UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for May 2nd, 2007

Dodgy Blog Link Spam

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 2 May 2007

The first link I spotted from the admin section of my blog to Sheila Webber’s guest blog posting was entitled “Blogs and RSS May 1, 2007 3:29 pm”. That sounded of interest, so I followed it, to be presented with a porn site which had aggregated various postings on the subject of blogs and/or RSS.

The blog had also aggregated content on a variety of porn topics, but also the following:

yahoo>yahoo
photo>photo
picture>picture
streaming>streaming
travel>travel
girl>girl
cam-girls>cam-girls
free-rss-feeds>free-rss-feeds

I suspect the company isn’t doing anything illegal – it’s simply taking RSS feeds (often with Creative Commons licences)  and choosing its own preferred links, adverts and accompanying images.

But such services will possibly adversely influence link rating schemes, such as Technorati (although, to be fair, Technorati does seem to be quite good at filtering link and tag spam). But be warned – those links to your blog may not be all that they seem!

Posted in Blog | 3 Comments »

Social Networking Article in Forthcoming Education Guardian

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 2 May 2007

I have just had a phone call from a Guardian reporter who is writing an article for the Education Guardian which is due to be published next Tuesday.

Her feature is about “academics who argue that universities should relax their constraints on students’ use of MSN, MySpace and Facebook. They say these sites can actually be helpful for students and even help their academic work.” She asked for my views on why universities are imposing constraints on use of such services – and was, I think, somewhat taken aback when I suggested that many universities have moved on over the past few years and are acknowledging the potential benefits of such services. I gave example of the survey carried out by Edinburgh University of IT Service department policies on use of MSN Messenger. Although the report was internal to the University of Edinburgh, I did receive a copy, which included some great quotations such as the following which I used in a talk I gave on What Can Internet Technologies Offer? at the UCISA Management Conference way back in March 2004:

IM … is ‘here to stay’ – an ‘unstoppable tide’. Seen as part of youth culture, along with … SMS” – Liverpool John Moores University
Students will arrive familiar with, and expecting to .. use such tools. Email seen by younger people to be ‘boring’, ‘full of spam’, IM and SMS immediacy preferred” – University of Bath

From subsequent talks I’ve given to senior managers in IT Services (the most recent one on “Web 2.0: How Should IT Services and the Library Respond?“) I’ve got the feeling that, at a senior management level, IT Services are willing to embrace use of such technologies, leaving it to the academics to discuss the learning benefits and the challenges of assessing use of the services. And others have put it to me that it is actually other academics who would like to see such technologies based, and not the service departments. This was how I finished my contribution to yesterday’s Webinar on Web 2.0 for content sharing for learning and teaching in which I gave a talk on Content Creation: Web 2.0 Is Providing The Solution!.

Have IT Services redefined themselves, or does the management rhetoric fail to be implemented by the staff who are responsible for implementing such policies? And am I missing out on the general trends? Perhaps we are better served, in this respect, by BUCS, the Bath University Computing Service than other institutions?

Posted in Web2.0 | 4 Comments »