Another three years … what’s next? #CMALT

In November 2013 I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and achieved the much lauded CMALT accreditation. Three (and quite a bit) years later I have successfully completed the required three year review to keep my status as CMALT certified valid. So, what’s happened?

Firstly, for those interested, here are some links to previous posts I’ve written about both the process of gaining CMALT accreditation with the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and what it means to me:

From my submitted review, here is the 500 word summary that is required (but not part of the assessment). Bear in mind the 500 word limit … you try and condense three and a bit years into an effective and appropriate summary for the portfolio!

My current role is so vastly different to the work I was doing when I gained my CMALT back in November, 2013, that it’s quite difficult to ‘update’. This will be a good exercise in understanding how I have changed, within myself, as well as my work and professional outlook.

I joined Warwick Business School (WBS) in May, 2014, as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, a world away from the role I held at Leicester. The main differences are in the line management of a team and the level of responsibility for core Business School activity.

Since first obtaining my CMALT I have

  • developed MOOCs for Warwick University and managed the partnership with FutureLearn,
  • taken an increasingly active role in WBS for aspects of teaching and learning on the world’s no. 1 Distance Learning MBA and on internally developed and run SPOCs, and
  • written two further books on the subjects of educational technology.

For the Warwick MOOCs I have:

These MOOCs have taken me, and my skills, further than I ever could have managed. Not only have I managed the development of these MOOCs (both technically and pedagogically) but I have developed my skills and responsible, across different faculties, for various aspects of the developing online courses, internally for WBS and externally on behalf of Warwick, including:

  • Line managing a team of four excellent videographers who have filmed, edited, rendered, tested and maintained consistently high quality of materials for the Warwick MBA and Warwick MOOCs, including audio manipulation, studio green-screen, on- and off-campus filming duties (author Stephen Fry, on-location filming at John Lewis Partnership and the House of Commons, and the wonderful Sir Ian McKellen).
  • Designing and implementing materials and activities for the Warwick online MBA, to match the course objectives, learning journey, and ensuring the intended outcome and assessment criteria are met.
  • Self- and team-management skills to enable multiple courses to run multiple times each year, as well as planning and maintaining the team’s ability to film and edit materials from multiple sources and for multiple courses.
  • Multi-discipline negotiations on course design and development.
  • Managing facilitator engagement in the run up to new course presentations as well as their engagement and input during each presentation and the differing experiences each cohort of learners bring.

Internally at WBS I work closely with academic groups, module leaders and tutors to develop new modules, redevelop existing ones (based on changes to the subject area and student feedback), engage with the academic groups to share and collaborate across the MBA disciplines and report on developments to the School’s senior management team.

As promised I’ve updated my Google sites CMALT portfolio with a new page for my (first) 3 year review.

So, what will the next three years bring … ? Exciting stuff, cant’ wait!

What’s next for MOOCs?

I’m not going to get in to the detail of whether MOOCs have been the disruptive element for learning as many opined four or five years ago, many have written much more eloquently on this than I ever could. For more just search for related terms or read this and this and this and this.

I will, however, pass a few words and a little judgement on one aspect of some of the developments I’ve been following for ‘online learning’ – accreditation. 

Firstly, has anyone else noticed that the original MOOC platforms don’t refer to the courses that are offered through them as MOOCs anymore? Even the platform that pushed ‘free online learning’ at every opportunity has dropped the ‘free’ from nearly all pages and courses. Obviously the ‘free’ business model was never going last long once the platforms realised that they had massive overheads to cover (staff, hosting, support, development, etc.), and that doesn’t cover the costs incurred by partners to develop the courses either.

For me online learning, whether it’s an degree awarded from an established College or University or a ‘free’ MOOC-esque course, has always been about the value the course is able to offer the student taking it. That value is both about the actual content and subject as well as the value the new knowledge has to the individual who has taken (and presumably passed) the course.

