Posts tagged twitter
Over at EduGeek Journal, Matt Croslin posted several weeks ago about using Twitter as a conference backchannel. That stirred up a frustration I’ve had with the last several times I’ve tried to engage colleagues at a conference via Twitter. I posted a comment there that provides more explanation and context to my argument.
The long and short of it is that, for me, the twitter backchannel at conferences has become damn near useless. It’s not because Twitter’s useless or irrelevant, and it’s not because of the conference; it’s a matter of how people at conferences are using… well… not using the Twitter backchannel effectively, in my opinion. Rather than an engaging backchannel shared by colleagues and professionals engaging each other in meaningful discourse related to conference presentations, by and large, the Twitter conference backchannels have become nothing more than a “mindlessly-broadcast-whatever-the-speaker’s-saying-channel.” Your thoughts?
I don’t know how I have missed #edchat via Twitter since last July, but it’s an incredibly valuable resource and opportunity in my opinion. If you’re not familiar with Twitter…. In short, at any given time, there’s a variety of education topics being discussed by educators via Twitter posts; the “hash tag” #edchat is included in each post, so it makes it possible to search for and find any posts included in the larger discussion.
An idea for your thoughts and input.
When asked by a colleague about Twitter, my most frequent comment is that it is “the most indispensable professional development tool” I have and use. The network of educational technology colleagues I’ve developed through twitter provides a range of opportunities for professional development:
- links to news and relevant articles
- a resource capable of answering most any edtech related questions
- links to blog posts, ideas and new applications
- vicarious conference experiences through tweet observation
- more direct, at-a-distance conference experiences with notices regarding streaming events/presos
The question I’ve been considering is how to leverage that network to benefit others in my organization. As director of training for our educational technology group, I’d like to find a way for our faculty to notice and experience some of these opportunities in a way that avoids the process of helping them develop and use Twitter on their own. More >
Just a quick thought regarding how we use Twitter . . . This afternoon, I was observing the opening plenary session of the NMC 2009 Summer Conference (#nmc2009) which was being live video streamed and tweeted. As I watched the twitter stream, I realized that even after several comments or questions posed to the group *all* of the tweets were unidirectional; they were simple broadcasts of what was being said by the presenter. There were a few tweets with commentary, but they were also individual comments with no real discussion.
My question is this…. If we’re talking about a group of people – both locally and remotely – that can all see and hear the presentation, how much value is there to broadcast tweets that simply report what’s being said? More >
A possible acquisition of Twitter by one of the larger competitors for the online search and social markets has been bandied about since last November when talks between Twitter and Facebook broke down. More recently, Microsoft and Google have been rumored to be discussing a possible acquisition with Twitter’s owners. While most analysts are interested in the acquisition of Twitter given the impact it would have on the technology landscape – social platforms and search revenues – I believe educators should also have interest in the acquisition as well. In my opinion, it’s in the best interest of educators already using Twitter and the education community at large if Google successfully acquires Twitter rather than Microsoft or Facebook.
First, Twitter may likely remain more open and usable if acquired by Google. More >
By week’s end, I will have presented and facilitated four hours worth of sessions focused on learning – in classrooms or as personal professional development – with social networking tools and, specifically, Twitter. Both sessions are at the Texas Distance Learning Association 2009 Annual Conference in Corpus Christi. I’ll be posting more thoughts and resources here, but I also have session content available at a sister Edtechatouille Google Sites page.
I decided to experiment using Twitter this semester in my campus based class of “Microcomputer Applications” – basically an introduction to computers type class. My plans focused mostly on offering to send out text message reminders of deadlines for class assignments to students interested in using the device notifications.
The results and interest have been much more positive than I expected. I conducted the survey below on the Tuesday of the third week of class. Better than half the class is already using text notifications with another 10-20% interested but haven’t yet set it up.
In addition to the reminders that I’ve been sending out, two other things have happened.
First, I was able to notify better than half of my students of the emergency closing due to Hurricane Ike within ten minutes of having personally received the phone call from College personnel. It also provides a means of communicating with them regarding changes to class (work to be done, due dates etc) between now and the next class meeting.
Second, there’s healthy handful of students using Twitter as a semi-regular communications channel. I didn’t expect students to post many – or any – updates to communicate with each other. However, at the beginning of class, two students indicated they had used Twitter previously. At this point, several students are posting at least occasional updates and replying to classmates.
I’m wondering if the usage rate will increase for (a) text notices / device notification and/or (b) students posting updates. I will post an update or two later in and at the end of the semester.
Again, at ELI 2008 in San Antonio, I’m currently in a plenary session in which Henry Jenkins from MIT is speaking on “What Can Wikipedia Teach Us About the New Media Literacies?”
I’ve blogged on Twitter before (July 28 and July 30, 2007), and with the exception of my recent 4 week hiatus, I’ve been using it consistently and extensively since those original posts. However, I’ve not personally experienced one key affordance of Twitter: enabling a backchannel (kibbutz, for chess folks) for a more traditional speech/lecture. If you visit the ELI 2008 with Friends Twitter page and track back to approximately January 27 1:00pm CST/US, you’ll see the conversation that occurred via Twitter while Professor Jenkins spoke.
