Filed under: iTools 101

Learning Online: Give yourself permission to play (and fail)

When I’m trying to teach people to use  online tools –Word Press, Google docs and etc.– I often say “just go ahead and play around, jump in and try stuff.  If you don’t like what happens, ‘undo’ it and do something else or dump that site (or doc) and start another. ”   It just occurred to me that what I’m saying has lot in common with the techie mantra “fail faster.”  That is, you are going to have to do a lot of stuff that doesn’t work before you get to the thing that does work, you can’t avoid that stage, so you might as well get to it and get through it.  It may seem like “playing” and “failing” don’t have much in common, but  if you can maintain a playful, experimental attitude while you learn,  you’ll try a lot more stuff a lot quicker, and feel a lot better when it doesn’t work the way you wanted the first few times.  For many people, though,  “playing” and “failing” are both  to be avoided at all cost. That’s because many of  us had it drilled into us  that if we were “playing” we were not “working” and that “failing” is well…..failure.  So how do you give yourself permission to “play” and “fail” with tech — so you can eventually “succeed” and get lots of  work done with your newly-mastered online tools?

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Leave a Comment August 11, 2010

Crocodoc: free, super-easy document sharing with a security downside

Crocodoc.com is a very simple service that may be just the thing if you need to  get quick, fuss-free feedback on a word document, PDF, or slide presentation.  But Crocodoc is a bit too stripped down for many purposes, and the tradeoff for extreme ease of use is a lack of security.   Here’s a  quick-review.

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Leave a Comment March 2, 2010

Twitter hashtags for new users

This morning’s terrible and sad news about the huge earthquake in Chile made me regret not explaining Twitter “hashtags” in yesterday’s post about  Twitter-for-beginners.  If you are one of the many people trying to use  Twitter for the first time today to follow events in Chile, or related news about a possible tsunami in many parts of the Pacific,  you can follow the instructions at the end of that post and also try this: when you search,  just add a pound sign —  #  — before your search term, like this:  #chile  or #tsunami. (more…)

Leave a Comment February 27, 2010

Twitter: news source, news outlet

Twitter can play a key role in bringing the news of the world  to you– and in taking news about you (and your company or organization) out to the world.  So if you still think of  Twitter just as a  way people tell friends what they ate for breakfast, maybe it’s  time to take another look.  A good place to start might be David Talbot’s recent article in MIT Technology Review. (more…)

Leave a Comment February 26, 2010


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