Social media cafe launches at Cardiff University

Thought grazing’s social media cafe launches this October in Cardiff University’s Graduate Centre in the Student Union Building on Park Place. A place to come every month and meet other social media practitioners working in Higher Education and have a chat over a cup of coffee.

Break down those divisions between disciplines, add to your social networks, meet those virtual colleagues (your followers, or those you follow) in the flesh, work-up project ideas together with the leading educational social media practitioners in the university or just come and learn … or drink coffee.

No expertise barriers to entry. Just an interest in the use of social media and its application in research and education.

So if you’re working in HE – post-graduate, researcher, lecturer or service provider – why not come and join others like you on 22nd October, 11:00 – 14:00, Graduate Centre, Students Union, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff

Let us know you’re coming and use the space below to give an indication of things you’d like to chat about.

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Social media cafe launches at Cardiff University

Back in Victorian times all the best plans and projects were hatched in the coffee shop where thoughts were exchanged between philosophers and practitioners from many disciplines and backgrounds. The world of social media is great for making connections and for replicating this cross-fertilisation of ideas; it fosters the creation of networks and allows the early discussion of ideas and enables the hatching of plans, but it lacks the obvious benefits of face-to-face contact and also the possibilities for animated, coffee-fueled group discussion.

Informal conversation is where engagement starts. Coffee (or a similar beverage) is what relaxes you (or stimulates you) to start that conversation. Put the two together and you have a winning formula.

Go to the Cardiff menu tab for further information and for short reports of events.

Information Services 2.0

[Originally posted on “Lofty thoughts …” 8th February, 2009]

Quite a while ago now, Joe Nicholls – a colleague of mine – and I started looking at emerging Web 2.0 Technologies and what there adoption might mean for university Information Services departments – we coined the unremarkable phrase Information Services 2.0 to describe the nature of the department that would need to develop – a topic that was picked-up by Brian Kelly in a presentation he made to the UCISA Management Conference in March 2008. [The use of the term IT Services 2.0 had previously been used by Mark Sampson from Edinburgh University in March 2007 and this was referenced in Brian’s blogpost “IT Services Reinventing Themselves“.] The UCISA talk generated some reflection on the topic and a dialogue with Cardiff-based Professor of Educational Technology at the OU – Martin Weller.

As an indication of Cardiff and INSRV’s early consideration of these
issues I’ve resurrected the original internal blogpost on the subject
for the record (below). We had written a paper on “Disruptive technology and its implications for University Information Services” and I presented it at a UKOLN Workshop on “Exploiting the potential of blogs and social networks” in November 2007.

The presentation explored the phenomenon of ‘disruptive technology’ and the implications it had for University Information Services. The nature of technology initiated disruption was explored, identifying some of its causes and effects and implications for service provision. It was suggested that a modified approach to service provision and management must be adopted in order to alleviate disruptive
consequences of technology and capitalise upon its benefits. Fundamental to achieving this would be adopting a philosophy of enablement through partnership at all levels
of the organisation to harness better ways of staying abreast of and responsive to the potential value of emerging technologies. Central to achieving this would be adopting news ways of communicating and working with staff, students and the wider organisation, with the aim being that the University should be confident about the degree of control, ownership and responsibility that was in place.

We asked the questions:


  • What threats and opportunities does ‘disruptive technology’ hold for Higher Education and Information Services?
  • What can/should Information Services do to better manage the disruption caused and take advantage of the opportunities new technology presents?

Onwards and upwards – we then turned our attention to “core” and “chore”, of which more later.

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Context and language is everything

[Originally posted on “MWE Social Media” on 8th February, 2009]

Some colleagues of mine who keep an eye on what I’m up to on twitter, observed that through ‘Lofty Thoughts‘ I had announced the appearance of CardiffBlogs. They made some observations on the use of a corporate blogging platform, some of which I responded to. Nicky Morland from Anglia Ruskin University made the astute comment that the variety of socialmedia (or social networking) tools could be confusing to users – something I’d already hinted at in an earlier posting on this blog. I offered to write another post detailing my ideas on the subject. This is it.

It is a subject I’ve blogged on several times on my personal blog ‘Just thoughts …‘, and I believe it’s one of the most important areas that potential bloggers should be conscious of. In several posts I developed my thoughts, and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll re-iterate them here.

The first and probably most important consideration is whether socialmedia is for you. In the case of blogging, you have to consider what you want a blog for, and having decided that it’s something you want to do, for whatever reason, you then need to choose the most appropriate hosting for the blog – corporate or commercial platform, and whether you want to keep it private or make it public. In the post ‘Do I blog … or do I not?‘, I try and address that issue and suggest that this decision is of considerable importance because the context then directs the style of writing, the language that you use and the type of message that you communicate. For instance, on my private personal blog, which is restricted to my family alone, I’ve just recorded the number and types of birds in the garden and the state of our goldfish in the pond! This is of no interest to the world at large I suspect, but as a record, or journal entry, for me (and to assist my abysmal memory) and for the family as almost a shared letter – it may have some value. On my personal blog, I’ve just posted some observations on leadership that I recorded from a UCISA Directors’ Forum I had attended. I’ve already referred to my personal professional blog, and over time I’ll use this to record events, observations about Information Services (INSRV), the university and my inter-actions with other colleagues in other universities that might be of interest to colleagues both inside and outside INSRV and Cardiff University. It’ll essentially be a record of my work for INSRV.

For institutions, they need to make a call as to whether they decide to host the corporate blog themselves, or not. In ‘where do you blog‘, I discussed some of the issues that need to be considered by an organisation before they decide to host their own blogging platform. Brian Kelly makes some interesting comments on the subject as well.

The third issue is the connection between the author and their credibility; the authority of their pronouncements. The Web 2.0 world has created an environment where everyone is potentially an author and publisher. What I write on my personal blog is just that – personal; it doesn’t pretend to be the view of an Assistant Director of Information Services, and my references to INSRV or Cardiff are tangential and very occasional. So therefore the issue of Identity and Credibility is of interest because essentially in social networking you gain credibility from the people that look at, or comment upon, your blog posts, follow you on twitter, or whatever.By your followers – you are known.

Finally, in another post I comment upon the ephemeral nature of socialmedia environments. If you’ve got something important to say – be very aware that socialmedia is not the place to write it for posterity. Also the choice of socialmedia is important and is intrinsically linked to the type of message that you want to promulgate. Surrounded by choice, the toolset you use for the message you want to convey, must be chosen with considerable care.