Vetiquette – the new Netiquette?

I recently attended the CIPD’s HRD Exhibition and amongst the free seminars was one which covered Vetiquette.  Now the presenter seemed to think that everyone would have heard of this, but I must admit not remembering it if I had.  Indeed a Google search shows that unless you start adding some ‘-vet’ and ‘-pet’s it is not a term with a particularly big footfall.  The basic idea in the talk was that Netiquette was somewhat out-of-date as it came out of early web discussion boards and email; vetiquette relates to the modern web of video conferencing, multimedia collaboration, etc.  I did not think too much about this until this weeks BSN MOOC grouped Netiquette within digital citizenship.  How much citizenship and literacy overlap are probably a matter of opinion but it made me take another look at vetiquette…

Safari books online has Vetiquette as the below:

VEtiquette, is coined to represent the special subset of behaviors required in a virtual team and to explore the difference in context that virtual work creates that makes special attention to such behavior particularly importantVEtiquette, which stands for “virtual etiquette,” is required in work that is typically real time and synchronous. Vetiquette guides team members’ behavior as they collaborate virtually either while speaking or writing using Internet, mobile, or video technologies. It can be summarized as, “Be effective, or don’t be heard.” This extra attention to virtual interaction matters because the effectiveness of the team depends on it.

Thus for the Blended Schools MOOC we perhaps can consider the need for vetiquette in fostering young people’s belief to be effective/heard but not pushy/rude when online.  This is personally interesting for me as my workplace performance reviews in the past have identified a need to be more assertive in getting my ideas across.  This is perhaps my oh-so-polite Britishness coming through in online environments or might simply be that I find the behavior of others too pushy and ‘tone myself down’ as a result.  As we all move towards a globalized world this will be increasingly important and it is difficult to get the balance right across borders.  It can also be easier to pick a level of appropriate virtual behavior with someone if you have met them in person.

When I did draft a netiquette policy for a previous job I included both the traditional ‘net’ and ‘et’ issues, as well as those identified as ‘vetiquette’.  I guess I really saw all of it as ‘netiquette’ within information/digital literacy.  There is a little bit about what I did on this presentation but in general:

  • The policy was drafted by looking at existing netiquette policies from around the web.
  • It was not really enforced, instead it was embedded in training resources for teachers and students.  It was up to individual instructors how they might adopt, adapt and enforce it with their own students.
  • One would hope that as time passes people will be increasingly confident in this area and the need to train people in vetiquette will be something for schools rather than the 16+ education providers.  Thus it is great to see it being considered in the BSN MOOC (see last two blog posts for more on this).

Reflecting on some recent Tweets & Google+ Shares

Whilst I log some of my personal development here I do not intend to consider everything I do, including reading.

Instead I will often share my reading via other networks.  Why?


  1. Most of my professional reading is via Google Reader.  I previously setup the option to push ‘shares’ in Reader to Twitter.  When Google+ launched this stopped working.  If I see something particularly interesting I will still share it in my ‘Work Related’ circle…just in case anyone is interested.  Its easy to do and at least allows my Google+ profile to have some use.
  2. Websites.  If something leads to me having a question or is something I think my Twitter followers might be interested in (especially if it is from a source they might not read) I will share there from time-to-time.


  1. I do not tweet often, usually limiting it to live tweeting of events – with more in-depth reflections later in blog posts.
  2. Reflection on some particular tweets:

“Virtual classrooms are a response to austerity”  “Virtual learning cannot replace the learning…of a classroom” …wow some old arguments there. Sounds like someone needs a friendly Learning Technologist to show them how. Also ignores student demand.

This was really just a reaction to The Globe and Mail (a paper I used to read now and again) choosing to publish what effectively seemed to be some ranting about a workplace…without much evidence of a justified argument.

#bett_latw great presentation on global l&d, another arguing for curation over creation.

The official hashtag for BETT Learning At Work was quite quiet so I tried to post a few summaries for anyone following.  The rising importance of curation was a theme – as picked up prior to Learning Technologies/BETT.

Opening talk of #BETT_LatW reminded me of the silly Idiocracy movie, suggestions of attention problems and obesity in the future world.

