Category Archives: Twitter
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!
I got to the Hilton late and in a bit of a funk Wednesday morning while waiting for my favorite fool-proof blend of French roast Italian espresso to hit the brain. Just inside the door, about to climb onto the north escalator, I immediately bumped into a friend – we hugged, and I went on; once at the top of the escalator I bumped into another friend, this time ready for a brief conversation (caffeine infusing). Ten minutes later I bumped into yet another friend with whom I had some serious catching up to do. As we stood talking in the middle of the thoroughfare that is the Hilton’s 2nd floor lobby, we each caught the eye of other friends who then stopped to chat. Two of us, ostensibly strangers, suddenly remembered we’d had dinner together with some people about six years ago during the CAA conference in Atlanta – pleasant memory: much expensive wine had been imbibed that evening.
And so, in the twenty minutes or so that passed, two people chatting had fluctuated and morphed into various groups of three, four, then five, finally breaking off into twos before dispersing altogether. Temporary plans were done and undone, panel sessions suggested, meetings complained about, lunch plans cemented.
As I left, heading for the panel session I felt would be the perfect ice-breaker for the conference, I squeezed off a tweet – something about this conference blog with a link and the hashtag #CAA or #CAA2011. I thought about how twitter, more often than not, facilitates the online expression of what just happened in the Hilton lobby: people coming together, some strangers, some friends, exchanging information and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs: phone numbers, URLS, hugs. So here is a widget of all things #CAA. Please feel free to tag your own tweets as such where applicable, and thus contribute to this casual, ever-fluctuating group of acquaintances and friends.