaviour that is associated with conducting themselves appropriately on social networks.

  • Standard 1.3.3: Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.
  • Standard 3.1.6: Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.
  • Standard 3.1.2: Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
  • Standard 3.2.2: Show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations and by contributing questions and ideas during group discussions.
  • Standard 4.3.1: Participate in social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.
  • Standard 4.3.4: Practice safe and ethical behaviours in personal electronic communication and interaction.

School libraries have an opportunity to address these standards by incorporating appropriate social networking platforms in their library teaching programs (Agosto and Abbas, 2011). An example of such a platform is edmodo.

Edmodo new

Edmodo is specifically designed for schools and allows teacher librarians to create groups, upload resources, provide an ongoing connection with the library to promote learning and publicise events, and stimulate community by providing students with an opportunity to develop appropriate skills in a social networking site which is supervised, age appropriate and readily accessible.

Edmodo also has the capability of providing a connection to school families if the parent account provision is utilised.

Students have lots of opportunities to engage in social networking but not a lot of chances to develop their social networking skills in a supervised forum with the aid of a trained professional – their teacher librarian.


Agosto, D. E. & Abbas, J. (eds) (2011) Teens, libraries, and social networking – what librarians need to know. Santa Barbara, Calif : Libraries Unlimited.

American Association of School Librarians (AASL) (2007) Standards for the 21st-century learner. [online] Available at:

Profile of an Instagrammer: Stephtee

According to her carefully groomed Instagram profile, Stephanie Tee(Hiew) is a lawyer living in Sydney. She enjoys food, sunsets and has visited 30 countries. However, dig deeper into this active instagrammer’s activity online and you’ll find a master of social networking and powerful online photographer.

InstagramSteph works in the heart of Sydney and lives on the lower north shore so her instagram profile is filled with a photographer’s view of this beautiful city in all its moods. She must work in office space close to Circular Quay because the vantage points that some of her photos reveal are not the sort that just any member of the public can access. Also, the photographs she posts are not just point and click style captures… Steph has significant photography skills and is a member of the CanonAustralia Insider Circle. Her combination of filters, videos, photographic effects and beautiful cropping skills, provide an ever changing view of her world.

On Instagram, I’ve been following Stephtee for a few years… as have over 15,000 other followers. In this time, her profile online has revealed some of the benefits of acquiring her skill set. Steph has won a number of accolades over the years and also trips overseas on the basis of her influence and photography skills. Tourism businesses are lining up to get Steph to point her lens at their particular corner of the world and promote their product on her account. Steph also loads her Flickr account with an amazing range of photographs that showcase our beautiful Australian landscape… and she has mastered the selfie to extraordinary heights.

Steph is a great example of a positive use of Web 2.0 to share content and manage a professional profile online. Search for her virtual life and the results reveal a smart, manicured online profile that enhances her reputation and reveals a dimension to her skill set that adds significant interest to her real life. Steph provides a great example of how to use the web to create and manage your digital self.

Take a look… be impressed…

Steph’s Instagram account

Steph’s Flickr account

What is Web 2.0?

PinterestWeb 2.0 is a concept rather than a technology. It is a term used to describe interaction using web/internet technologies. The distinction here highlights the movement from what the internet looked like at the beginning – mostly static content – to its current capabilities of enabling interaction and collaboration using web tools. This new phase of the web allows users to shape content, respond to content, and engage with individuals who are also using these tools (Haughn, 2015).


The internet’s initial phase has now been retrospectively referred to as Web 1.0. This terminology highlights the distinction between the period where web pages were set content and needed a skill set and knowledge of File Transfer Protocols in order to establish a web presence. The Web 2.0 phase requires far less technical knowledge because the tools available provide the platform upon which users can build their content.

The term Web 2.0 first made its appearance in 1999 when used by Darcy Dinucci (Pope, 2010). Dinucci described the transition in his article, Fragmented Future (Dinucci, 1999):

WikipediaThe Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will […] appear on your computer screen, […] on your TV set […] your car dashboard […] your cell phone […] hand-held game machines […] maybe even your microwave oven.

This explanation helps to highlight the possibilities afforded users in a stage of the internet where they can produce content easily, engage with other users using a myriad of platforms and build a worldwide network of connections.Twitter

According to eBizMBA, a website designed to support eBusiness growth, in March 2016 the top 5 most popular Web 2.0 websites, based on unique monthly visits are:

  1. YouTube with an estimated 1 billion
  2. Wikipedia with 475 million
  3. Twitter with 310 million
  4. Pinterest with 250 million
  5. WordPress with 240 million


Other platforms that rate a mention in their top 15 include Craigslist, tumblr, IMDb, Yelp, Instagram, imgur, Wikia, Flickr, eHow and Photobucket. This shows the vast numbers of people engaged with using Web 2.0 platforms to engage with social and professional networks, create and share media, write and self publish, play games and learn new skills… amongst a vast array of other reasons to create a profile and get involved.