The presentation was excellent at considering the brain and the science behind learning.  This post was a little bit of fun as I doubt the Baroness would be a fan of the movie.

Leaving #lt13 exhibition – good catchup but nothing hugely new. Or did I miss something? Or a sign of things bedding down and maturing?

The Learning Technology and BETT shows seemed to suffer from multiplication of different hashtags.  Therefore, not many people may have seen this – I did get one reply confirming my feeling.  Other posts confirmed that people are concentrating on the learning outcomes rather than tech for tech’s sake.

Some #lt13 exhibition delegates VERY keen. Perhaps the security staff were just doing what they’ve been trained to do?

This was me being a bit bitchy – which is rare I would say.  I was simply blown away by how rude people were being to the Olympia staff  – would opening five minutes late really make much difference?  Do you have to be the first person in the lift?  I’m still presuming/hoping the worse culprits are not Human Resources professionals.

@ldnoverground part suspended. No crystal palace service.

Apologies to any Twitter followers that my rule of keeping it professional (with most personal/private stuff elsewhere – i.e. Facebook) is starting to slip.  If only because what was the East London Line now seems so badly served by London Overground information services.  I find Twitter hugely useful for getting around London when there are problems and will try to contribute.

Quick bit of reflection on the #6TrendsLD webinar yesterday…

Finally, for now, a tweet which was a rare bit of advertisement for this site.  I’m still torn between if this site should aim explicitly to be useful for others or just be my random thoughts, if anyone reads this far do let me know what you think!

Do we really need another conference?

This time of year is my peak time for conferences with (in December, January and February) a number of events I am interested in, including:

  • Online Educa (I have never attended but have followed from a far)
  • CES (which seems to have got a lot more coverage in Britain this year)
  • the UK Blackboard User Group (very relevant in my old role but missed this year)
  • Learning Technology Conference and Exhibition (I have not attended the conference but have visited the exhibition for a number of years) and…
  • BETT (where I have also attended the free exhibition a number of times).

The big change to the above, this year, is that BETT (British Educational Technology Tradeshow) is transforming itself.  Moving from Olympia to the ExCeL, BETT is expanding from its 5-18 year old learner focus with new parallel Higher and Professional Education conferences.  These two events are free although presumably the aim, by filtering applicants this year, is to ensure their success and then sell tickets next year.

The move by BETT is interesting in that they are looking to support learning technology in the wider sense.  Their diagram illustration of this is similar to some of the explanations I have done in the past for how my experience and skill set can be applied and are not specific to industry or the age of the learner ‘customer’.

This change can be seen as a brave move by the organizers of BETT – whilst there has clearly been support for the event in the past (Michael Gove opened it last year; Vince Cable this) – expanding into new areas in the current economic situation seems risqué.  Alternatively, having the event in the same week as the Learning Technology event may cut participants/delegates travel costs as they can ‘make a week of it’ – or it puts BETT in direction position as an alternative (considering many people will only be able to take limited time off work).  Interestingly the Association for Learning Technology are listed within the ‘in association with’ section for the HE event, I did not attend ALT’s own conference last year – partly due to the cost.

On the COLRIC JISCMail list there has recently been a discussion on what words can be used other than ‘conference’ – this got me thinking about what different events are really trying to achieve.

  • conference (mix of sessions [talk, workshops, seminar, etc] but normally talk led with sponsor stalls – in academic spheres conferences will include full ‘papers’ and a focus on research based practice)
  • tradeshow (wider mix of stalls, focus on selling and product developments)
  • symposium (suggestion on the COLRIC list that this might be too American to be widely used in the UK)
  • workshop (interactive with participants ‘doing’ rather than listening)
  • user group (normally smaller than a full-blown conference but with a focus or common thread on a piece of software, theory, methodology, etc)
  • roadshow (demonstrations, presentations, end-user support/training)
  • roundtable (everyone on an equal footing, bar possibly a coordinator, contributing their viewpoint – highly interactive)
  • seminar (singular meeting/discussion often started by a talk/presentation/demo)
  • webinar (singular event or the delivery mechanism for parts of an online conference, user group, etc; usually presentation followed by discussion)

In all of the above examples networking around the ‘event’ is of course a key aspect and online networking (Twitter I am looking at you) will keep the conversation going beyond the physical or scheduled activity.

