Blog Post 4: Wikis

I’m not here to tell you what Wikipedia is. I’m here to tell you about something that you don’t already extensively know – like, for instance, things about Muppets.

Did you know that in 1998, Miss Piggy had her own perfume released titled “Moi”? Neither did I, but there’s a whole page dedicated to it on the Muppet Wiki. It’s such a specialized website that anyone who wants really detailed information about this one topic – Muppets – can find exactly what they’re looking for. Do you want to know about Fraggle Rock? They’ve got that. Sesame Street? Done.

But why do these specialized wikis exist? Because what makes Wikipedia strong is its scope – the original Wiki has over 1 million pages in English alone. And while they range in topics from Tuktoyaktuk to Hindu deities, there isn’t a lot of room for, or interest in, topics that are right at home in UMW’s own Wiki.

And as you can imagine, there are a lot more specialized Wikis than just for Muppets and universities. Supernatural has its own wikispace to cover the canon content of the television show, and there’s also one for World of Warcraft (or WoW) so you can figure out just how much those Blues and Purples are worth. And, if that isn’t nerdy enough for you…

… there’s one for the entire Marvel comicverse.

So go on. Geek out. Wikipedia is a great starting point for any quest for knowledge and tidbits, and their thoughtfulness in leaving their code out for anyone to borrow or copy has led to a whole new world of available information. Just, you know. Be ready to lose a few hours in it.

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Blog Post 2: Microblogging

So, this Twitter thing.

I’m coming up on 1k tweets on my personal Twitter account – something I made back in the beginning of college, used for a few weeks, and recently returned to (first for one of Professor Whalen‘s classes, then for personal use. And you can tell that it’s an important daily tool because in one of my recent tweets I wondered aloud why I was drinking so much orange juice lately.

I’ll give you a moment to allow that philosophical depth to sink in.)

Mind you, there are people that are employing Twitter much more impressively than I am. What is important to remember about the site is that it’s a medium – no more, no less. You can have incredibly banal people reporting what traffic is like, or you can have stuff that’s really funny, or really important, or maybe both.

For funny, we turn to Drunk Hulk.

Drunk Hulk is an example of a fictional (and in this case inebriated) character who has a regularly-updated blog. Drunk Hulk reacts to the news of the day and often comments on pop culture and fashion…
…and sometimes on more pressing matters:

That’s not to say that all of Twitter is just for fun. The social networking capabilities of this site are huge, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by major interest groups. Quick searches of hashtags and commonly used words reveals lots of useful Twitter groups as well. GLBTadvocates is exactly what it says on the tin – they update regularly with news about discrimination in legislation, Focus on the Family, and reliable charities to donate to promote marriage equality. OnTopMag is another good example. It focuses not just on US issues but also links to international articles as well including linking to stories taking place Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.

Twitter is everything. It’s social networking, it’s keeping in touch with family, it’s common interests, it’s advocacy… but perhaps most importantly, it is drunken superheroes.

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