Thing 7 – Twitter
This week there were three options for this Thing: beginners activities, intermediate activities, and choose not to sign up. I think this kind of self-selection of activities is something we should see more in courses like this, although I would like to see an “advanced” activity list as well OR have a portion that relates this Thing to other Things we have done already in the course as a way or integrating concepts (more on this later).
Creating lists is actually something I’ve found useful in a number of cases. The most recent list I created was for the Open Education Platform managed by Creative Commons. Through conversations with others in the platform we determined that creating this list would be a useful way to follow the activities of members. To get the list going in this community Nate Angell and I wrote a letter to the community, an excerpt here:
Upon receiving the first email from Cable Green with a list of initial tasks, I (JR Dingwall) took a photo and tweeted out to #500andcounting and #ccopenedu (and now #600andcounting). I then took some time to see who else was tweeting when it occurred to me that keeping track of a community on Twitter can be a bit tricky. I could follow everyone who tweeted, but then I worried voices would get lost in the rest of my stream (not to mention Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t show me everyone’s tweets anymore). I thought I could follow a hashtag, but then that limits my interaction with the community to only a few specific conversations. Finally, I settled on the idea of a Twitter list that could include everyone in the #ccopenedu community that wishes to be included.
This kicked off a bit of a conversation on Twitter with Cable Green, Nate Angell and myself about the potential benefits of having such a list. Nate suggested that a Twitter list would be a huge benefit to #ccopenedu members by bringing together all the posts in the stream of the group. This list would be one of the most valuable feeds related to people engaged in OpenEd he could imagine. He also pointed out that one can already see in JR’s list how it acts as a filter on Twitter, applying the lens of this special community.
The Twitter list functions like the gaps between sessions at a conference. Everyone who is present is interested in similar topics, goals, and ideas, but the incidental/accidental conversations that go beyond just the conference I think is where more meaningful connections with other education professionals can really happen. The Twitter list does this by allowing viewers to group the collective tweets of the list members. No hashtags required.
Now, Twitter analytics is something I’ve never really looked into before. I used to see posts from certain users (obviously tweeted by a single click or by a bot) that would say something like “this week I have 14 new followers, and 20 retweets” or something like that. I like how the home dashboard lists the most interacted with tweets for each month. Checking out the audience tab I can see most of my followers are english speaking Canadians (surprise!). The Interests tab is pretty interesting, apparently it’s mostly: science news, space and astronomy, dogs (weird), tech news, technology (those make sense), weather (LOL), national parks, educational news and general info. Now here’s the real knee slapper, apparently under TV Genres my biggest audience segment (at 55%) is Sports. I know I retweet some IJF and Judo Canada stuff, but seriously, sports?
The course also asks a bit about Twitter management tools like TweetDeck. I used to use both TweetDeck and Hootesuite, but over time I found them both difficult to keep up with, and Hootesuite’s payment structure sent me running pretty quick. Honestly, the app on iOS and the web client using Firefox are how I interact with Twitter most often. I know power users are probably shocked by this, but what can I say, it works for what I use Twitter for.
So, thinking back on the digital footprint Thing, and the Privacy Thing I wanted to mention that you might have noticed I dropped from about 20K Tweets to about 700. There is an old saying about how “the internet is forever”, and Twitter is a perfect example of that. How often have you seen someone make a claim on Twitter only to see someone pop into their replies with a screen capture of them Tweeting exactly the opposite 1 year, 2 years, 9 years ago? Not only this, but leaving old Tweets up provides a huge data farm for basically anyone to go ahead and harvest for their own needs. So, I think it was about 2-3 years ago I started seeing folks involved with Hybrid Pedagogy, Hack Education, and other educators I follow on Twitter (such as Mike Caulfield) start to delete their Tweets. Twitter does not make this easy, as you can only delete one Tweet at a time. Kris Schaffer had written some code to automate the process and I came across a post by Amy Collier about using it. Unfortunately, Twitter had updated their API and I wasn’t able to do that. So dead in the water it seemed. That was, until I saw a blog post by Doug Belshaw talking about how he went about it.He provides additional reasons for why you might want to give this a shot.We ended up using a tool called https://www.gocardigan.com and it worked in just a few minutes.