Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winsome Wednesday: The Plurk LIKE Button

When I first learned of ARPANET in science education groups, I wanted to be a part of these online interactions. When I participated in NSF programs, I began to use online interactions like email and forums. Over the past six years, I've moved on to the semantic web. I can't even imagine not having access to interactive applications such as Plurk.

I'm actively committed to include interactive web applications and networks in my professional development and teaching. Just as the Graphic User Interface, GUI, changed the way I "see" programs, the World Wide Web changed the way I interact in the World of Electrons.

At the core of all this online interaction is the ability to acquire a vast amount of information. What we do with that information, data, has been at the core of our quest to improve the interactive life. For that, we have data mining which is performed by various programs that have improved greatly over time. Data mining has been the impetus for the birth of the semantic web which has improved the way we visualize data.

Programs, sometimes called applets, turn a set of words (data) into lists or "clouds" that vary in size by the amount of time they appear in the set, like WORDLE. Other applets use lexical databases to create nodes based on the relationships among words, like VisuWords. Other programs or applets are tiny, yet powerful, like the new search capability of Plurk as it's presented through the new LIKE button.

The LIKE button is a way that anyone can mark and monitor a particular Plurk conversation by clicking on the LIKE button. While I've previously discussed the reasons why Plurk can be more effective for professional development or any other ongoing conversations on a particular topic than Twitter, I was a bit disappointed that there was no way to mark the Plurk Stream. Now there is. Use the LIKE button.

The LIKE button is very much like using a hashtag, only better. The main advantage is that you don't have to type a hashtag in every time you tweet on a topic. In Plurk, all you have to do is click on the LIKE button to put a particular conversation in a special collection that you can check to find out if the conversation has continued. You can also use the LIKE button to find the Plurk when you want to access the conversation for any other reason. The LIKE button is a magnificent data mining tool.

Those of us who use Plurk as the main source of our professional development know how great it is. If you aren't using Plurk, what's stopping you? Join me!

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