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All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


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My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update





Sneaky spam?

I've been getting a number of comments on the Blue Skunk that look like this:

Margaret <> (Unregistered) commented on 13 Point Checklist updated:

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Pretty much devoid of content but with a very visible, active  link to an external website. Are these spam or some misguided marketing ploy? I've been deleting them.

I detest sneaks.

Or am I just being paranoid???


At the risk of adding gas to the fire...

@JConnell what does he [doug-johnson] expect? a medal, suspect it's some sort of code about his [perceived] superiority? #utterbollocks - theokk

Goodness. Such an outpouring of reactions to my cancelling my Twitter account. Looks like Twitter is a good addition to my "sacred cow" list. When such issues tend to get emotional, it makes me wonder if further investigation is needed.

First let me say that my dropping Twitter was in no way meant to be disparaging to those who DO find value using it. If you find Twitter the best thing since waffles on a stick, I couldn't be happier for you and certainly don't think any less of you. Really. Nor was the intent of announcing this decision a way to cast myself in any light other than that of an adult who is capable of understanding his own learning style and needs. If that is considered worthy of a medal, we are living in a sad age indeed.

As I pretty much expected, most commenters folks suggested my "failure" with Twitter was due to:

  • my lack of intelligence
  • my lack of time spent on the product
  • my lack of 21st century sensibilities - just not getting it

Caitlin summed it up pretty succinctly, writing, "If Twitter was too much noise and not enough value, you have only yourself to blame." It wouldn't be the first time charges of gross incompetence have been leveled at me. And remember, gross incompetence is 144 times worse than just regular incompetence!

One comment did give me serious pause, and perhaps helped me clarify why, in addition to personal ineptness, I found Twitter less appealing than others have. jyokley in praise of Twitter's immediacy wrote: "Twitter is more about instant gratification. I know what is on Joyce Valenza’s mind, almost as soon as she’s thinking it!"

Now you will not find a bigger Joyce Valenza fan than me in the entire world. It may well be due to Joyce's single handed efforts through her writing, speaking and personal example that the school library profession will move into a meaningful future. I try to read everything she writes, including her terrific blog "The NeverEndingSearch." And I consider Joyce not just a colleague, but a personal friend as well.

But what I appreciate most about Joyce (and Scott McLeod and Stephen Abrams and Miguel Guhlin and Kathy Schrock and Ian Jukes and David Warlick and the other couple dozen professional writers I "follow" through their blogs and magazine articles) is their considered, thoughtful responses and judgements about the world, not their "find o' the moment."

Today's information stream is a fire hose. It's Joyce's and other educational leaders' ability to discriminate between the novel and the important that appeals to me. As a procrastinator with subtle undertones of ADD, I need all the help focusing I can get - not more distractions.

As educators we believe that different students may indeed have different learning styles, and try to honor that individuality. Why should be not give each other as adults the same respect?

Something to think about the next time a teacher or administrator isn't willing to adopt the latest and greatest tool with which you may have fallen in love.


... tickets for the Inaugural Event are $50 but individuals promising not to multi-task (IM, e-mail, Twitter, etc.) during the event receive a 50% discount. - Information Overload Day (thanks to Stephen's Lighthouse for the link)



I killed my Twitter account

The third time giving Twitter an honest go didn't seem to be the charm. So I deleted my account and discarded my bookmark this morning.

You have my permission to do so as well, guilt free.

Basically Twitter just came down to too much noise; too little value. Yes, there were nuggets of information, but sorting through the "I had Raisin Bran for breakfast" and "Boy, is it humid!" and "I just posted on my blog" tweets to find them just wasn't worth it. My requests for information went unanswered. I did find a disturbing sort of pleasure in whacking people who posted inane comments by "unfollowing' them. I'll miss that.

My time spent Twittering I will now spend on reading books. Or watching movie previews on Hulu.

Now on my list of "stuff I just don't do:

  1. Texting
  2. Tweeting
  3. Chatting
  4. Shopping Cragislist
  5. Selling on E-Bay
  6. Podcasting

But Facebook is sort of growing on me...