The quantity and multi-directional nature of communication currently occurring is mind-staggering, and that’s without getting too deeply into the Flickr stream for the event or searching for blogs with the ELIAnnual08, ELI2008 or ELI08AnnualMeeting tags (I’ve seen or heard it all three ways, but was just told via direct Tweet that the first is the “official” tag). I’ve known this could occur, but to experience it first hand with the volume at which it is happening is simply amazing. As I mentioned in the Twitter conversation, you can literally “hear” the backchannel via the keyboard clicks going on in the room; of course, having round tables to allow attendees to actually use their laptops makes a tremendous difference.
Will be coming back to this new feature (as of 9/24/2007) from Twitter and discuss it in more detail. It’s worth a short post and quick mention.
In short, Twitter Tracking now makes it possible to receive alerts based upon keywords/tags/concepts. Rather than only receiving alerts from individuals you’ve chosen to follow, you may now receive alerts containing a particular keyword, phrase, concept or tag – whatever you want to call it.
While the Twitter Blog uses a couple of general examples, I’m going to use one related to attending educational conferences. When I go to the League of Innovation CIT conference to be held in Nashville in early November, I can submit to Twitter from my cell phone: “track leagueCIT.” After that, I’ll receive any tweets – as I understand it, by any Twitterers – containing the phrase “leagueCIT;” plus, I’ll have the option of then finding more information about that Twitterer and may choose to follow them as well.
Pretty cool stuff!
I’ve never used text messaging on a regular basis; my wife and I actually use it for emergency communications since I can get text during meetings, classes etc. I’ve not used instant messaging on a consistent basis; it’s served a purpose from time to time, but it’s always been nothing more than a tool. I’ve used discussion boards but not consistently, though RSS feeds do make them more useful and accessible. I’m trying to get better at participating in the blogosphere by commenting more on others’ blogs. I’ve not used groups (Usenet; anyone else remember FidoNet?) tremendously; I typically search them for answers to questions or trouble issues. I’ve used listservs but often feel overwhelmed by the traffic of busier lists (SLEDList anyone?). I have a MySpace profile but don’t use it; I have a Facebook profile which I’m using more frequently.
Given all of that, why do I feel “hooked on Twitter?” Why and how is it apparently so enthralling?
Darren Draper commented on his blog, Drape’s Takes:
Even I know that Twitter’s weird.
So I’ll ask the question again, this time with a better idea of my answer. What in the Web 2.0 is Twitter?
I’m convinced that Twitter is about community. Twitter is about people.
Twitter’s ability to connect me with a network of like-minded people is huge.
With Twitter, the news has added meaning for me. Like when I learned about the steam explosion that happened in New York a few weeks ago. It brought the news home to me knowing that one of my colleagues was so close to the actual event.
John Pederson commented on his blog, iJohnPederson:
I try out new tools on a weekly basis and 98% of them don’t make more than a week. Twitter has stuck.
Twitter is about the network. Twitter is just the tool.
That’s why I like Twitter. It’s my network, a little more refined. And real
So, I’m not the only one wondering what makes Twitter interesting. I understand that Twitter is about the network; it’s about people. But why is it so much more about people than other communication tools? What makes “it stick” more than other applications? What makes it more capable of facilitating, for me, interpersonal communication than IM, discussion boards, blogs, comments, listservs, user groups, social networks?
I think there’s three reasons.
First, all social networks are about people, but Twitter draws people into more in depth, personal communication – along the lines of “life blogging.” Just in the last week of using Twitter on a regular basis, I’ve learned:
- Fleep is remodeling her house: replacing light switches and grouting tile.
- WillRich went swimming with his kids in the Delaware and ran more in one day than I have in a month.
- Intellagirl gets unmotivated just like I do when there’s a ton of work to be done.
- CogDog has a new puppy.
- SPeters is helping family through a stressful time and sharing the stress.
- JUtecht’s on his way to China.
- SSandifer just started a new job and was recently assigned to do a presentation on Web2.0
- sorry_afk doesn’t mind traffic nearly as much as I seem to ;-)
- Typewriter went for a haircut.
- iJohnPederson didn’t clean his coffee pot before leaving school for the summer.
- Kenny Hubble’s headed for some white water rafting.
Oh… wait.. I learned all of that in the last 18 hours! Sure, I may have eventually read some of that on blogs, discussion boards, or listservs etc, but chances are, I doubt it. I seriously do not think I would have ever heard any of those details from this group of people in spaces – social networks and otherwise – where they typically focus on more serious discussions. Twitter’s all about people and the networks, but it’s more than that, it’s all about learning WHO people behind the titles and professions really are in more depth and in a more casual environment than other online environments.
Second, in Tweets with Angela Thomas, I suggested that Twitter is different because, to me, it’s ambi-synchronous. It possesses the immediacy and capabilities of synchronous messaging in which there’s greater immediacy of interpersonal communication, but it also creates a persistent, asynchronously available record of communication that allows you to catch up on what you missed while offline. It can do both. What other tools enable both types of communication?
Finally, and quite simply, Twitter converges SMS and web-based tools to facilitate one to many communication.
Is Twitter the first to be ambi-synchronous? Is it the first tool that encourages a lifeblogging of sorts? Is it the first web-based tool that facilitates interpersonal communication via mobile convergence? If not, is it the first to do all three?