The Twitter Sphere – Two Uses

A couple of tweets caught my eye today (and had Jeff Nugent and I in deep conversation!).

Steve Rubel Tweet

followed by:

In the first, Steve Rubel pointed all of us to a blog post by Leah Jones entitled Enabled Serendipity. Leah talked about how Twitter continually enables her to find and meet other people who are passing through life in the same places she is at. If she is in an airport or passing time at a restaurant, she will tweet that fact and find other people doing the same thing, and hook up with them. I was not sure whether she was tweeting with a laptop or a cellphone (and it probably does not matter), but the fact remained that she had taken a communication application and turned it from a virtual connection tool into a physical connection tool.

She noted:

Due to the Enabled Serendipity of Twitter, I now have a global community. I’ve met people around the country and abroad. I’ve fallen in and out of something close to love. I’ve been able to make introductions that turned into jobs. I have a new group of friends in Chicago that don’t roll their eyes when I talk about nerdy-nerdy things and I’ve even got most of my family on Twitter…

Not sure I have the cajones to serendipitously meet people this way, but I find it fascinating that she is so comfortable doing it. As we become more “wired” and wireless, will this become more common and an accepted practice?

The second tweet came from one of the participants in our summer Teaching and Learning with Technology Institute, Audrey Short. At the Institute, Audrey teamed up with another participant, Cindy Kissel-Ito, so that both would begin using Twitter and also have their summer students use Twitter. Audrey was teaching an ESL course, while Cindy was teaching a World Studies course. The combination gave non-English speakers access to partners to practice English, while the World Studies students gained access to individuals from other cultures. Audrey’s tweet pointed us to her Tumblr site where she reflected on the course and her students comments on their experiences. It was obvious that the pairing of the classes had a positive impact. One student said:

The most enjoyable activity in this speaking class for me is to talk with the world study students because I am shy person and this activity helps me to remove my shyness and this activity help me try to find some word to make the person understands me, so this activity improve my vocabulary.

As Jeff noted to me, we are beginning so see this “free” tool used in some interesting and unique ways, with little regard as to its long-term viability (which has been rocky to date). It appears to be already becoming part of the landscape even though no one knows whether it will be here in six months – or look the same, and we are certainly not seeing many people asking:

“Who owns all of this social data?”

“How is this data being used?”

I don’t know…and if you do, send me the answer (in 140-characters or less). But…as more and more systems try and regulate (or ban) social media (for instance), I find it refreshing that we have two positive examples of uses of Twitter. The whale wins in these cases!

{Photo Credit: Lemasney}

2 thoughts on “The Twitter Sphere – Two Uses

  1. Thanks for your comments about my Twitter Star guest post. I think I met my first friend from the internet in 1993, so it has always been something I’m comfortable with.

    I find that I build a friendship through casual conversation via twitter, much like we used to at the water cooler, and then when I’m on the road, I can meet people.

    Depending on WiFi availability, I’m either on my Blackberry or laptop. Usually it is from my bberry that I end up meeting people, because I’m much more mobile.

  2. Britt, On target as ever. What a great way to get interaction between unrelated students, who still have a common interest. Now if I could only see a way to use this technique with either my freshmen or seniors.

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