I’ve now been on Twitter for 7 years. I’ve grown with Twitter as a learner in a manner that may be a little unhealthy. I really am scared that Twitter isn’t making the cut every now and again. I, of course, know that there was a life before Twitter - and in all likelihood, there will be a life after Twitter. New services will take over - nothing last forever.
For me, Twitter is a way of participating in engaging learning communities - not that I think of them as learning communities. Following my own professional interests in pedagogy, learning designs, collaboration and learning with and without digital media, school development and improvement, professional learning communities, communities of practice and inquiry etc I meet interesting people on Twitter and I simply follow them and their work. In that way, I build my PLN - Professional (or Personal) Learning Network.
I also use other Social Media Sites for building my PLN but none working as effectively and efficiently as Twitter. I think it is due to the simplicity of Twitter and the fact that you do follow the people YOU want without any expectation of getting followed back. And that is maybe the reason Linked. In has implemented that logic as well.
The usability for a growing knowledge network with Twitter is also facilitated by the way in which the hashtags works as an organizing principle - a #folksonomy that really are doing the job. And this is not least due to the fact that tweets are generating discussions and knowledge exchanges between people who, actually, care about the same subjects. They interact because of the topics - not because of their linkings of each other - or not primarily. (Friendships can grow from twitter chats/discussion/knowledge sharing and construction).
The last thing I’ll mention is the widespread use of references to blogs and web pages - A tweet says way more than the 140 characters - it opens a universe of knowledge resources.
Well, that is some of the reasons I’ve grown dependable on Twitter.
Tweet Chat - the monster energizer
Actually, I was going to write about the Tweet Chat - or Twitter Chat. Last night I attended a Tweet Chat as part of course on Online Networked Learning that I attend. More than 40 people were engaged in a discussion on matters of digital participation and literacy/literacies. The tweets were coming in a pace where it really was a hard time following the discussion threads. It was truly a bombardment of tweets coming in faster than I was able to read at some times.
The feeling of being in a blissful storm of engaging people that want to share their knowledge and their view on pedagogy and digital media is really something that drags you in. I tried as good as possible keeping track of the discussion threads using both #Tchat.io and #Tweetdeck.
The advantages of Tchat is that it saves you from writing the hashtag #ONL172 in this case. That might seem a little thing but when you are trying to cope with a live discussion in another language than your mother tongue the savings of 7 characters may mean the difference between #lurking and active participation.
But this advantage comes at a price. You can’t follow direct threads as in tweets as answers to other tweets. You only see the answer but not what triggered the answer. Here Tweetdeck comes in providing you with the overview and following specific threads. Switching to and fro between different service is a pretty hard job in itself and next time I’ll be using two screens.
The heavy exchange of tweets with experiences, knowledge, viewpoints and so on is really a boost for your thinking on a subject matter. The blast you participate in will not result in any deep learning and understanding. You just have to come up with answers relating to other people's input.
But it is exactly the pace of it that might move your understanding. You don’t have the time for deeper reflection and by that, it works just as a brainy brainstorm - a knowledge storm throwing arguments around and trying to collect some ideas in new meaningful constellations.
And after a good night sleep after the exhaustive endeavour of the tweetchat, you can collect the tweets in a #Storify and silently reflect on what was really happening - what actually hit you. And then your learning is doubled.
Tweet Chats are the racing cars of learning - and I should engage more often in the races. It is not about who’ll be first - it’s about having a great time on a roller coaster and looking at things anew again.
Tweetchat is a learning frenzy
Tweetchat is a learning frenzy
What a great experience!