This value could be the

  1. personal satisfaction in gaining new or further knowledge,
  2. learning about a new skill or subject that has semi-professional interest (a subject at the periphery of the individual’s profession, but is not essential to it) or
  3. something that is specifically relevant to the individual’s immediate role or career progression.

Learning is but one side of the reason someone will invest time and effort into learning. The learning needs a purpose – undertake a course on Shakespeare because you’ve always like his plays and want to know more about the plays and playwright. A family member is diagnosed with dementia and you want to know and understand more about the condition, etc. This is all well and good, but people who take courses for these reasons are unlikely to buy any kind of certificate or further learning opportunity from it. They are likely to go on and take other related courses, again to further their understanding.

People who take online courses who are doing it for a professional purpose (changing job or role, career progression, professional interest, etc.) are more likely to purchase some form of certificate, but it’s still not guaranteed. I’ve taken (well, started!) a few MOOCs related to my job and interests, and finished one (the #EDCMOOC)! 

For me, the future of this kind of learning is what the course can really offer those people who complete it. A certificate is not enough – being able to show I completed 75% or 95% or another arbitrary number of the steps and all test questions means next to nothing. The certificate does not give any indication to whoever I show it to about what I had to do to get those steps completed or whether the test were 5 questions or 50. Did the course have an active educator or was it facilitated by an academic (not the course creator) or student from the partner institution? Was it facilitated at all, or just a click-next learning journey with a few tests or discussion points?. No, for me, if I’m going to pay for the course ‘certificate’ it needs to show something much much more. It needs to show how valuable it is to the industry I work in. Sometimes even the institution that created course isn’t enough pull for the certificate to mean anything.

A medical MOOC certificate would mean so much more if it was accredited by the International Council of Nurses, a marketing course accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, etc. Not only could / should the course offer the opportunity to earn valuable CPD points but the accredited course outcome should be something a current or future employer would look at and immediately see the value to them; that this candidate is coming to work here with a good resumé, has shown initiative by taking further learning opportunities and is showing the skills to find and evaluate the courses that will offer them the best opportunity to further themselves.

I don’t think the way forward for MOOCs is for degree-credits either but it’s a popular route, probably as it’s easier to sell to the University partners than anything else. Only time will tell. 

What’s a NGDLE?

I think we’re all interested in what our VLE or LMS will look like, or indeed what it should already look like. Whilst much has been talked and written about it, perhaps this visualisation from Bryan Mathers is the best view of it yet – the “Next- Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE)”. And it incorporates Lego so well – the Lego base is the overall requirement with each building ‘block’ being added as and when they’re required – personalisation, collaboration, accessibility, etc.

According to the Educause report, the emerging needs of a NGDLE are these:
“Its principal functional domains are interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design. Since no single application can deliver in all those domains, we recommend a “Lego” approach to realizing the NGDLE, where NGDLE-conforming components are built that allow individuals and institutions the opportunity to construct learning environments tailored to their requirements and goals.”

So what will a NGDLE look like?

So what will a NGDLE look like? by @bryanMMathers is licensed under CC-BY-ND

When PowerPoint goes bad

What are your pet peeves about using PowerPoint? Is it the tool itself or how people use it?

I use PowerPoint, and think it is a good way to engage students and staff, and can be used as a way to spur enjoyment, engagement and interest in your subject. But that’s more about how the tool is used rather than the tool itself. So, here are some observations I’ve made over the years about PowerPoint, and how people use it ‘badly’:

