Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Simplifying Incoming Information

In my new mode of trying to simplify how I work with my very prolific network, I have come to use a new-to-me service. It's called Pipes: Twitter link monitor. I have seen references to "pipes" on and off for a while now, but never looked into it. It was pointed out to me in a comment to my last post by Sue Waters.

Getting Started

The set up is simple. Type your Twitter id into the input box, click the Run Pipe button, and get your results. I was surprised that I was able to run the utility with my Twitter ID since I have it set up as a protected account.

The important extra step is to click on the drop down list on the right side of the results window next to the orange RSS icon that says "More options". It is here that you will be able to choose "Get as RSS".

Copy the URL from the top of the screen into your reader and you will now receive a stream of links from those you are following in Twitter in your reader.

Isn't This More Information Overload?
While it may seem like I'm just adding more on my plate, it really is streamlining the process of the learning I accomplish over on Twitter. I have found a couple of items that would have passed me by otherwise.

Here's an Example
Last night, I was getting ready to prepare my last Kindergarten lesson of the year. I wanted to discuss the importance of going places safely online which is a Cybersmart lesson for the K-1 crowd. Usually I walk the students through two of the suggested websites, but I wanted something different.

I tweet popped up from @mscofino: Elementary/Primary teachers check this out: Interactive e-books for free! Thanks to @jmedved for the tip!

The URL sounded interesting. I was curious and clicked on over. It's a wonderful site full of books that can be clicked on and read online. The children enjoyed the website. I think it gave a better example website than the others I used to go to. I would have missed a great site without the RSS feed.

So What?
I've said on several occasions that I can't be on Twitter all the time, or worried about missing things that come down the river of information. This still holds true, but now I will be more likely to come across websites that may give me an improved lesson plan.

From my last post about my oversubscribed reader, I learned that there are plenty of people out there who want to stay informed and are trying to simplify life. This is worth the five minutes it takes to set up. You might want to give it a try. After all, you can always unsubscribe the item from your reader if it doesn't work for you.

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