Another dot in the blogosphere?

Revisiting Facebook and IFTTT

Posted on: November 12, 2016

As an early adopter of both, I am not a fan of Facebook and I appreciate the utility of IFTTT. However, I only recently found meaningful reuse of both — Pokémon Go.
 

 
I joined the Pokémon Go Singapore Facebook group a while ago because the Pokémon tracker apps and sites (e.g., SGPokéMap) kept being shut down by Niantic. Learning from enthusiastic and informed players seemed to be the next best thing.

So far I find that experience to only be partly true.

Like any Facebook experience, there is the terrible language, i.e., poor grammar, insults, rudeness, vague references. I feel sorry for visitors to our country who visit our shores seeking advice on where to best hunt for Pokémon only to face a social wall of confusion and disappointment.

Thankfully the space is largely self-policing. Infractions like grammar are sometimes caught, but not nearly enough. This is like a web catching a fly but letting a swarm of locusts through.

There are also helpful people in the Facebook group, but I can count on one hand the folks who are truly giving and magnanimous.

Returning to the flip side, there are the:

  • uninformed who do not bother to search before asking
  • trolls who seek innocent or ignorant victims
  • marketers who post irrelevant or misleading clickbait
  • over-sharers who provide more information that you need to read
  • culturally-insensitive who assume everyone else understands them

There are many other character types, almost a numerous as the number of Generation 1 Pokémon. I am almost tempted to conduct informal research on these types and analyse the content of postings.

The folks behind SGPokéMap maintain a Twitter presence that is far less social, but way more helpful. Now that the map is back up — for now anyway — a bot tweets updates on the rare Pokémon, which areas they spawn in, links to Google Maps that pinpoint their locations, and roughly how long they will be there.

Here is one example:

The mappers also provided instructions for creating a Twitter-linked IFTTT applet to get updates only for specific rare Pokémon from areas of your choosing. The instructions are not quite up-to-date, but the gist of what to do is there.

What does this have to do with education? I connect this with something I tweeted recently:

Twitter Bingo is a fun way to get teachers who are new to Twitter to try new things. It is also an extrinsically-driven activity — complete the tasks in a row or column or diagonal to get a reward.

However, this is not why educators who continue tweeting tweet. They are driven by intrinsic factors — to share, connect, encourage, etc. Bingo might be an engaging start for Twitter professional development. It is also a quick end if the teacher does not see how Twitter is personally relevant and meaningful.

The Facebook group and IFTTT applet helped me fill in information gaps so that my Pokémon hunting is more efficient and effective. Teachers who learn to use Twitter should not just be given the mechanics. They need to find or make meaning from using Twitter.

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