  • Font – Inconsistent use of fonts across the slide deck, or even on the same slide. Using fonts that really don’t work on screen (like Times New Roman), or using Comic Sans. Please. Don’t.
  • Images – So you found Google images or another such image search. You’ve copied the image to your slide and it looks good. It doesn’t. That small image might look OK on your screen, but test it in a classroom or lecture theatre, you’ve stretched it so much it’s pixelated so much it’s almost unrecognisable.
  • Words – Writing your whole lesson in PowerPoint and spending half the lesson with your back to the class so you can read from the projector screen. Same goes if you stand behind the lectern PC and read of that screen instead.
  • Bullet points – PowerPoint makes it too easy to use them, but that doesn’t mean you should (yes, I can see the irony as I’m using them here too).
  • Colour / Templates – Just because you can lots of colour or standard PowerPoint templates doesn’t mean you should. Keep it simple so your key message shines through – the more colour / mess on the slide will only detract or hide your content.
  • Charts / Tables – Do you really need that chart or table that shows 50 different points of information.
  • Animation – I’ve never found animated stars or arrows to help the presentation. If the slide is structured properly you shouldn’t need them.
  • Clipart – Please. Don’t.
  • Volume – You may feel that your one hour presentation needs 100 slides. I’m pretty sure your audience/class doesn’t. 

If in doubt about any aspect of your use of PowerPoint, the best time to find out how you’re doing is now, while you’ve time to go and check it all out and not half way through the most important presentation of your career. Would you rather a slightly awkward conversation in private now or suddenly realise the conference venue has emptied for lunch 45 minutes early, just after you start your 16th of 135 slides?

Go find your friendly learning technologist (yes, we are friendly!), ask us to look over it and tell you what we think. We will be honest but we’ll be critical and, most importantly, constructive. We will offer support and suggestions, we will give your pointers on how to cut the information on the slides (and how to deliver it too, if you want) and we will be there to help you feel comfortable creating slide decks in future and deliver them. Every learning technologist I’ve ever met will do this, without question and without judgement; we’re just happy we can offer our expertise and make your job easier (and more successful).

There are plenty of online tutorials and help websites if you want to find out yourself about using PowerPoint ‘well’. Try sites like this and this and this.

If in doubt this video – Life after death by PowerPoint – will help you see the error of your ways.

Image source: EU PVSEC (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reading: Lurkers as invisible learners

I’ve always been annoyed at being called a ‘lurker’, it’s a term that has a different meaning for me when talking about the engagement, or not, of students in an online class – read my post ‘Listener or Lurker?’ from 2013. In this instance the paper ‘Learners on the Periphery: Lurkers as Invisible Learners‘, by Sarah Honeychurch and colleagues, defines as a ‘lurker’ or ‘silent learner’ or ‘legitimate peripheral participant’ as.

“… hard to track in a course because of their near invisibility. We decided to address this issue and to examine the perceptions that lurkers have of their behaviour by looking at one specific online learning course: CLMOOC. In order to do this, we used a mixed methods approach and collected our data via social network analysis, online questionnaires, and observations, including definitions from the lurkers of what they thought lurking was … [our] research findings revealed that lurking is a complex behaviour, or set of behaviours, and there isn’t one sole reason why lurkers act the ways that they do in their respective communities. We concluded that for a more participatory community the more active, experienced or visible community members could develop strategies to encourage lurkers to become more active and to make the journey from the periphery to the core of the community.”

I’m far more comfortable with the terms used here, and reasons why students don’t engage perhaps how we’d like them to, or indeed in the way we design the course. We need to accept and address that not everyone taking online learning, whether it’s a free MOOC, paid-for CPD course or fully online degree, wants to be social, vocal, or indeed visible in the online environment. We can provide the base materials and ask the students to go off and read around the subjects, we can offer opportunities to engage and ‘test’ themselves on different types of course activities. The only way we know the students are engaging in the subject and materials is usually if we assign marks or grades to the activities, especially if those marks carry weight on the course’s final grade.

Reference

Honeychurch, S., Bozkurt, A., Singh, L, and Koutropoulos, A. (2017). Learners on the Periphery: Lurkers as Invisible Learners. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning. [online] Available at: http://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&sp=full&article=752 [Accessed 21 Jun. 2017].

