Google Plus, Penguin 2.0, Twitter & Teaching Children to Code #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on May 24, 2013

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This post is part of the weekly series, Friday Finds, featuring news that you may find both valuable and interesting.  Today, we’re going to revisit the importance of Google+ after the Penguin 2.0 update, get some common sense tips on using Twitter, view a video that builds a strong case for teaching coding in our schools and get a peek at how to view the recent algorithm changes with a healthy perspective.

Google Penguin 2.0 and Google+

On Wednesday, May 22nd, Matt Cutts announced that Google had completed the rollout of Penguin 2.0. Reportedly, “About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice.”

While the biggest expected impact of these new algorithm changes is on black hat spam, in his recent video “What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?”, Cutts also talked about Google  doing a better job of tweaking their algorithms to detect when someone is an “authority” in a specific space. As I mentioned last week (in my #FridayFinds series), one of the questions that has been raised is the role that Google+ may play in helping sites rank higher in the SERPs.

The best post that I found this week that addresses the importance of participating on Google+ is: #GooglePlus, #SocialSearch And Why You’re SCREWED If You’re Not Taking It Seriously by Anise Smith. I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.

6 Types of Useful Tweets

Lots of people I know don’t “get” Twitter. Some people look at it as a waste of time. Others tout the benefits of tweeting and highly recommend it. I once worked with a client who told me “only Twits tweet”. That was followed by a confession that they really had no clue how to use Twitter to promote their business and that they refused to tweet about what they had for breakfast. The next time that I’m explaining why Twitter is important, I can also forward a link to “6 Types of Useful Tweets” where Michael Todd explains it quite well.

What Most Schools Don’t Teach

Do our schools teach our children how to code? Should they? In case you missed this video, it’s already been watched close to 10.5 million times and it was only posted three months ago. It should make you think.

OMG, My Traffic Is Down. Did I Got Hit By Penguin 2.0? Not Necessarily…

By now, you may feel like you’ve read all the blog posts that you want to about Penguin 2.0. Let’s face it. Google’s new algorithm changes will probably not affect most of us. If the traffic to our website suddenly drops in the next month, it will most likely be something that we did (or did not do) that affected it and not due to Penguin 2.0. For a bit of a reality check (and to read what a few other respected bloggers are saying), check out OMG, My Traffic Is Down. Did I Got Hit By Penguin 2.0? Not Necessarily… by DiTesco over on iBlogZone.com.

Over to You

What do you think? Do you agree that coding should be taught in our schools? If you do agree, what grade do you think it would be appropriate for? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on this and the other topics that I’ve shared this week. If there’s a specific topic that you’re interested in learning more about, let us know that too. Maybe you’ll see it discussed next week on #FridayFinds.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa
Twitter:
June 12, 2013 at 11:23 am

HI Sherryl, I think it should start in Grade 6 to learn coding. It’s the way of the world today as everything is being done online. The latest Penguin update was good for me – it got me back from the last one which I got hit by on one of my websites. The other sites did not notice either of them. It will be never ending going forward with Google.
Loved the useful tweets piece too – great info – thanks for sharing.
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Sherryl Perry June 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Lisa, I was thinking middle school too until I recently watched as our 10-month old granddaughter reached out to my husband’s phone and swiped a series of pictures. We were both dumbfounded. It turns out that our daughter-in-law had downloaded a baby app for her to play with. This generation is growing up teething on technology. :)

That’s great news that the latest Penguin update was good to you. Congratulations! I’ve been waiting to hear another horror story like Kim Castleberry’s where she got hit hard by it.

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Mariem
Twitter:
June 12, 2013 at 7:50 am

Great video about coding .I really enjoyed watching, I think that should be part of the normal subjects that are given in school. thanks for sharing. :)

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Sherryl Perry June 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I’m glad that you enjoyed the video Mariem. I saw it on another blogger’s site and it really resonated with me. Thanks for letting me know that you liked it and that you agree that coding should be taught in schools.
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Kirsten Mcfarland May 30, 2013 at 3:25 am

I m happy with penguin 2.0 update, in starting of January I changed my plan of link building, I direct subordinates don’t go behind only do follow and anchor text and as well as do-follow, so because target mainly link spam, so concentrate on naked url back links and as well as no-follow also. And now my 72 keywords that are on 2,3 pages are on 1st page and with in TOP 5.

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Sherryl Perry June 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

That’s wonderful news Kirsten. I wish everyone was doing well with it. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Kimberly Castleberry. (She’s a highly respected blogger.) She just wrote this post on how she was negatively impacted by Penguin: http://bit.ly/12VUWfI. Kim is one of the last bloggers who I would have thought would have been hit by it.
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Jeri
Twitter:
May 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Coding should be taught, the earlier the better. One of the reasons I prefer not to teach English anymore is that as a subject the curriculum tends to be so antiquated. In my opinion, English should be a multimedia class. The more I learn about websites and blogging, the more I am convinced that Language Arts classes need an overhaul.
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Sherryl Perry May 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Jeri,
As an ex-teacher, I agree with you that the curriculum for English could use an overhaul to bring it into this century. With all the shortcuts students take texting, I wouldn’t want to teach English now either.

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Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
May 26, 2013 at 7:04 am

Great video about coding, Sherryl. Basic coding should definitely be taught at school. Then those who want to learn more will know enough to decide if they want to learn more. As the video points out, coding is intimidating.

