Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weaving on the Web #2

Weaving on the Web #2 - by Ruthe Stowe (assisted by Margaret Stowe)
as published in Fibre Focus Magazine Toronto Summer 2009

Twitter, RSS, Podcasts, Videos and Lists (hhhew…)

In the last issue we discussed online social networking and blogs. In this article I'll look at a few more of the new online tools available to weavers and fibre people for communicating our thoughts, creative ideas and news to our friends, family and peers using the internet.

There seem to be new web tools springing up all the time and new words for us to figure out. Take “Google” for example. The word doesn't have a meaning outside of its internet usage. Then there’s “Twitter”. It seems to be all the rage these days. It used to mean the chattering of birds but now it means something completely different and it’s becoming a household word. Twitter happens to be an acronym for (Typing What I'm Thinking To Everyone Reading). Basically it's for communicating quick thoughts or news items. “What are you doing?” Your posts or "tweets" must be short (140 characters) and sweet! Folks "follow" your twitter posts (also referred to as status updates) and can view your “tweets” either at Twitter or on other webpages (more on that below). People are finding creative uses for twitter. News networks use Twitter to broadcast news headlines. Musicians use Twitter to let others know where they are playing. If we apply the same thinking to our weaving world we may find that Twitter is a good place for us to let others know quickly about upcoming shows, sales and meetings or we could simply use it to let our friends know about current projects we're working on. It's mini-blogging, as they call it. It is like broadcasting your own personal news headlines and you can even display your “tweets” on other webpages, like your website or blog if you have one. If you haven’t already done so, go to www.twitter.com and sign up.

A very handy way to use Twitter is with an RSS feed and that brings us to another new acronym “word”, RSS Feed. Others “subscribe” to your Twitter RSS Feed and you can subscribe to theirs. Now what does that all mean? Here’s a little bit about RSS Feeds and don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.

This picture shows what your Feeds look like in your Favorites menu if you are using Internet Explorer. (You can also see from the picture that I have already subscribed to the WeaveCast RSS Feed and to the Weaving World Twitter RSS Feed, as well as the BBC News).

This is what the RSS Feed logo looks like on a webpage.

RSS: (Really Simple Syndication) - a way of seeing updated web content such as blog entries, news headlines, podcasts or Twitter posts. You will see the RSS logo on webpages that offer RSS Feeds. Keep your eyes open for it. You can “subscribe” to an RSS feed by clicking on this logo, then “ Subscribe to this Feed”. All of the feeds that you’ve subscribed to will show up in the Favourites menu of your browser. Just click on it and any new items or posts will be displayed right in your browser. So you don’t always have to go looking for a website to see the news headlines or your friend’s new blog posts. It comes directly to you.

Twitter is an excellent place to learn how RSS feeds work. It’s easy to set up and use with Twitter. If you subscribe to someone's Twitter "feed" then all you have to do is click on your Favorites then click on Feeds and lo and behold your friend's Twitter posts will instantly appear on your browser window.

You can receive all kinds of "digital content" in an RSS Feed including pictures, audio (spoken word and music) and podcasts. Wait a minute! What’s a podcast?

A podcast is simply a Blog with sound (always), pictures and video (sometimes). There are all kinds of podcasts about every possible subject on the internet including weaving. You can also find mini-documentaries, radio shows, interviews and news programs. Below is a list of some weaving-related podcasts that I found easily. Podcasts also use RSS Feeds, so if something interests you, go ahead and subscribe.

The Art of Weaving Colonial Williamsburg Podcasts:
WeaveCast is an internet-based talk radio show about handweaving. You’ll want to subscribe to this RSS feed for sure! It’s available at:
www.weavecast.com/ or from the WeaveZine website: http://www.weavezine.com/
Voices on Cloth: there are some interesting podcasts on this link by Karen Selk and others:
You can find podcasts with videos about knitting at this link:
Learn how to work with silk hankies and how to spin with them in this video:
The Amateur Traveler goes to Oaxaca Mexico to meet Felipe Hernandez, a 4th generation weaver:
Here’s a video I found on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7bra3Fjtnk. This is a beautiful video showing spinning, dying and weaving in the remote village of Rajasthani India. Amazing!

You can also find lots of videos relating to weaving, knitting and fibre arts at www.youtube.com/. Simply enter the topic you are looking for in the search window and surf away. The accompanying picture shows one of the many videos about weaving I found on YouTube.

Many of you have joined (or subscribed to) a 'list'. A List is an email-based community where you ask questions (there are no dumb questions!) and discuss fibre things (or not!). They are fun. You don't have to contribute, you can just read and 'lurk' until there’s a discussion that intrigues you. Feel free to jump right in and contribute your two cents worth. For fibre people, there is a Weaving List, a Spinning List, Knit List etc. You can join special Tech lists also: WeaveTech, Tech Knit and Tech Spin. (These Tech lists don't allow any chat about other things - just serious business!)
Tip: I recommend that when you join a list, sign up for the 'digest' form of receiving the communications - that way it is all in one email.
You can find a whole list of 'lists' on my website under "Fibre Related Mailing Lists":

I hope that I have helped you to understand some of the terms, and inspired you to explore these new, fun multi-media internet tools. If you have any questions about the Web, I will try to answer them in a future issue, with humour. Don't forget - there's no such thing as a stupid question! Email me at: ruthe@weavingworld.ca
Here is a link to my blog: www.weavingworld.blogspot.com/ You can also keep abreast of weavingworld website updates on Twitter. Here is the url www.twitter.com/weavingworld. Subscribe to my Twitter RSS feed by clicking on the orange RSS button.

Have fun with podcasts and videos and see you on Twitter!

Ruthe Stowe

1 comment:

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