Why CMALT is important to me #altc

It’s coming to that time of year when I start planning for the Annual ALT conference: #ALTC. My annual review is complete, ALTC was discussed and it’s been approved that I can attend again. This will be my fourth ALTC, and this year we’re in Liverpool.

But my reflective mind is going back to my CMALT qualification, and why it is still so important to me. Earlier this year I wrote my three-year review to keep my CMALT credential current and valid. Whilst I wait for the response and, hopefully, approval, I still think of both the process I went through to gain CMALT in the first place as well as the on-going process of how I keep myself (as well as my CMALT) current. I will update my portfolio with the review text when I know I’ve passed.

  • This is Part 16 in my series where I am posting on my thoughts about being a Learning Technologist. This, and the previous posts can be found in the What is a Learning Technologist series.

I have spent time reading and investigating the various online masters course, as gaining further qualifications in and around my work is something I believe I can benefit from, but I’ve yet to find one that really interests me. There’s also the cost both financially and in time that, at the moment, I’m just not prepared to commit to. I also believe that a lot of our work, us learning technologists, is about doing the work and learning about doing the work, and I am still very sceptical of formal masters level courses offering the kind of content that can help with the day to day work. This is another reason I find CMALT more applicable to my line of work – my CMALT portfolio is my work linked to the core areas the portfolio is assessed on. It didn’t feel like a formal assessment, but it is, and it didn’t feel an onerous task either. 

I’ve also been, if you haven’t already noticed, quite busy and have written four books – QR Codes in Education, The Really Useful #EdTechBook, Emergency Rations #EdTechRations and What is a learning technologist? Without the ALT community and CMALT reflective exercises these projects would not have been possible. I also feel that I have grown because of the CMALT process, both personally and professionally, and find myself in a very good role at Warwick Business School and as a CMALT Assessor.

For me being CMALT qualified is essential to our role and gaining a qualification that can demonstrate our abilities and worth to the often sceptical academics we meet as well as giving us a trusted and valued voice with college or university management. Learning technology is important, as are the people like you and me who are the support, demonstrators and voices helping understand and navigate the tools and techniques.

If you’re interested in CMALT, wonder what it’s all about, already completed your CMALT and are thinking ahead to the three-year review here are a few posts you will find useful:

  • Chatting about CMALT – CMALT session at ALTC 2016, and my reflection on what it’s like on the other side, the reviewer and assessor (Sept 2016).
  • Three years of ALTC and CMALT – written for the ALT blog here I again reflect on the importance of the three ALTC events I’d attended, and how they’d impacted my CMALT journey and understanding of my role(s) (Sept 2016).
  • Editing and co-authoring for online publication – written for the ALT blog I am again reflecting on my connections and network that I’ve grown through the ALT community, and where CMALT has made a difference in my own view and perspective (May 2017).
  • ALT CPD: rebooted – A frank and open discussion at the 2014 ALT CPD event, these are my slides and ‘what it means to be a learning technologist’ (Nov 2014).

Don’t believe me? These people all agree CMALT is valuable. And this is just the list of people already passed, I’m sure the list of those working towards it is larger still! 

Image source: David Hopkins

Book review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F**k

As part of getting to grips with an ever changing work environment, duties,line management, and other work-related ‘difficulties’ AND the very volatile political and cultural changes the world is being dragged through I have started reading some books that might help me to both understand myself and how I deal with, well, life.

To this end I’ve been reading some books that have either been recommended to me by someone I know and trust, or the Amazon algorithm showed me “you read this so we think you’d like this”, or I just like the cover. This book, by Mark Manson, is a bit of both … ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F**k‘.

This book says it like it is. It’s a “dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today”, the book is an “antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.”

You quickly become accustomed and desensitised to the strong language in the book. Yes, there’s f**k and s**t everywhere, often used to strengthen the feeling of insecurity or lack of control, but it’s also used quite unnecessarily in many instances just for the shock factor. After the first chapter you’re at ease and almost ignore the language, but the language is part of what the book is about. Shock. Shock you into reflection and action.

“Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience.”

This is a book for the reader to engage in a meaningful and reflective way. By observing ourselves and how we act and react to the world around us we can begin to understand how we take on too much responsibility. 

I ought to say this book isn’t about how to avoid responsibility. It isn’t. It’s about how to identify things that are important in your life, and those that are not. It’s about choosing what you can do something about and the things you can’t, and how you handle the work, emotions, individuals, etc. that you feel you constantly battle against. How do the actions and motives of others affect you, how are they able dump their own inadequacies or responsibility on you and how you choose which to accept? 

The biggest take away I’ve had from this book is an clearer understanding of why I get stressed, or rather what influences I choose to accept that make me stressed. The latter half of the book is building you back up once the first half has taken you apart.

“At its core, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a book about finding what’s truly important to you and letting go of everything else. In the same way that [Mark] encourages limiting exposure to mindless distractions such as social media, television and technology, he encourages limiting concern over things that have little to no meaning or value in your life.” Huffington Post

As a Teaching and Learning Consultant / Senior Learning Technologist I find distraction as part of my work – unanswered emails, line management responsibilities, delayed or late learning resources, cancelled meetings or no-shows, etc. As work piles up or deadlines loom I feel it is my responsibility to manage these tasks, even if there are others who are or should be doing it too. I know I care too much about my work and I focus on the things I should perhaps trust to others, but I also know the results we should be aiming for and, should we miss them, I take it personally and get stuck in myself. This, as Manson says, may solve one problem but it is more likely to cause more further down the line.

This is why this has been a good book to read, and eye-opener into me and my priorities, and one I’ll no doubt return to in time. When read alongside or after Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull there are some powerful lessons we could each learn about ourselves, the place we work, and how we work with both.

The other book shown in the header image, ‘Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World‘ by Cal Newport, is next on my list. More soon, when I can concentrate long enough to not be distracted by all the… squirrel! Oh, the irony!

Image source: David Hopkins (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Book Review: Ready Player One

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, some work related, some classic fiction (see my other blog, ‘100 school books‘), and some purely for pleasure. This is one of the latter, purely for pleasure.

‘Ready Player One’ (RPO) is the first book from Ernie Cline and, I must say, a brilliant one too. Taking an obvious passion for 80s pop culture and early games and gaming platforms, Cline has woven a view of a dystopian and gritty future into games and gaming lore, using Easter Eggs from games and films as a starting point to getting VR-enabled characters and a storyline into a complex story of, ultimately, loyalty and hard work. The story centres around a quest to find the Easter Eggs hidden inside the OASIS, a virtual reality platform used by everyone. And I mean everyone. It’s bigger than anything, including Governments (sound familiar?). Created by the mysterious James Halliday, OASIS is akin to a world where Facebook meets Second Life, but on a much larger scales then each of those has even thought or dreamed of. When Halliday dies and has no heir to his fortune, he leaves a simple quest … everything he has (including control of OASIS) will go to the person who finds the eggs and solves the riddles. There are three of them, and in the six years since his death no one has even found the first. The world is literally just waiting for the real quest to start, and ultimately end, before it moves on. 

And there starts the quest, the loyalty, the betrayal and the general quest to find and solve the puzzles. We focus on one person, his background, his avatar and his journeys through real-life and OASIS. Wade (real name) and his avatar (Parzival) come from the wrong side of life, orphaned and living with an uncaring aunt, he disappears to his hide-out and links to OASIS, where he is schooled and socialises. Wade progressed from a real school to a virtual one. 

