Web presence up in this piece

Jeff’s emphasis in class today on managing your online presence reminded me of a tool I saw recently for aggregating your web identity elegantly and easily.  From Lifehacker:

Flavors.me is intended to act as a splash page for your virtual identity, routing viewers towards the aspects of your online persona you want to share. You can pull from over a dozen services including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumbl.r, Last.fm and more.

Click through to Lifehacker’s coverage to see a video of how easy it is to set up, or see some examples of how people are using it at the directory section. Most current users seem to be graphic designers, artists, or consultants of some type, and you could argue that it may not be appropriate for an academic presence, but since the design and layout is up to you, I don’t see why it couldn’t be useful for the more “serious” types.

On the other hand, academia honors and even requires publication of all types, but companies competing for very thin margins in a global economy are less likely to value the benefits of putting lots of information out there.   This is part of the reason why I haven’t used this service or others, and why I’m still deciding whether this blog will develop beyond the scope of GRAD 602.  I’m still exploring the balance between the democratic ideals of open access science and the capitalistic constraints on intellectual property.


7 responses to “Web presence up in this piece

  1. Thanks for your advices, I will try it

  2. Certainly in bench science and engineering, fields where your ideas can turn into patents that could make your employer (the university) big $$$, throwing your ideas out on the web in a form that would invalidate your ability to patent your ideas will be STRONGLY discouraged. On the other hand your ideas about how to teach engineering are unlikely to be patentable so putting these things out on the web for other professors would face less resistance. Especially if more and more professors are sharing this way, then no one has to worry that only a few schools are paying professors to develop good courses. If every school and professor is adding to the wealth, then professors at other schools aren’t “cherry-picking” well designed courses from your employer. Cherry-picking (definition)- hanging around the opponents goal all game, waiting for the ball to bounce around in front of the goal in order to score, failing to play defense or generate a play to get the ball to the goal (aka claiming the glory despite only lazily benefiting from the hard work of your team mates).
    You made me think about the resistance of professors to the open share of the web and I’ll be posting shortly on a personal experience on the topic.

  3. Thanks for you comments.

    Dat, let me know how you like it!

    Catherine, you make some good points regarding sharing of teaching techniques and observations, and I probably should have phrased my statement that I’m not sure whether this blog will continue beyond the scope of “teaching” rather than “GRAD602”. It’s certainly true that sharing of ideas in that context is imminently welcome.

    Ideally, however, I’d like to make this space a forum where the science I’m teaching and interested in is discussed as well. Because of the IP issues you allude to, much of the science blogging world has been restricted to the hotbutton issues that are in many ways more political than scientific at this point (see, for example, MMR vaccination, intelligent design, etc.). I’m not so interested in this, personally.

    There are some good efforts in this direction, particularly centered around open access journals like the BioMed Central (BMC) and Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals, and social tools like Mendeley that allow sharing and comments on articles, etc. I’m still feeling this stuff out.

    I’m looking forward to hearing you thoughts on the issue.


  4. Enjoyed reading how you are thinking about how the “blag” should function after 602…these are important considerations. The online identity idea I mentioned briefly at the close of class is worth giving more thought to…it seems to me that contemporary academics have an added responsibility of serving in the role of a public intellectual. I’m not talking about giving away trade secrets here that will prevent you from getting that next whopper NSF grant, or stepping on the toes of university IP folks.

    For me its more about engaging in the process of openly sharing some of your work in teaching your discipline, or offering insight on topics related to your work…translations if you will…that allow entry into the world of science.

    In her last post, Catherine talked about the need for getting her students to reason critically about science…I thin there is a connection to be explored here.

    That said…coming to terms with the digital footprints you want to leave is intensely personal…I’m glad to see that you are giving it some thought.

  5. I think if journals enabled comments on articles that could be fascinating. Imagine if you left some comment on an article and the author could be expected to respond to good questions. That would be dialogue! Bring on the comments. Maybe we shouldn’t let the comments be anonymous to keep the dialogue civil.

  6. PLoS and BMC have been experimenting with comment sections on articles. As you mentioned, anonymity is strongly discouraged (it may even be forbidden, I’m not sure) to keep things civil and of a good quality. Here is a good review of how it’s being used, as of this time last year:


    It’s very cool to see things moving in this direction.

    Jeff, that’s a fair distinction, and the public outreach you’re referring to is exactly the kind of thing the NSF likes to see for broader impact, anyway.

  7. Pingback: The Web is Coming to Get You, (fear and technology) « Bottling Magic

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