Tweet Lite

I had a panic first thing this morning due to not being able to get online in the session rooms. I’m from the UK so it’s crazy expensive for me to turn data-roaming on on my iPhone and I misread the wifi policy for people not staying here. Aside of the fact I’m just one of those people who feels a bit out of the loop unless I can get to Twitter, Facebook or my RSS feeds, this panic also has a great deal to do with the way I process information – particularly at conferences.

It was apt that I was having this panic from the session on Technology and Collaboration the Art History Classroom. One of the speakers mentioned how much more engaged her students were when given the opportunity to apply the information they were receiving actually during the lecture. The rest of the session went on to look at what tools art historians are using to allow for this participative engagement.

I’m the same as those students. In the time before Twitter (maybe 5 years BT), I used to get serious conference fatigue because I felt like I was being exposed to all sorts of inspiring and rich ideas but I didn’t know where to put them. And as I hate missing anything, when I perhaps should take myself off to think stuff through, I’ll stay in a session feeling ever more flooded with information. In these post-Twitter times (that’s PT), at a conference, I find it really useful to tweet summaries of what’s being talked about alongside my own ideas (which seem to come quicker when I can do short, sharp summaries to digest what’s being said) as well as interact with people who aren’t there in the session – spreading the debate even wider. I like being able to go back and retrieve these tweets, which turn out very differently to the notes I might take, and are also usually full of links for me to follow up on. In addition to this, I’ve come to rely on twitter hashtags to find out what’s being talked about in other session rooms so that I can make a note to find out about that session later on.

Not being able to tweet today has confirmed in my mind just how useful I find it and how it makes me engage in different way with the information I’m being exposed to. I was a little surprised in all the tools talked about in Technology and Collaboration the Art History Classroom that twitter wasn’t mentioned. I have successfully used it with my own students to help them tighten up the way they relay information. Forgetting – for the moment – the debate over whether SMS-speak/slang diminishes language, being forced to convey an idea very briefly forces you to get to the essence of that idea. My own students wrote much better essays after I’d had them tweet their notes and really think about how people would understand what they were saying.

So today was strange for me. I felt a bit lost without my favourite tool.  On the other hand, it was pointed out to me that as I’d been forced to just sit and listen, and couldn’t juggle several data streams, I was a lot less stressed!

This entry was posted in Twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tweet Lite

  1. Susan Healy says:

    You’re absolutely right, Charlotte! Beth Harris and Stephen Zucker were mentioned by all of us, but Twitter didn’t get a single nod! Thanks for sharing your use of Twitter-I’ll likely give it a try. I usually have them do the same exercise during lecture, but with old school pen and paper or laptops for those who have them. If I encourage them to tweet or FB the content, it might engage them more, and they may be more likely to use it later while studying.