Friday, October 03, 2008

All The World's A-Twitter

I've succumbed to Twitter.

After reading Jane Hart's article Understanding Today's Learner, I realized I'd better be walking the talk and trying out all the hot new "learning" tools.

So Wednesday, I signed up. Within minutes, I was greeted by a number of people. That sort of freaked me out and I momentarily panicked -- how do I reply back and just how did they find me so fast? (oh, yeah, I decided to "follow them" and they got an email from Twitter).

Sue Waters sent me off to a great post she'd written on getting started with Twitter.

Within 34 minutes, I was a pro. Sort of. Not a bad start-up time, if I do say so myself.

Like Tracy Hamilton, I'm enjoying the endless thought streams. I know that Karyn Romeis has a cold. That Janet Clarey and Clark Quinn were watching the vice-presidential debate last night.

I'm having fun hearing the stream of people's activities and thoughts ("ambient intimacy"), but is that all there is to it?

SoulSoup sent me a link to a post he'd worked up on Twitter for business.

It feels endless now -- all the places I need to go to keep in touch with my peeps: my phone, my email account (Outlook for work, gmail for life); Facebook; Google Reader; Twitter. I know people consolidate and slim down (Brent, for instance), but I'm not sure I'm ready for that challenge.

I'll let you know what I decide.

How 'bout you? Do you Twitter? Why? Why not?

I'm cammybean on Twitter.


Janet Clarey said...

Watching the #vpdebate timeline was even more incredible than hanging out with the people I follow (not that my peeps are totally interesting). However, reading several hundred (thousand?) tweets from people commenting on everything from bang malfunctions (Palin) to 'say it ain't Joe' answering the actual questions he was asked (vs. Palin, who did not) was surreal. My husband changed the channel (I was watching TV) to Dodgeball (no 'six pack' included however) so I switched to live streaming. Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, Vince Vaughn, and Ben Stiller are a most interesting mix. No cognitive overload present - I was totally engaged. That's what I like about Twitter. It is my new cubicle...but better because I can shut the door.

Cammy Bean said...

This brings me to another point I've been thinking about -- is Twitter more useful to those (like you) who work virtually and don't have co-workers with whom to banter? I'm at an office, but somewhat isolated (meaning, I'm not in a cubicle, but actually have a door and need to walk about 30 paces to talk to someone).

Sue Waters said...

You were special in my case. Laura twittered you so I checked your account and added you. Special because I don't normally add people to my account except if they add me.

Wait 'til you have the number of people I follow in your account then you will know what constant stream looks like -- I miss those days when you could check people's other tab to see what their tweets coming in look like.

Glad my post helped you.

Michele Martin said...

Cammy--glad to have you on board with Twitter, but I do have to say that I'm probably not as enthusiastic as Janet about it, and definitely not as into it as Sue. For me, Twitter is a place that I visit to check in. I tried using Twhirl to have the sort of constant stream coming in, but it was WAY too distracting for me. And for whatever reason, I have a harder time keeping straight what's happening with which person, so not sure how much it helps my ambient intimacy. I'm aware that SOMEONE is fighing a cold, but can't always remember who that was.

Still, when I dip in, I can catch up on what's been happening and find links to interesting resources and stories on a whole bunch of things. I like that, but I think I need to "close my door" (to borrow Janet's analogy) more than a lot of other people. Twitter makes it too easy for me to procrastinate and honestly, I don't need one more thing that helps me do THAT!

Dave Ferguson said...

So far for me, Twitter is like being trapped at the arrival gate when the 747 disgorges its captives: 400 people on at least 400 devices. Some conversations simply baffle me. Most (by far) aren't of any interest.

I find I'm prone to send tweets directly to someone, and can't help feeling ignored if no response returns. I realize they're under no obligation to respond, but it's trained me well that initiating doesn't usually pay off. (What can I say? Under religion, I sometimes put "Reform Behaviorist.")

I'm glad that some people find it useful, just as I'm glad some people are entertained by police-band scanners or by The Golf Network.

Karyn Romeis said...

So it turns out I don't really have a cold... just a little reaction to the recycled air on the 12-hour flight.

I struggled with Twitter in the beginning. Like Dave, I saw little point in some of the conversations.

Gradually, I found some uses for it. I found links to things I might otherwise have missed. I found that I could ask a question of 'the ether' and get an answer.

I found that it provided a source of incidental chatter in an office in which the dominant personality (not me) tolerated no chit-chat, and would don his head phones with a sigh if anyone dared to break the morgue-like silence that reigned as long as he had his way.

Now that I am sitting on my tod in my home-office every day, I find that it provides an important source of company, and suddenly the previously irrelevant tweets have become interesting. The fact that this person ran an extra couple of miles today or that person's daughter is crawling have become interesting in the way that they would be if they were being shared by the person at the next desk.

Social media have made the lone-worker's role less lone-ly, and the 140 character 'sound' byte is a great affordance here - providing the chatter that blogs do not.

And, as Janet says... you can always 'shut the door'.

Cammy Bean said...

It seems like everyone's got their own take on it, that's for sure. All of you who commented *seem* to use Twitter in different ways. One size does not fit all. I'm still not sure how it fits me.

Matthew Bibby said...

Cammy, I work virtually 3 days a week (kid banter days) and 2 days with office banter.

For me, twitter is about being connected in the elearning community and the 'banter' that happens for me on twitter is a priceless resource!

Cammy Bean said...

@ Matthew -- and it's a different kind of banter on Twitter, isn't it? I'm finding more stuff of interest -- from which I can actually learn something -- than the office banter, which is usually about our production process and deadlines and what that client said.

Anthony said...

Thanks for sharing your post on Twitter. I've had a Twitter account for more than a year but have used it very little at this point. I initially signed up to keep up with friends but found I didn't check tweets very often. I then received a few requests from colleagues wanting to follow my tweets and found it a bit odd because I saw it as more of a social tool used among friends rather than a learning tool.

I'm currently a grad student at Penn State in the Instructional Systems program and continue to hear from other students of how addicted they are to Twitter and how many in our industry are using it as well.

I went to Sue Water's post that you recommended and have updated my account settings as she suggested. I look forward to discovering new value in this tool that so many people are talking about. Thank you for the additional information.

Cammy Bean said...

@Anthony -- I'll be interested to hear your updates on your program at Penn State! Keep us informed. And glad you found the post useful. I'm finding myself weaving in and out of twitter these days...I dip in when I have the time, but can get so easily distracted!