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I'm an online instructor at the University of Oklahoma, happily teaching courses in Mythology & Folklore (#OU3043) and Indian Epics (#OU4993).

Laura Gibbs

Top 3 Curation Tools for Sharing

6 min read

In my previous post — Top 3 Curation Tools for Reading — I wrote about the tools I use for most of my reading online: Inoreader, Google+, and Twitter.  What makes these tools really powerful for me is that they are also tools for sharing. To me, that is where the value of curation comes through: if I share the valuable things that I read, it then improves the quality of the network in which I participate. It's an endless cycle because what I am reading is often the product of similar curation by others in my network. So, they read, curate and share, and then I read what is shared so that I can also curate and share, and on and on. Not a vicious circle: a virtuous one!

There are lots of other tools that I use for sharing online, like PInterest, Diigo, etc., and I will write up some posts about them too if I have time. In terms of my daily routine, though, just as Inoreader, Google+, and Twitter are the tools I use all day long for reading, they are also the tools I use every day for sharing.

Sharing with INOREADER. Lots of content comes into my Inoreader account every day, and lots of content goes out! Inoreader is not just an RSS reader but a powerful syndication tool. Here are the ways that I share content outwards using Inoreader:

Share-to-Google+ button. As I am read news items and blog posts, I often share to Google+ using the Inoreader share button. This is the usual kind of sharing you would expect to do with a feed reader... but Inoreader offers some much more creative sharing options:

Outgoing "Combo" RSS feeds. Using tags (some assigned manually, some automatically), I use Inoreader to share all kinds of combination RSS feeds which can also be displayed as HTML. An example is my personal feed at which allows me to share in a single RSS feed all my activity across Twitter (both accounts), Google+, all my personal blogs, along with anything I want to manually add to the feed from inside Inoreader. AMAZING. You can see lots more examples of these combination feeds at my course hubs — Myth-Folklore and India — where I am combining the blogs of students in those classes into a single feed (single feed for the class or for a specific type of assignment).

IFTTT to Blogger blog. One of the main things I like to collect and share are memes and other thought-provoking graphics. The way I do this in Inoreader is via an IFTTT recipe which automatically blogs items in Inoreader to which I add the tag "dographic" — and you can see the results here: Inoreader Graphics. I started doing this in July, and I've got over 400 items there now, all automatically reposted from Inoreader. Occasionally I'll find something outside Inoreader that I want to save this way and I post it to the blog manually, but that's rare: since Inoreader collects my own Twitter and Google+ streams, the graphics I am resharing in those networks also become part of my Inoreader stream, which means IFTTT can send them to my blog. SO COOL. I'm guessing I could use IFTTT to create some other powerful Inoreader recipes... now that I am confident at how well this system works, I might try some more experiments like my graphics experiment.

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Sharing with Google+. Unlike Inoreader and Twitter, Google+ does not have a lot of great tool to facilitate sharing outside of the Google+ network (I would say that is one of its biggest drawbacks). I wish Google+ offered widgets (like Twitter) or RSS features (like Inoreader)... but it does have one very powerful sharing tool: the good old-fashioned link. Every Google+ post/conversation is directly linkable and, if you post publicly, the post page is on the open Internet with no need to be logged on to Google to see the post. So, in addition to all the sharing I do inside Google+, I also share Google+ conversations by means of links. As an example, here is a conversation from last week: Ursula Le Guin. You can also embed Google+ posts although I usually just link rather than embedding. Here's that conversation embedded (click on the icon to see the comments people left on the post):



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Sharing with TWITTER. Twitter is obviously a space where sharing goes on all the time, and everybody who uses Twitter knows how to retweet. There are some other kinds of sharing that I do with Twitter, though, which I want to note here:


Twitter widgets. I am a huge fan of Twitter widgets. I have Twitter widgets in the sidebars of my blogs and, most importantly, a Twitter widget for my classes inside our learning management system. I've written a blog post about that which also explains the huge value I see in using Twitter for my classes: Bring a D2L Homepage to Life with a Twitter Widget


Classic Retweet extension. One of the most powerful things about Twitter is the hashtag (my Twitter widgets are hashtag-driven for example), so being able to add hashtags to content that I retweet is essential. This used to be standard in Twitter (when you retweeted, you could edit)... but Twitter took that option away. Luckily, though, you can use Classic Retweet extension (I use it in both Chrome and Firefox) to have the option to add hashtags to your retweets. This extension was a game-changer for me; if I can retweet with an extension, it greatly increases the value of the retweet for me and, often, for others as well.


