PLN Challenge #6: iGoogle & the PLN web

I admit that I fall into the category of iGoogle users that established a page once a long time ago and then let it fall by the wayside. Jo Hart‘s challenge #6 post gives some great reasons for starting or revitalizing an iGoogle page and using it as a resource for PLN check-ins. So, I dusted off my page and started transforming it into a PLN base camp.

To start I took a try at her first task: Draw your own PLN/PLE web and share it with us. I decided to layout a web of all the different parts of my PLN that I check in on daily or even hourly sometimes…

I realize now that I’ve left off my gmail account and I definitely check my mail quite often plus that is how I stay on top of comments on this blog. I’ve also left off this blog since so far it has been used only as a platform to write more extensively as part of the other aspects of my PLN but just like a real spider web, my PLN web is constantly changing and adjusting so different elements may come and go over time.

I used my PLN web to help reorganize my iGoogle page. Using Jo’s page as inspiration, I broke my page into 3 tabs: Home, Feeds, and PLN Live . This is really a brilliant tip as I think having a cluttered single tab is what caused me to lose interest in iGoogle in the first place.

On my “Home” tab I’ve got my Gmail and Facebook feed as well as things like the weather, date, a to-do list, and other gadgets that I might want to use for personal reasons. I’ve chosen to leave Facebook as personal only since it is a great way for me to stay in contact with my friends and family in the states.

On my “Feeds” page I’ve got my Diigo bookmarks and several different Google News filters that set up a long time ago. I think I’ll add a few more news gadgets here. I see this page as the lowest priority and will probably check in here last or when I’ve got some extra time on my hands.

My “PLN Live” page is looking pretty sparse with just the Twitter gadget and the Google Reader gadget. This is where iGoogle gets frustrating for me. First: Google Reader. I’ve become used to Feedly and I really enjoy how pleasing-to-the-eye the reader’s layout is in comparison to the boring old Google Reader. Actually, Feedly feeds off of Google Reader so my blogs are still going there but I use Feedly as my base to check in on new updates. I’ll have to search around the gadgets or dig deeper into using the Reader to see if I can find something that I like as much for use in iGoogle. Next, several of the places I check on a daily basis can’t be fed into iGoogle, wikispaces, for example. And, lastly, I like to follow several hashtags on Twitter and Tweetdeck just seems to work the best for organizing multiple streams.

Here is my Feedly homepage, isn’t it nice?

I’d like to continue exploring for the next 3 weeks to see if I can make iGoogle a realistic PLN home since having all the threads of my web coming together in one location would be really ideal. I wonder how Google+ would fit into all of this? I haven’t had a chance to explore it yet but I wonder if it will replace iGoogle for a home base, any thoughts? Any more tips on gadgets that bring more of your PLE into iGoogle?

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5 Responses to PLN Challenge #6: iGoogle & the PLN web

  1. Theresa says:

    Nice job on your iGoogle page! I was inspired to try Feedly from you – I like it as well, but I like the fact that I can star the ones I like in Google Reader and then upload them to my Diigo site for later. I wish I could directly upload them from Reader to Diigo, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

    As for Google+ – I don’t think it will replace iGoogle because you have to scroll down to see all of the updates where in iGoogle you have tabs. Maybe that will change, but for now, it’s a big time-consuming. I have my FB and Twitter feeds in Google+ and I don’t think I like it. I would want them separated so I can see what people are posting in Google+ quicker.

    GLHF (Good Luck Have Fun),

    • sarahwg says:

      Hi Theresa and thanks for the comment! I think there may be a way to favorite posts in Feedly but I’ll have to explore tonight since I’m on the train home at the moment. I really appreciate your feedback about google+ and it sounds like it has some ways to go before replacing a hub such as iGoogle.

  2. Ms K Irwin says:

    You are way ahead of me! I keep only one page for my iGoogle. I think more would be too much for me right now. I have been seeing a lot of tweets and facebook comments about Google+ but haven’t tried it out yet.

    Your PLN/PLE web looks great. How did you create it?


    • sarahwg says:

      Hi Karen! Thanks and oops! I forgot to link to the site I used for the word web, sorry. I’ll add a link when I get home but in the meantime it is It was really easy to use though I didn’t bother registering with the site and simply took a screen capture. I saw there were options to print the web and embed it into different applications too.

      I’m giving iGoogle a try but I am not sure that it works for me yet…we’ll see!

  3. Jo Hart says:

    Hi Sarah

    My PLN web is constantly changing too, although often its the “weighting” that changes in that I will find that one aspect predominates for a while and then another will gradually take over prominence. I agree the multiple tabs is so useful. I too find it frustrating that I can’t get everything I want to feed directly into my iGoogle. Hoever if I cant feed it in directly I have a link on my links page – I use a separate “Enhanced Bookmarks” list for ones I want to be able to access with one click and I find that works fairly well for me.

    I agree with Theresa on G+ I don’t think it will ever become a homepage for me – its too “messy”. At the moment I just see it as a FB competitor and prefer it at the moment because it seems to have a bit less “froth”.


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