Dinucci, D. (1999) Fragmented future. [online] Available at Accessed 19 March 2016 (2016) Top 15 most popular Web 2.0 websites, March 2016. [online] Available at Accessed 19 March 2016

Haughn, M. (2015) Web 2.0. [online] Available at Accessed 19 March 2016

Pope, C. (2010) Web 2.0 explained in 60 seconds. [online] Available at Accessed 19 March 2016

China and social networking

Visiting a website called China Internet Watch does have an ominous feel about it. China is not known for open access internet browsing so the use of social media in China would surely come with a sense of caution about who is watching, reading, tracking, knowing…

All those fears aside, though, and the numbers of social networkers and social media users in China are simply staggering. The headline reads 482M Chinese Visited Social Media Per Month in 2015’ and those are impressive numbers by any standard. Roughly half of net users in China are also users of social networking sites. The article goes on to describe the penetration rates across age groups and China appears to be no different from other countries as the numbers increase across all age groups.

There are differences between social media usage in China and USA including that for Chinese social networkers it is more Sina Weibo Sina Weibo qrabout humour – sharing jokes and videos – than commentary on daily events or news items like it is in the US… which probably makes sense given the attitude towards free speech in a Communist country. However, the mashups of western video and celebrity watching on Weibo (China’s twitter) looks remarkably similar to the twitter feed of the average western teen.

The top 5 social media websites in China are

  1. Sina Weibo – the Twitter equivalent but with twice as many users!
  2. Renren – once touted as China’s equivalent to Facebook but after a lengthy court battle over name and URL rights, it has recently seen a decline as its popularity amongst its student base has waned.
  3. Tencent is a social media hub so has a large user base across multiple platforms. It was originally founded on a messaging service so it is still popular in this format.
  4. Douban is an interesting service that is popular with intellectuals and writers in China. Its point of difference is that it allows access to unregistered users.
  5. Wechat has gained ground in recent times because it is a mobile voice and text app which has gained popularity in a country that has an addiction to mobile devices.


Read more:


Defining “social networks” and “social networking”…

First task for INF506… definitions, experience and expectation of purpose…

An online social network service isINF506post1

  • a digital platform where people can create an account
  • establish a profile
  • “friend” other people to create a community
  • participate in conversations and sharing to build relationships and learn
  • build a reputation within that online space
  • extend involvement by connecting with others to collaborate across a range of groups

There are a vast array of social networking sites and means of connecting with people online, and deciding which groups to join and participate in is a question of time spent… it’s easy to spend too much! When online social networking began it seemed like it was the solution to our society’s need to connect… it is difficult now to remember what it was like before twitter, facebook, reddit, YouTube etc.

I’ve been dabbling in social networking for many years now… I joined twitter in May, 2009 and Yammer in June, 2010… and have gradually developed a comfort zone with connecting and communicating across a range of platforms, and contributing in those platforms by sharing and building community.

Social NetworkingI currently maintain accounts on both NSW DoE and TAFE yammers, twitter, edmodo, Instagram, Facebook, google+, TL Ning, Educator’s PLN Ning, Ozteachers google group, Weebly, WordPress, YouTube, delicious, Pinterest, Goodreads… hmm probably too many! I particularly enjoy connecting with followers of certain hashtags on twitter including #DLchat, #tlchat, #AussieEd and the #satchat collection.

Over the years I have reflected on the importance of social networking and how it has built my PLN (Professional Learning Network) and realise it has afforded a range of amazing opportunities to learn from experienced and generous educators across a wide range of topics that have enhanced the learning of my students. I have been involved in a range of projects as a result. I have organised a number of PLN meetups at conferences in order to meet IRL (in real life) people that I have known for many years online and it is always fascinating to meet people for the first time when they have been online friends for years.

What I expect to learn from completing INF506…

My role as a Teacher Librarian includes supervision of a range of social networking profiles for my library and my school. This is a significant responsibility since it directly affects the reputation and brand of my school. I take this role very seriously and hope that INF506 will provide a deeper understanding of the policy structure and planning required to achieve best practice in social networking management for my school.