Within this exegesis I will provide a brief outline and the rational for my creation of the ‘Edu Tech Coach’ Web presence. I will discuss significant components of the presence, such as the pseudonymity of the ‘Edu Tech Coach’ persona, why I chose a Weblog as the central node and consequently, the reasoning for opting to use Diigo, Twitter and YouTube as my complementary contributing nodes.
The catch-phrase for my central node is ‘helping teachers teach with technology’, which essentially highlights what I am trying to achieve through my Web presence. I have used a blog as my central node of delivery for all of my information, which includes ‘how-tos’ and tutorials videos. In addition, I have also been promoting positive and opinion based articles through two of the contributing nodes, Twitter and Diigo, relating to good and bad technology practices occurring in the classroom across the globe.
When considering that I would be communicating with a predominately online audience that I did not know, I chose to implement a pseudonym to increase my anonymity within this presence (Scott & Qian, 2007), hence the ‘Edu Tech Coach’ was created. In order to be effective within this presence the pseudonym needed to be consistent across each of the nodes. In order to do this I needed to consider not just a uniform name but also a photo or graphic image to complement the persona. Using an image licensed under creative commons, shared by Flickr user ‘woicik’, I adapted the image to become a type of logo or badge for each of the nodes. Scott & Qian state that services such as Blogger, which I used for my central node, do not require any additional information apart from a username, email address and display name. Only the display name will be shown within the blog (2007). However, two of my contributing nodes, Twitter and Diigo, required me to input first and last names which were publicly visible. To counteract this publicising of my information I used EduTech as my first name and Coach as my surname, maintaining a constant level of anonymity.
Using the Web2.0 tool Blogger I created a blog, ‘The Edu Tech Blog’, to utilise as the central node for my presence. The simplicity of the Blogger platform allowed me to post anything (Blood, 2000), whether it is plain text, images, or HTML embed codes from external web sources. Using the ‘Simple’ template I customized the outline of the blog to suit my desired appearance. Using the ‘Gadgets’ feature I included the Edu Tech Coach ‘badge’, a label cloud for ease of navigation for users, buttons linking to my contributing nodes, a live feed from my twitter account, “subscribe to via RSS” and a blog archive gadget. One of the aspects of using a blog as my central node that appealed to me is that the most recent post is always shown first (Rettberg, 2008). This gives the reader of my blog an insight on what I am currently working on and what tools are relevant to me at any given time. Rettberg states that old posts do not simply disappear; they are archived once they get pushed off the front page (2008). This archiving of older posts allows my viewership to still be able to find posts whether it be through a search engine or by browsing through the labels I have associated with each post.
Diigo is a Social Bookmarking System that allows users to store, classify, organize and share links of interesting web sites, blogs, pictures, wikis or videos (Estelles, Moral, & Gonzalez, 2010). I used it within my web presence predominately as an archive for articles I found on various sites which pertained to technology use in education. As well as sharing links I had found and tagged within the Diigo community, I also used the Web service provided by Diigo called ‘Auto blog post’. This feature exposed my Diigo links to a larger audience by periodically (weekly) posting my most recently bookmarked links to my blog as a new article, available for the blog audience to see without needing to navigate away from my central node.
Using Twitter as one of my contributing nodes allowed me to seek out and gratify my need for an audience of like-minded people with whom to communicate and collaborate with (Chen, 2011). By promoting my central node on Twitter I publicised my web presence to a larger audience than I ever could have by traditional means, such as sharing links to my immediate connections via email or messaging. By using or searching the hash tag #edtech or #edchat I exposed myself and my content to a larger audience than just that which I follow or have following me. I found that the more I used the hash tags the more people that followed me, and the more people I found to follow. Similar to in Diigo where I used the ‘Auto blog post’ service, I used the embeddable ‘Profile widget for my Website’ from Twitter. I was able to customise this widget to suit my theme before embedding it as a gadget to my sidebar on my blog using the Blogger HTML gadget. The ‘profile widget’ provided a live feed of my latest tweets directly to my blog.
Being that my web presence is built around providing detailed assistance in how to use technology within education, I thought it would be a good idea to utilise YouTube as a contributing node to deliver video tutorials. Connecting my YouTube and Twitter account meant that all of my action within YouTube (uploads, favourites and subscriptions), would be broadcasted to my Twitter followers. As well as uploading my own videos to the channel I also opted to favourite videos I found relative to my topic and also subscribed to other YouTube contributors who shared my passion for technology within education.
In conclusion, this exegesis explains the way in which I have constructed the Edu Tech Coach Web presence; a presence that has maintained a constant degree of anonymity. Despite this, I have still been able to connect with an audience via various different nodes, with each of these nodes complementarily sharing information and connecting with one another to enhance the overall effect of the Web presence.
Blood, R. (2000, September 7). Weblogs: A history and perspective. Retrieved from Rebecca's pocket.: http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html
Chen, G. M. (2011). Tweet this: A uses and gratfications perspective on how active Twitter use gratfies a need to connect with others. Computers in Human Behaviour, 755-762. Retrieved November 14, 2011
Estelles, E., Moral, E. d., & Gonzalez, F. (2010). Social Bookmarking Toold as Facilitators of Learning and Research Collaborative Process: The Diigo Case. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 6, 176-191. Retrieved November 17, 2011
Rettberg, J. W. (2008). Blogs, Communities and Networks. In J. W. Rettberg, Blogging (pp. 57-83). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Scott, C. R., & Qian, H. (2007). Anonymity and Self-Disclosure on Weblogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication., 12(4), 1428-1451. Retrieved November 14, 2011