For the past 2 days I have attended Blogtalk2010 at NUI Galway. The theme is “Learn about social media; imagine the future of social networks”.

The first day was a packed day with great speakers: Darragh Doyle, Declan Elliot, John Conroy, Blaine Cook, Henry Story, Dan Gillmor.

Darragh Doyle described as a platform that “was never designed to be successful, just designed to talk”.  In March 2010 had 2 million visitors. Darragh has seen more users joining the site and a rise in less tech-savvy user joining the site, this has had an impact on the way that people present themselves on the site, often people are now prepared to use their ‘real’ names rather than pseudonyms , so people are showing true representation of themselves in the online world.

John Conroy described his investigation of twitter data and its possible uses. Predictive modelling is a process by which a model is created to predict the probability of an outcome; this can be carried out by investigating twitter data. John used an example of predicting holiday destinations of twitter users.  Twitter streams were examined for holiday ‘tweets’ and then models developed to display destinations of users.  Examination of twitter data is used for market research and perhaps could potentially be used for academic research purposes in the future.

Declan Elliot described the events in trying to set up a ‘hackerspace’ (creative space for programming development) in Galway and has since founded  091labs. This space brings together programmers who are often self-taught so they can engage in or peer- to-peer learning. Originally the group met in a coffee shop in Galway but now they have secured premises just off Eyre Square. After this presentation I got talking to one of the members (Adrian Avendano ) and he has used 091labs as a springboard to write an iPhone app (

Blaine Cook ( and Henry Story ( spoke on the subject of single sign on and ideas for addressing the internet global identity problem. This video illustrates the issues of multiple user accounts and the need for single sign on.

Dan Gillmor’s keynote “A new kind of media literature” spoke about contemporary journalism. Many people are now citizen journalists, with this phenomenon there is a need to develop critical skills to decipher content worthiness. This mirrors the importance of developing information literacy skills in students within higher level education also. Dan’s principles for consumers of the internet are: be skeptical of everything, but don’t be equally skeptical of everything.  Other advice offered by Dan was to “Exercise free thinking: step outside your comfort zone, challenge your own biases constantly”

Charles Dowd from Facebook, Dublin delivered the official line from Facebook, on how the social networking site is the biggest in the world with 500 million users. 550K apps have been developed for Facebook (i.e. Farmville). The majority of business has presence within Facebook to market their products and interact with customers.

The Facebook marketing spiel was followed by a panel discussing social networking issues today. I really wanted more discussion on what Blaine Cook had said in relation to Facebook being like the “wedding from Hell” but it felt like the panel didn’t want to cause offence to their fellow competitors!


About Muireann O'Keeffe

I am an educational developer currently working at DCU. I have a passion for researching and evaluating technology that can support and enhance learning. In the past I have taught on Masters programmes (Msc Applied elearning & Postgraduate Diploma in Third level Learning and Teaching) as well as Leadership development programmes.
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