Twitter Again


I do not quite understand AltLab’s obsession with Twitter.

Create a meme? Put it on Twitter.
Use a new widget? Announce it on Twitter.
Create a Home button? Proclaim it on Twitter.


If the idea is to find out how all of us are proceeding, then why not create a closed system, a private club, where we can discuss online education to heart’s content? But there’s an insistence that everything be public, that all of our activities here should be transmitted to everyone we know — or rather, everyone who follows us on Twitter.

Again, why? Why must friends or colleagues or collaborators be notified that I have fulfilled an assignment for this online program?

If I’m working for VCU AltLab, okay, I get it. This is a central activity of my everyday life and my professional practice. But for the rest of us?

It’s probably not. And it brings up a larger issue…..which I’ll write about in the next entry.

4 thoughts on “Twitter Again

  1. Obsession seems a bit strong and I don’t recall at least 1/3 of your examples.

    We opted to turn in those things through Twitter for couple of reasons, none of them really focused on proclaiming anything dramatic. It was more meant as an easy entry point to the mechanics of using Twitter (tags mainly) and a small demonstration on how combinations of tags can create flows and aggregations of information. I agree that those kinds of lesson submissions aren’t terribly exciting (although I think it fits nicely with the meme one).

    I’m pretty sure if Twitter was the “central activity of my everyday life and professional practice” I’d opt to switch jobs. 🙂 It does connect me to interesting people and things on a regular basis and has worth for that reason. My time on Twitter probably averages less than 10 minutes a day.

    I’ll address some of the open concerns on the other post.

  2. Thanks, Tom.

    I intended a kind of comic ring with the word “obsession.” But now I see it can be taken in an pejorative way, so I’m sorry about that.

    That said, Twitter does come up a heap in these early exercises, and there hadn’t been much info regarding Twitter’s role, if any, in online education (which I sort of mentioned in the earlier Marilyn entry).

    And I think I’m batting three for three with the examples. With the meme, menu and widget “makes” (as well as others) we’re instructed to use Twitter to notify our progress.

    I’m essentially pointing out that there lies a tension of sorts in creating a blog and a twitter account that reflects our progress here, but also might serve as a window to the world on our public identity. But is this our identity? Or is it just one aspect of a complex life? That’s what I meant by the poorly-worded comment you picked up on. God knows, I don’t really think that twittering forms a central activity of yours, or anyone else from the Alt Lab. My point was that online education is a significant thrust of your professional life (which is excellent), so it’s more natural when your online education work emerges on Twitter and other social media.

    But online education doesn’t form a huge part of my work — at least not yet — so it’s unclear why others outside of our community need to know about my activities.

    That’s what I’m getting at, here and in the other post.

  3. I have really been getting used to using twitter and creating an online presence. One of Julinda’s posts had a podcast that opened the door to the topic of online presence. I think we will all find positives and negatives associated and the level of relevancy to our lives will be unique. For my work it is important to beam up to the online world, with Twitter being a resourceful component. But I don’t think that would hold true for all. In terms of all the tweeting for the OLE; sometimes it helps me finds you guys quickly. 🙂

  4. I get it and you’re not hurting my feelings. If I can justify (or at least explain) some choices, what good am I? 🙂

    Part of the drive behind the public nature of a lot of this stuff is an attempt to create communities and networks that do good things for the individuals and the larger network as well. It hasn’t worked particularly well but we are trying to engage some people from our personal networks of connections in this conversation in a way that is meaningful/beneficial for you.

    There’s a lot more details in the Connected Learning Framework if you want to see them. I agree it doesn’t need to be a black and white decision. Some stuff can be public, some stuff private or restricted to the course community. In most courses I see there is plenty of privacy and so we (ALT Lab) tend to stress trying some public activities. That probably/likely comes across as proselytizing and lacking in nuance so we’ll have to work on fixing that.

    I think you can and should challenge stuff like this and I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

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