So are the changes to BETT really needed?  I would say that, especially when I worked in HE, there was no shortage of elearning events and conferences which supported the need for the sector to develop.  A number of years on, some changes are happening (MOOCs being the most obvious) but a lot of talking has failed to really drive change.  Therefore, I set the new BETT conferences, both the HE and corporate events, the challenge of focusing on how attendees can get best practice embedded in their organization – not just agreement between attendees which is all too often ‘preaching to the converted’.

If they fail to do this then BETT remains, as it was before, a networking opportunity, an opportunity to catch up with changes in technology and theory.  But this would mean that in many ways I would feel the HE and corporate strands would risk replicating and repeating other events.  The benefit of attending BETT in the past was to be more aware of the 5-18 (k-12) sector and learn lessons from it.  Pushing people intro the three stands of compulsory, post-compulsory and corporate education will risk loosing that cross-pollination.

Overall, it will be interesting to attend the corporate stream at BETT this year (my other physical event attendance is likely to be limited to the Learning Technologies exhibition) but I would not be surprised if, when I reflect on the week, I decide BETT is best for getting me away from my current sector and engaging with those companies whose primary focus is elsewhere but ideas and technology can be leveraged in corporate training and higher education.

Following conferences online: the good

It has taken a long time to get to this post – partly as I struggled to catch up with ALT-C online.  However, I thought I would comment after seeing Brian Kelly’s post on Does Sharing on Mobile Devices Hinder Real World Discussions?

I would agree with Brian’s points:

In reality, I would argue that use of Twitter at conferences helps to develop new links and strengthen existing connections.

But also stress the value in extending the scope of the conference beyond those physically there.

In many ways the ‘social’ elements of a conference (dinners, etc) can therefore become more important – tweet during the day, meet during the evening so to speak.

(I wrote that last point before seeing the tweet copied in Brian’s post: we are sharing and building through twitter and online but maybe next year we say no tweeting over dinner? #ili2012)

Following conferences online: the bad

One problem I have is that I have too many interests, it is a reason why previous blogs have failed to have much of a ‘flow’ and it impacts on me in other ways.  For example, I fail to keep up with my Google Reader feeds and personal blogging.  It also means that there are more events I would like to attend than I possibly could (unless I won the lottery and could afford all the travel and fees).

Yet if I miss an event I will try and catch up online as much as possible – live streams, recorded sessions, twitter feeds, etc.  However, I have increasingly noticed problems with this approach.

(1) Live streams – increasingly I miss the conversations around the sessions, I used to think attendance and reflection were key but the conversation and collaboration are really what you miss out on.

(2) Recorded sessions – YouTube digests no longer really come in a format which easily exposes all that is new.  This is probably to make sure you visit YouTube rather than just view the email but it is difficult to see all the videos from a channel in the one you once could.  One solution might be for channels to ‘drip-feed’ the release of recordings over time.

(3) Twitter feeds – using TweekDeck I can try and keep on top of Twitter feeds.  However, the combination of spam, endless RTs and the growth of Twitter are causing problems.  In the latter case if you are not quick the feed can become polluted – for example #BBW12 initially used for this year’s Blackboard World conference was soon hijacked by the Baltimore Beer Week.  Now, I’d image @BaltBeerWeek was probably more fun that BBWorld but wouldn’t the organizers check online for tag use first?  Or perhaps they did and it it is perceived that it doesn’t matter if its an old tag as the main use is for real time collaboration?  Whatever the case, I have always used Google to check on hashtag use before recommending them and had presumed everyone does.  Do you?  What would then be a solution?  Lists, which are there in Twitter but probably not used by many, might offer one solution.  Alternatively some kind of index or perhaps a TweetDeck system with more intelligence that  can store and save tweets by identifying attributes such as topic (via keyword) and event (by location or date).  Of course tweet archiving solutions do exist and there is, evidently, a need for me to become more of an expert in that area.

My next post should cover the ‘good’ of following the ALT-C conference this past week.