I’m sure many of us reading RPO would recognise the idea of a virtual classroom, the concept it has matured and developed in RPO to the point where the brightest graduated from real-life classrooms to the OASIS / VR version. Whole schools exist in OASIS on a dedicated learning planet, ‘Ludus’, government-supplied VR headsets and equipment are available to students who are good enough for these schools, and it is from here Wade/Parzival can travel around OASIS. Travel is limited to those with enough credits, earned through quests or battles fought, or bought outright. Lessons are controlled, attendance is required and checked, too much absence could/would result in expulsion and having to return the VR headset, Wade’s only way of accessing OASIS and trying to solve the first clue to finding the Easter Eggs that will, he hopes, lead to the riches Halliday has left in escrow.

This is an awesome book, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if, like me, the majority of references to 80s TV shows (US only) and games are completely lost the details and cleverness of the clues and Easter Eggs will not be lost on the reader, and the suspense of the twists near the end (no spoiler from me, just go read it) will totally grip you.

Oh, and I read this properly, paperback. It seemed respectful to the book subject to read it in paperback, as it would’ve been presented in the 80s, where the books is kind of set (despite actually being set in the year 2044).

It is also worth noting that this is also about to become a Stephen Spielberg monster film (in the good sense), but I would be highly cautious of how much of this complex story of the future and past he will be bale to get into 90-120 minutes. This could quite easily be a 6-10 part mini-series, and would probably do a cleaner job of being true to the book if it was, but I’ll wait for judgement until I see Spielberg’s version … 

Scores:
Held my interest: 9/10
Captured my imagination: 10/10
Worth reading: 10/10
Overall: 10/10

Image source: CG Society

With what shall I remember the future?

I read an article this morning from Martin King, which got me thinking.

I feel quite reflective these days, so Martin’s question resonated with me:

“I wonder what the world will be like 50 years from now – what will life be like in 2067! I’d like to record what I think life will be like in 2067 but how should I do this?”

Reflecting on my photographic history I got something very like the Kodak 500 for my 7th or 8th birthday (late 1980s). A film cartridge was something like £2-5, developing slightly more, so not something I wasted shots on. A film of 24 photos would usually last a year, or for a holiday/event. At the time my dad had a Kodak SLR and had his photographs developed as slides and we used to have family slideshows. Over the years I got a bigger and better camera and, in time for my wedding, got a more up to date camera, a Canon IXUS II with the APS film type. This was great, the ability to change the photo size (classic, HDTV and panoramic) and a reasonable zoom, for the time.

Again, the stumbling block here was the cost of the film and developing. but digital was already on the way. At this time the cost of digital was higher than film-based cameras, and the availability of good quality home printing or online services was extremely limited.

Fast forward to spring 2017 and I’ve progressed through a couple of digital cameras and now have a good quality digital camera in the shape of a Sony HX90V, and my phone (iPhone 6S+). I back all photos and video up to Dropbox and because of the size of my collection, I pay for the larger 1TB storage. 

But of course, this isn’t ‘remembering’ as such, it’s collecting or collating the past in photographic form. How will I remember the future? I was impressed with the concept of Google Glass, but the technology seems to have lost it’s way – all we have to show from it now is the SnapChat equivalent, the Spectacles. We’ve lost the innovation around augmented in-time content from the Google offering and just developed it in to something quite immature and superficial. yes, we can take and share photos instantly (but not on Instagram, for me at any rate), but we should have, and expect, so much more. Are developments in augmented reality/AR going to shape our future? If ‘Ready Player One‘ is any indication (a book I’ve just started reading) it’ll be a smartphone killer if it has the catch-all purpose (and financial incentive from the likes of the OASIS developer James Halliday in the book).

Wearable technology will soon become more personal and ‘invasive’, actually part of us, and us of it. We already have smart watches and rings and fitness trackers. We even have the promise (?) of connected contact lenses (again from Google) for diabetes care. So when will memories be recordable and transferable? Will advances in medicine enable the fabled Star Trek Tricorder, a non-invasive medical instrument? That is the future I am waiting for. Maybe not enthusiastically, but certainly waiting for.