Storify. This is another nifty tool for resharing Twitter content; for example, I've been using Storify to document and archive our Twitter chats. Here's the Storify of our chat last week about growth mindset:


Laura Gibbs

Top 3 Curation Tools for Reading

5 min read

Since I have been running a curation experiment here at Known this semester, I thought I would use this space to prep for the upcoming chat. I'll do two posts today, one about curation tools I use for READING (incoming) and the other about curation tools for SHARING (outgoing). [Update: Here is the post about sharing.]

... but here's the thing: the tools I use for reading ARE tools for sharing also! That is why I like these tools — Inoreader, Google+, Twitter — so much. In this post, I will focus on how I use these tools for reading, and in the other post I will flip the perspective and talk about how I use these tools for sharing.

Reading at INOREADER. I subscribe to lots of blogs and news feeds with Inoreader. I have a "must read education blogs" folder and a "higher education news" folder (Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle blogs, etc.) that I read religiously, along with an "OU feeds" folder for the (rare) blog post from my school. In addition to RSS standard feeds, Inoreader also allows you to subscribe to other social media: Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Since I am active at Twitter and Google+, I don't really read that content in Inoreader (although that feature is still very useful to me for purposes of sharing; more on that in another post), but I really value using Inoreader to collect Facebook feeds for my favorite Indian musicians.

Most days, that is all I have time to read, but that's plenty for me to feel like I am keeping up. If I ever felt like I needed more content to come into those folders, I'm sure I could go look for additional must-read blogs and education news feeds. But I think I've struck the right balance, especially since my reading is supplemented by the two sources below. I read Inoreader every day so I rarely get behind, but Inoreader is also very patient: because it uses a read/unread system (much like email), it's not a problem if I fall behind. It's very easy to get caught up.


Reading at GOOGLE+. This is my main personal network online (my G+ page), and I have a core circle of streams that I follow here. I don't always get to Google+ reader every day, and I don't always read everything in that core circle on the days I do find time, but that's okay. I just know that if I can find a half hour or, even better, an hour to spend at Google+, I will be the better for it!

Google+ is also a place for conversations, though, and that's why I sometimes miss out on Google+ on a given day: if I know that I am distracted and won't really have time to engage in some conversations as well as reading, I will skip Google+ for a day or two and then get back into it when I do have the time. I rarely go more than one or two days without a good Google+ romp, though (except for when I am out of town and totally offline).

Despite the search engine, Google+ is pretty useless for searching (the search options are bizarrely primitive: what's up with that, Google?). As time goes by, content becomes less and less easy to retrieve and access, so I really do miss lots of posts. But that's okay: I treat Google+ as a more ephemeral space for conversations, kind of like a giant cafe where people are hanging out online. I don't want or need to read everything, and I adjust my "must-read" circle so that I always can find something new but don't feel totally overwhelmed by the incoming posts in the stream.


Reading at TWITTER. I am latecomer to Twitter but it is now part of my everyday routine also. I have two Twitter accounts which I use for very different purposes: I have a "personal" account (OnlineCrsLady) which I use to follow people and programs at my school, and which I also use for Twitter chats and for participating in cMOOCs (I was much more active at Twitter when I was participating in ConnectedCourses for example). Then I also have a "class" account (OnlineMythIndia) which I use to follow content streams that are relevant to the classes I teach, and I am really amazed and delighted by the content I have found on Twitter this way.  More details:

OnlineCrsLady: I have devoted a lot of time and attention to building up the two University of Oklahoma lists that I follow pretty religiously: OU faculty/staff and OU programs. I rarely have time to do more than follow those two lists, but when I get a chance I follow the  hashtag. Since I find Twitter conversations so difficult, I don't really read much from people at Twitter aside from people at my school, even though many educators whom I really admire use Twitter very actively. For that kind of interaction, though, I prefer Google+ where conversations (at least for me) come much more easily.

OnlineMythIndia: Especially for the India class, Twitter has been an amazing resource. Through the great author William Dalrymple, I hooked up with a circle of people who share beautiful Indian art every day. Then I found other Indian authors at Twitter like Chitra Divakaruni, Samhita Arni, and Devdutt Pattanaik. That is really thrilling! I also follow some great content sources like the Smithsonian, OpenCulture, New York Public Library, Atlas Obscura, and on and on. Again, the "must-read" list I keep for this account is an ongoing balancing act, making sure I have plenty to read whenever I want but without feeling overwhelmed. I know that if I wanted to find more content out there to follow, I could!