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Intro to twitter

kwyly's picture

*had trouble getting on to serendip so here the first blog post!

I wanted to write a response to Alice's general question to Olivia :"On Twitter how do we track back through a conversational thread if we're entering midstream?". Even though this was a question on how to use twitter in the most logical way, this tweet encouraged me to to think about the significance of entering a conversation through twitter. In a physical conversation it is easy to ask for clarifications or to revisit certain parts of the conversation. This differs from tweeting since, at least at first, it is only possible to read certain portions of an ongoing conversation. Similarly, tweets represent only a portion of a person's thought process that can of course be expanded upon but often is left as a short conversation or a standalone comment. Tweeting represents a condensed statement on a larger set of thoughts; because of the limited word count and how tweets are often unanswered, it is easy to enter a dialogue through a very short statement on the topic. Without immediate clarification, individuals can focus on that statement and react to an often incomplete thought. This process has advantages and disadvantages. While it allows for participants to think for themselves about what they read and the chance to easily respond to any conversation online, it also provides an incomplete basis for entering these conversations through receiving partial information. For me, it is difficult to compare twitter to a conversation. Although maybe they are not the same and shouldn't be compared, I feel nervous about relying on twitter as an electronic resource for furthering this new type of conversation. On the other hand, this new type of conversation also provides a way of spreading knowledge and opinions at a faster rate than physical conversations. Either way, I am excited to try entering a new sort of communication and see how I decide to use twitter over time as I grow more comfortable with it.


et502's picture

tweeting accessibly

Thanks for this post - it’s made me think about being more publicly accessible with my tweets, rather than focusing too much on specific, individualized responses.
Written language always runs the risk of misinterpretation and confusion. For example, I recently realized that I’m not very good at texting, because my responses usually presuppose that my audience will read them in my conversational tone. So I’m trying to be more conscious of how my texts can be interpreted. I think I should apply this mentality to tweeting. So far, I’ve been very specific in my responses, I think, which may alienate some people from the conversation. I’ll have to think about how I’m tweeting - I’ll try to think about whether my responses are actually inviting other people to join in the conversation, or just cryptically responding to individuals (ie, yes/no statements) -

Another thing: I noticed that when I use the Twitter app on the iPad, it actually arranges all of your tweets into conversations! So instead of just seeing the previous tweet, I can see all of the tweets that resulted in the one response that I open -
alesnick's picture

fostering access by communication choices

I appreciate so much this thoughtfulness because, as a teacher working to help others become teachers (inside and outside of schools), I think being thoughtful about how our ways with words include or "disclude" (as my daughter used to call say when she was little) is hugely important.  So: not being "PC," but being mindful to speak in ways that make pathways for others to enter the conversation, to participate.  This is a vital part of education and global community building.

alesnick's picture

what is conversation?

Thanks for this richly skeptical reading of twitter as "conversation." As I read, my mind first goes to the image of face-to-face conversation, which is also always partial, and mediated, with openings and veilings, silences and voicing.  They are different from virtual conversations, but perhaps there are similiarities, too. Of course, a long, leisurely series of in-person conversations, preferably over many, many years and delicious meals and long walks, is one of the chief beauties and glories of human life!  My interest in tech grows out of wanting MORE of this, not less :)