Interesting further reading, if you want to:

Image source: James Lee (CC BY 2.0)

So long Instagram, it was fun

Yesterday I switched off another network, Instagram.

There are a few reasons for this. It was inevitable, really. So how did it get to this and why?

  • Whilst I used to love the filters, and making my relatively mundane photos look fun or interesting, I am fed up with seeing everything else through a filter.
  • The search was pretty useless; you couldn’t save a search, there were accounts or #hashtags I wanted to keep track of but not follow, etc.
  • The app would regularly hog over 1GB of storage, and on a 16GB iPhone that’s a whole heap of space I could use for something else.
  • Until this last week there was no two-factor authentication, and lots of stories of people hacked and locked out of the accounts.
  • Facebook owns it, therefore we’re all feeding into the Facebook approach to security and data access.
  • Spam. At the end I was getting 5-10 likes per photo from spam accounts selling 1000’s of likes or followers, usually using a busty woman as their avatar, and with a randomly generated username. I was also blocking 2-5 accounts per day who started following me. They were inappropriate or accounts (not people, they were mostly bots fishing – of phishing – for followers and likes) I didn’t want to be associated with.
  • I don’t ‘do’ selfies. 
  • Instagram T&Cs state it can use my photos whenever and wherever it wants.
  • Ads. Oh, the bloody ads and promoted accounts. And the fake accounts.
  • Everyone I know/knew on Instagram I am also connected with on either Twitter or Facebook, so I will probably see their (your) filtered snaps at some point.
  • The pressure to post something interesting. Regularly.

I deleted the app a week ago. Initially I missed it, really missed it, as I used to search for things of interest: motorbikes, lifestyle, research places, etc. But I can find the exact same things elsewhere, I don’t actually need Instagram for that. I can still see their Instagram photos using the web interface anyway [wink]. Examples: here and here.

I started using Instagram probably about 6 years ago (I can’t check the exact date now, the account is deceased), shortly after it launched, and used it mainly for conference and workshop activity. Over the years I do less of that now, but still took more photos of family, locations, food, etc. (like everyone else). But, and here’s the real reason, I was becoming more and more desperate to try and find something new to do or somewhere new to go just so I could check-in (I dumped FourSquare back in 2012) or tag myself there, and share a photo even I found pretty boring. My phone stored the original photo and the filtered version so, unless I deleted them off my phone in a vain attempt at recovering some lost storage, I’ve still got the photos.

It’s kind of sad really, this is all that’s left … “Sorry, this page isn’t available.” I kind of wished I had the option to ‘leave a message’ when I disabled the account, leaving one photo as some sort of tribute to the 2.5k or so photos I created in Instagram.

What do other people say about quitting Instagram? Read this and this and this and this. Most search results are of the likes of Bieber (I can’t believe I’ve just included him on my blog. I feel dirty) or Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, but for reasons of harassment. This is another reason I am considering my online activity. I’ve not been the subject of anything like this – I’ve had a few ‘tough’ tweets from someone who didn’t agree with me, but that’s part and parcel of a generic conversation, not only online activity, so I accept that.

So, if I’ve taken this step, is any other network at risk of being culled? Well, yes, I’ve already written about my (current) mood and Twitter. I’ve also talked about deleting my Facebook account too – I deleted the app a year ago and only use a browser to access it now. I’ve not deleted FB, yet, because there are friends I keep in touch with only through FB. But let’s be honest, it’s not really keeping the friendship alive, it’s just keeping in very-lose touch, stalking them almost. I might just take the plunge, posting one last update saying

“I’m going to delete my Facebook account. if you want to stay in touch you have one week to send me a message or reply saying you want to stay in touch. We’ll exchange phone numbers, email and postal addresses, and stay in touch the nice old way. And arrange to chat and meet up more regularly too. How about it?”

Here are some articles about breaking up with Facebook: here and here

Image source: Pexels (CC0)