Let’s face it people who know how to code are becoming an important factor in society Just look at Anonymous and other hackers. If you know how to do it, you can shut down a whole country. Surely knowing how to deal with such destructive moves is a skill those who are young today need to master. If not black hat hackers will have the upper hand.

Wish Google Plus was a bit more exciting. Am using it but there is no thrill in doing so. H There’s no avoiding using it though so as boring as it is we have to make an effort:-)

Regarding Google’s algorithm I believe it’s great that they are punishing people who buy Facebook likes and other such services to manipulate SERPs. Am not a black hat so I doubt that the new algorithm will have an impact on me. Actually, it may be positive to most of us by eliminating companies and blogs who fake it?:-)
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Sherryl Perry May 28, 2013 at 11:34 am

Catarina,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I totally agree with you that coding in very important and it definitely should be taught in our schools. When I first watched this video, I didn’t really have an opinion on when it should be taught but I now am thinking that it should be introduced in our elementary schools.

I feel the same way as you about both Google Plus and Penguin. I’m cautiously optimistic that the algorithm changes will help most of the bloggers who I know. As for Google+, for me, I just need to get into the habit of visiting more often. I need to refine my circles a little too.

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
May 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Sherryl — I think youngsters today would be well served to learn the basics of coding. But it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly too late for me! I read Matt Cutt’s announcement and stories about the Penguin update. One point he made stuck out for me. He said, “And earlier this year we launched a page layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make much content available “above the fold.”

Google is taking aim at sites that are packed with ads. It shouldn’t affect the vast majority of websites and blogs. If you want to check your own site here is a link to a Google tool called “Browser Size” that allows you to evaluate your site browsersize.googlelabs.com/. This tool will be folded into Google Anlaytics soon so if you want to give it a try click on the link.
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Sherryl Perry May 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

Jeannette,
Thanks for pointing out that Matt Cutts mentioned reducing ranking for sites that don’t make much content available “above the fold.” I admit that I missed that one. There’s so much going on with SEO these days, it’s hard to keep up!

Thanks for sharing the link to the browser size tool too. I’ll check it out.

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Lisa
Twitter:
May 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Sherryl, I think that is a great idea for coding to be taught in school. I’m looking to take a CSS class myself. I did see a decrease in traffic on the day the Penguin rolled out but it came back so I’m not too worried about this one. I was in the midst of cleaning up old posts too and still am. It was quite time consuming fixing from Blogger to Wordpress, about 100 posts in all.
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Sherryl Perry May 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I need to learn more CSS and PHP. The way I operate now, I learn on an as-needed basis. :)

I don’t think you or I or most of the bloggers that I know have anything to worry about when it comes to the Penguin update. I’m optimistic that it will actually help us.

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Ray May 25, 2013 at 3:54 am

I have read a few articles about the latest Penguin update. I don’t really get tuned into them too much, but I do try to follow them and read up on them when I get a chance.

The programing video was really good. I do think it should be taught in school. I just don’t know to what extent or what age. There are so many different programing languages out there now, and some are more complex than others. I took a few courses years ago. Microsoft programing like Visual Basic and C/C++ was very tough.

There are a lot of simpler programing languages that could be suitable for younger kids, or a good starting point. I think when you are introduced to something at a younger age it is much easier to master. Not everyone will be into it, but you don’t know if a child will take an interest or not. If you give them the opportunity you never know what they might accomplish.
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Sherryl Perry May 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm

When I watched that video about teaching programming in school, I knew that I had to share it. I think programming could open up a new world to a lot of children and I definitely think it should be included in the curriculum. I say start them early possibly in middle school and then have a clear path for them to progress in. It seems like everyone here feels about the same way.

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Susan Oakes
Twitter:
May 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I think teaching coding would be okay but for those that are not great with maths inject some fun and creativity could be a good idea so it is not boring. Like most things if you start teaching at an early stage it is easier to grasp as long as it done in simple steps. Thanks again for the Friday finds Sherryl.
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Sherryl Perry May 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Susan,
I think you and some other readers here know that I started my career as an elementary school teacher. I think coding could be a fun subject for children to learn. Most of them are already familiar with keyboards and technology. It would be so easy to have lessons that include animation or run scripts. It would be an opportunity to build that type of instant gratification right into the subject. That’s a class that I’d enjoy teaching! :)

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts with us.

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ditesco
Twitter:
May 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Really enjoyed watching that video. Being a father of two myself, I think that “coding” should be part of the normal subjects that are given in school. Right now, it is an optional kind of thing where my kids study, and it is darn expensive. Oh well…

Thanks for the mention, BTW. “Reality Check” sounds just about right.. now why did I not think about that.. would have been great somewhere on the title of the post :)
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Sherryl Perry May 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm

At least it’s being offered at their school. I think it should definitely be included in the curriculum. Hook the kids on it when they’re young and it should be easy to do it in a way that they would be able to get gratification from their efforts.

You’re welcome for the shout out. I wanted to include one more post and when I read yours this morning, I found myself nodding in agreement with you as I read it. It was a good fit.

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Susan Cooper
Twitter:
May 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I had already read the stuff about Google and made some changes as a result. It never hurts to take a few simple steps to improve our chances with the changes Google is making. Twiiter? i can never hear enough. I’m still learning.

To answer your question, Yes I think we should, the earlier the better. Kids are so adept at this kind of stuff now. Why not give them the tools to understand their new and future world. :-)

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Sherryl Perry May 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Susan,
I totally agree with you about teaching coding in schools. To me, coding is like math. It’s sort of like learning multiplication or division and like Algebra, it makes you think logically. I think it could be fun to teach too.

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