Twitter has become in the last few years a completely successful web-site, having, according to Ben Parr (2011) more than 100 million active users, and “the company surpassed 200 million tweets per day in June but has since jumped to nearly 250 million daily tweets. The growth has been tremendous: Twitter had around 100 million tweets per day in January 2011″. But not only that, of those 100 million active users, more than the 50% log in everyday.
Being such as successful web-site, some logical questions raise from here: could we use Twitter for educational activities? Could Twitter be more than a way of passing the time? The answer to those questions is easy: Yes, if we know how to use it productively. We can use Twitter as a way of managing business, as Craig Childs (2011) says in his article:
“Twitter for Business Management. We can focus on the versatility of Twitter. Because we are now able to carry out a group conversation over the internet and mobiles simultaneously, managing a group of people can be a little easier.
My business partner, who is scouting locations for a photo shoot, can keep me and my photographer up to date with his progress. While he is shooting off updates from his mobile about good and bad locations, me and the photographer can share our thoughts online, while my partner stays in the loop.
Twitter also allows you to send Direct Messages to a particular user. So if my business partner needs to run an idea past me, personally, without our employees reading in, we can do it.
There are, too, several ways to make it productive, as enlisted in the article by Nick Douglas (2009) :
- Follow the News.
- Get Better Customer Advice.
- Ask for Help.
- Promote your Work/Company.
- Meet Celebrities.
- Check the Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners.
Those are just a few of the things one person could do to improve its Twitter experience, but it is also reccommendable to bear in mind several advices which will make the experience even better. We could take two experts’ opinion on this respect, Jay Adams’s (2010) opinion:
“In order to fully optimize your Twitter experience, you’ve got to be around to pay attention to it. Take a few minutes each day and tweet a couple of things your followers will find valuable in your niche. The more, the better, but if you’re pressed for a time, a few minutes each day is good enough. It’s important that you don’t let a day pass without at least checking in and seeing if anyone has mentioned you in a tweet.”
And Douglas Idugboe’s (2011):
“While it’s important that you don’t overtweet, it’s equally important to make sure that you tweet often enough. It’s a fine line but you need to ensure you tweet often enough so that your followers are still interested in being associated with you.”
And only after you have been following those advices, we can talk about using Twitter to create a kind of Collective Knowledge. We will take Ernesto Priego’s (2011) words to have a deeper view on this:
“Many members of academia marvel (or react with rejection) at the rapid changes in the production and dissemination of scholarly work and interaction between academics and those “outside” academic institutions. Thousands of scholars and higher education institutions are participating in social media (such as Twitter), as an important aspect of their research and teachingwork.“
Besides, taking Dave’s words, it is really remarkable that using Twitter in an academic environment, such as a university lecture,
“When the class started using Twitter was how conversations continued inside and outside of class. Because the students had the shared classroom experience when something came up outside of class that reminded them of material from class time it often got twittered. This served as a reinforcement/connection between the material and the “real world.”
And if that was not enough, it is important to use hash tags to have a way to classify the common knowlege, as Andrea recalls on her article:
“The first thing, hash tags, really helped me to finally find streams that I could follow that actually held value for me. Links to blog posts in the adult learning and training arena, studies, opinions, and back channel resources for a variety of conferences are shared on a daily basis…I just had to know how to find them.”
Thus, only when we know how to use Twitter in a productive way, and to make it productive, only when we know how to have a better Twitter experience and use it in academic environments, using devices created by Twitter, such as the hash tags, only then, we will have a full Twitter experience, which will enhance our views about the world, and that will be part of a collective knowledge that will be useful to everyone interested on it.
- Twitter Has 100 Million Monthly Active Users; 50% Log In Every Day. Ben Parr the 2011/10/18. http://mashable.com/2011/10/17/twitter-costolo-stats
- Twitter: Use it Productively. Craig Childs on 2011/02/09. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/twitter-use-it-productively.html
- Six Ways to Make Twitter Useful. Nick Douglas written on 2009/02/17. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2341087,00.asp#fbid=ujF1JHtXcKh
- 7 things not to do on Twitter. Douglas Idugboe on 2011/04/18 http://smedio.com/2011/04/18/7-things-not-to-do-on-twitter/
- The 10 Commandments of Twitter. Jay Adams on 2010/05/05. http://smedio.com/2010/05/05/the-10-commandments-of-twitter/
- How Twitter will revolutionise academic research and teaching. Ernesto Priego, written on 2011/09/12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2011/sep/12/twitter-revolutionise-academia-research?CMP=twt_gu
- Twitter for Academia. Dave written the 2008/1/23. http://academhack.outsidethetext.com/home/2008/twitter-for-academia/
- I Don’t Care What You Had For Lunch: Finding Professional Value in Twitter. Andrea 2011/07/05. http://www.dashe.com/blog/social-media-2/i-dont-care-what-you-had-for-lunch-finding-professional-value-in-twitter