GLOGSTER: a tool for creative expression (with awkward incentives for re-use..)

Last night around midnight, my colleague Monique Flaccavento (@mflaccavento) Tweeted:

I had to laugh because I could just picture Monique awake in her house, worrying about keeping abreast of trendy web services and social networking tools. I also laughed because she’s just really funny. Either way, I became curious about “Glogster” and started to investigate.

Glogster launched in 2007 as a platform for the creation of “posters” (kind of like web pages) to express oneself creatively and artistically through the use of both multi-media and text. It simplifies the practice of “creating” on the web, and fosters a space where a wider spectrum of abilities can craft and personalize their message. Inherently it encourages its users, or “gloggers”, to experiment with a wide range of visualization tools. This multi-facetted aspect of blogging is what makes Glogster unique. Basically, it’s the fusion of a traditional text blog, Tumblr, YouTube, and MySpace.

Some positive remarks about Glogster:

  • Glogster is very, very easy to use
  • It’s a great tool for classroom or group exercises, web promotion, and personal art-work/displays
  • Combines music, video, images, and colour with “limitless” customization
  • It’s FREE

Some critical remarks about Glogster:

  • Reading through the FAQ, there are several spelling and grammatical errors. Am I just picky, or does that rub other people the wrong way? I think it reflects poorly on the product and the leadership behind it.
  • The Glogster policies on “inappropriate content” are simultaneously both alarmingly open-ended and brief… see the screen-capture:

  • Why limit hate to “race” and ethnic background? What about every form of prejudice? I think a Muslim would feel offended by statements against his/her religion, and would deem it to be “inappropriate content”, as would a female to misogynistic language. Glogster admin. should update these policies to be more inclusive.
  • The creators of Glogster have added strange incentives for users to interact with, and even promote their site. They present users with “G-points”, described as “a reward for your activity on Glogster. Simply put – the more active you are, the more G you have. This includes creating good Glogs, inviting friends nd telling the world about Glogster. Promoting your Glog online and embedding it is worth most Gs” [Could you spot the typo?]. Further, the creators try to encourage (more like peer pressure) users to compete towards earning the elusive ‘G’: “People with a high G count are the most respected Gloggers. If you have lots of Gs, it means that you’re an elite Glogger.” Hmm.. Interesting ploy, but I’m not a fan of the incentive program. The subjective practice of deeming Gloggers’ Glogs to be “good” can leave others (whose consequently aren’t “good”) with the sentiment that their creative expressions are somehow less appreciated or valued.

Given the infancy of Glogster, I expect that its policies and services will expand and develop over time. The primary usership is teenagers (as you might notice from a quick glance at the page of “Best and Fresh Glogs”…), but a diversity of user groups exist. Additionally, see Glogster EDU marketed for use in the classroom (or the library, for you librarians out there with instruction responsibilities).

To end, read this hilarious review of Glogster by TechCrunch, it’s amazing. If you had a Geocities website a decade ago, you’ll appreciate the article even more.

“Home” for the Holidays

Ho ho ho, it’s Christmas Eve day!

I’m Presently in Fredericton, New Brunswick, spending time with my Mother over the Holidays. She moved here in January 2009 from my childhood home in Oshawa (A.K.A., The ‘Shwa’).

It was a bit of a pleasant shock to land at the airport and suddenly be immersed into a Winter Wonderland. There has been little to no snow in Toronto, contributing to my Scrooge-like attitude, but upon entering this snowy paradise, I am pumped for Yuletide traditions!

Spending the holidays in New Brunswick for the first time also makes me feel reflective and observant about my new “home-base” in the Maritimes. So on that note, Here Are A Few of My Favourite Things… about Fredericton:

  • City-wide Wireless Internet:
    Aptly called the “Fred-eZone“, the Municipality of Fredericton provides free Wi-Fi to its residents and visitors! What a marvelous Gift!
  • Fredericton reminds me of a smaller Ottawa:
    Being the capital city of the Province, Fredericton is dabbled with Provincial headquarters, historic buildings, and a certain feel that I find is similar to Ottawa… lots of lights downtown, and a lot of funding for parks, infrastructure, etc. It’s just a really nice place to be!
  • University of New Brunswick (UNB) & St. Thomas University:
    Atop the hill of Fredericton are the campuses  of UNB and St. Thomas University. I definitely have a thing for small primarily-undergraduate universities, so I have an appreciation and love for visiting campuses of these types of institutions. The buildings and campuses tend to be quaint, old, and historic, and they remind me of my own academic experiences at Acadia. They also have gorgeous academic libraries and research centres!
  • Friendliness:
    It’s not just a stereotype about the Maritimes… it is actually true! I studied at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia for four years, and my combined experiences of being in the Atlantic Provinces (including Newfoundland) has demonstrated to me that people here are genuinely, proportionately nicer and more considerate than city-dwellers of Ontario. No offense intended, but it’s been my objective observation for years, and I’m continuously reminded of this each time I visit the Maritimes. It’s nice to say “Hi” to a stranger in the grocery store, or converse with a friendly passer-by on the street. It is refreshing and puts a smile on your face!

I leave you now with the trailer for my favourite Christmas movie of all time: A Christmas Story (1983). Happy Holidays!!!

Rookie blogger

Howdy visitors! This homepage and blog is dedicated to my newfound free-time. I have very recently completed my Master of Information Studies degree from U of T, and have the ability (i.e. the time) to do things like read for pleasure, cook, create and contribute to a blog, etc. So this is one of the outlets that I’m using to fill my time, network, get experience with web 2.0 tools, be creative and all that fun stuff.

It feels like such a heavy weight has been lifted being done a term of school… but it still hasn’t really sunk in that I won’t be returning to a classroom in September. On Sunday night I was writing the last assignment for my final Masters course. When I was finished proofreading, I emailed the document to my prof., took a deep breath, and started to cry! I was overwhelmed with joy, pride, fear, and strangely, I knew that I was really going to miss all of those stressful and crazy times inherent with student life.

So. I’ve whiped my tears away, and am looking forward to new challenges and opportunities! Now that I’m done school, I’m still working very part-time with Robarts Reference, and cataloguing with Data, Map, & Government information services, while actively looking for full-time employment. Wish me luck!