explorations in the ed tech world

same sounds-different meanings

A social media New Year’s resolution of sorts

2013 was the year I got bored of blogs and spent more time on Twitter. As my time on Twitter increased, I read less, wrote less, and I’m pretty sure I reflected less.  Having abandoned Facebook years ago, I channelled my energy into reading my Twitter timeline.  When I got tired of ed tech conversations which often seemed  circular, repetitive, and generalized, and at times self-serving, I tried to expand my network to include other educational conversations. As the number of people I followed increased, the number of links I clicked on decreased, and I resorted to following 140 character conversations on a superficial level, chirping in occasionally from my post in the peanut gallery.

I’m pretty sure I’d have a much harder time doing my job without the help of Twitter. There isn’t a lot of time to keep up with the ed tech world without participating in Twitter.  In fact, I have to give people  I follow in the BC post secondary  Twittersphere a solid A+ for sharing, assisting with my queries (gold star to @clintlalonde for that btw), and helping me feel part of a BC community.  I also get a lot out of following conferences that I can’t attend via  Twitter streams.  But in 2014 I am asking myself the question, Twitter at the expense of what? Can I balance my social media activity in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve eaten a big bag of chips–full but not really nourished?  As an academic,  do I have a responsibility balance the ease of Twitter, with the harder work of really reading, reflecting, and perhaps commenting on the work of some excellent bloggers and researchers?   Why is it that the time I spend reading Tony Bates’ blog or the OLDaily (who interestingly almost never seem to tweet) or even following sites such as Thot seem to give me more satisfaction that staying on top of my Twitter stream?  In 2014 I’m going try harder to blend old school with new school and see where that takes me.

5 Comments

  1. Tannis, when you talk about the hard work required to read, reflect, and comment, I can relate. I wonder if you might find other microblogging services, like Google+, to be more conducive to this activity? I’ve only just begun using it a couple of months ago but I’m pleased with the dialogue I’ve had there. Perhaps not as useful as Twitter for some things but I like the longer format.

    • Hi Will, I think that’s a great suggestion. When Google+ came around it felt like one more thing to have to jump on, but clearly I need to find a better way. I hadn’t thought of it as a dialogue place, so now I’m intrigued.

      • I’m still very new to it and not sure that I’m “doing it right” yet. But the longer form is more conducive to the kind of writing and communication I’d like to have with friends and colleagues.

        Here’s something I found recently that you might find useful (at least, I found it so):

        How to structure and format lengthy posts on Google+
        https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/XKXVPcqx5vF

        There’s even a link to the raw template file in the comments.

        Best regards!

        • I’m in. Going to give it a try. Do you still use Twitter alongside of G+ or have you migrated all your activity to one?

          • Tannis, I still use Twitter, especially in the ways you described in your post (i.e., for conferences I’m attending or can’t attend). But the contacts I made with folks have been very ephemeral in Twitter and I’ve not been able to build up a large enough group of people to follow to allow me to do what I imagine Twitter does best: pose questions and receive answers (or the other way around).

            My instinct in social media, at least for professional use, is to share information of value and provide some rationale for why one might want to look into this or that thing. I like synthesizing connections from the material I read. That’s what I look forward to in others. But in Twitter, I always felt confined by the brevity required. I can’t express myself well with the limitations.

            G+ just seemed like a good way to prompt me to read and think on a regular basis. I also read a book called *Learning by Wandering* by Marie Martin and it inspired me to try something new.

            Sent from my phone.

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