Weblog Technology

RSS/Atom Syndication Feeds – RSS and Atom are two standards of syndication format common to most weblogs. All content posted to a weblog is syndicated through RSS and/or Atom feeds, allowing others to “pull” the content to them for their own purposes. The most common “pull” is to a feed reader, which allows an individual to receive updated content from numerous sources all to one page. Another common form of pulling includes display of the content stream on other webpages.

Feed Readers – these are software applications that allow readers to aggregate numerous RSS/Atom feeds, giving them up-to-date information from various content sources of their choice. Some common feed readers are listed below.

  • Bloglines – our current feed reader of choice. It’s web-based, so you can check it from many different computers.
  • Google Reader – feed reading a la Google; also web-based. Integrated with other Google services.
  • Flock – a web browser with a nice built in feed reader.
  • Sharp Reader – a popular desktop feed reader for Windows users.
  • NewsNetWire – a popular desktop feed reader for Macintosh users.

Social Networking Tools

  • Tagging – these are user-assigned keywords that describe any given learning object. These tags are hyperlinked to one another, thus connecting similar content according to user description of that content. Tags can also be searched and aggregated. Flickr and Del.icio.us are a good places to explore tags in action. Also, see the Wikipedia entry on Tags, and a tutorial on using Del.icio.us (pdf).
  • Profiles – these allow people to create an online identity for the purpose of interacting with others. Profiles often contain information about the person, such as name, geographic location, profession, likes, dislikes, etc. Often the information on a given profile appears in the form of tags, linking the profile to those of others. Here’s an example a profile from Flickr, a profile from Livejournal, and a profile from Blogger.

Social Networking Sites – these are communities that often combine weblog technology, with social networking tools like tagging and profiles, to share some kind of content. Some are mostly text based blogging communities (like MySpace, Mixi, and Livejournal) while others are centered around photo sharing (Flickr), audio sharing (Odeo), video sharing (YouTube), bookmark sharing (Del.icio.us and Furl), and dream/goal sharing (43 Things). Many of these applications are designed to work in tandem with weblog technology, such as publishing photos from Flickr or videos from YouTube directly to a user’s weblog.

Read Jim Wenzloff’s guide to using Furl(pdf)

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