A Django site.
March 23, 2009
» Glamlife Blog: Twitter and Facebook

Most students have probably heard of Facebook. Most students have probably got accounts. Twitter, on the other hand, may be new to you. It’s been around for a few years, and fans of Stephen Fry may have heard it mentioned a couple of times, but it’s only this year that it’s really taking off in the UK.

twitter logo

So, what is Twitter? If you have a Facebook account, the easiest way to imagine it is as a “Facebook Status” without any of the rest of Facebook attached to it. If you aren’t on Facebook, it may sound even stranger to your ears. Twitter allows users to post a message, up to 144 characters, on the internet. It also allows them to follow the messages that other people post. Some people post messages every few minutes, about every detail of their lives. If, for example, you want to know what goes on in the mind of Neil Gaiman at airports, or which swearwords Stephen Fry uses when stuck in an elevator (warning, contains swearing), you can find out through Twitter by “following” their updates. Others use Twitter as a way to have debates, or organise events, or for completely different purposes.

Some people call it a micro-blogging service, because that’s one way to use it. More than blogs, though, Twitter is about conversations. You will often see someone post a message that begins with @some_username – which means it is a direct reply to a comment made by someone else. There is an entire Twitter syntax building up, not unlike the way txtspeak spread amongst SMS aficionados.

Quite often, these conversations do not take place through computers, but through mobile phones. You can set up Twitter so you can post your tweets as text message – and you can even set it up to receive messages when your friends tweet. (To tweet is the verb for the act of posting a message on your twitter feed.)

So, what does Twitter have to do with Glamlife? Glamlife has a Twitter account, which is set up to automatically post any “Announcements” you might see on the front page of Glamlife on Twitter. This includes announcements for all faculties, so if you subscribe to the Glamlife Twitter feed, you might hear about more lecture cancellations than just the ones in your faculty. On the other hand, you can use your Twitter account to send messages to your mobile phone, which may be a handy way to find out whether you need to travel into campus or not without having to be at a PC with a web connection. And if the University is closed because of bad weather, you’ll be the first to know…

On a similar note, Glamlife also has a Facebook Page. If you are on Facebook, you can use our page to leave feedback or discuss issues / ideas related to the site, if you prefer that method to emailing us(glamlife@glam.ac.uk), filling in feedback forms, or posting comments on the blog.

As always, let us know your views!

January 30, 2009
» Glamlife blog: Reacting to feedback

We’re always keen to get feedback. Positive feedback delights us. Constructive feedback helps us make the site better. And abuse… actually, no, not quite as enthusiastic about that kind.

This week, one student emailed us to point out that it’s not easy to change the gravatars. Given that we’re currently offering £500 in prizes for people who do just that, we want to avoid disappointments. So we prepared a page about Gravatars for Glamlife, with a how-to guide. Hopefully, this makes things a little easier. Let us know what you think.

(By the way, the odds in the competition are very favourable right now. Well worth entering!)

Another student pointed out that our Quick Poll about RSS feeds was not as scientifically sound as it should be; it did not allow students who do not use RSS feeds, but know how to and what they are to select an appropriate option. We made a small change to the poll. Yes, it will skew the data, but we’re keeping a record of the results before the change, and after the change, so we can filter out useful information, after all. By the way, if there is anything you’d like us to put a Quick Poll on Glamlife about, get in touch, and we’ll see what we can do.

Of course, there are many ways to contact us. You can comment on this blog, or visit http://glamlife.glam.ac.uk/feedback/new (there is a link at the bottom of every Glamlife page), or, on our Reference / Directory pages, you can enter text into the feedback box and submit it.

If your feedback relates to the University as a whole, rather than Glamlife, you can visit Dimensions, where you can find out about different methods to leave feedback (and how the University as a whole reacts to it). For example, if you’re a final year student, you’ll probably hear a lot about the National Student Survey, which is running at the moment.