Initial thoughts on "Follower networks, and "list intelligence" list contexts" for @jisccetis

As many of you will probably know, Tony Hirst, has been doing some really interesting work recently around data visualisation. Last week he blogged about some work he had been doing visualising his twitter network, and at the end of his post offered to “spend 20 minutes or so” creating visualisations for others – for a donation to charity. Co-incidentally we had an internal CETIS communications meeting last week where we were talking about our reach/networks etc so I decided to take up Tony’s offer

Hi Tony
happy to make a donation to ovacome if you would do a map for me -well actually for CETIS, Would like to see if we can make sense of (any) links between our corporate “jisccetis” twitter account and our individual ones.
Sheila

and the results are here. Tho’ I suspect it probably took more than 20 minutes 🙂

I haven’t spent a great deal of time yet analysing the graphs in detail, but there are a couple of thoughts that Tony’s post triggered that I feel merit a bit more contexualisation.

Firstly, yes the @jisccetis has a relatively low number of followers (currently 193) and doesn’t follow anyone. This is partly due to the way we manage (or perhaps mis-mangage) the account. As most of the staff in CETIS have personal twitter accounts, we haven’t really been using the corporate one much. However recently we have been making more of an effort to use it, and now have set up automated tweets from the RSS feeds for our news and events which are augmented with other notable items e.g. the joint UKOLN/CETIS survey on use institutional use of mobile web services.

We haven’t really put an awful lot of time or effort into a corporate twitter strategy – other than reckoning we should have a “corporate” account and use it:-) We didn’t take a decision about not following anyone, that just sort of happened. We (the small group of us who are ‘the keepers’ of the @jisccetis login details) don’t really look at the actual account page much now as most of the output is automated. Actually I feel that this approach works well for this type of account. As it isn’t ‘owned’ by one person it doesn’t (and won’t) build the kinds of relationships more personal accounts have. Not following people doesn’t seen to stop people following the account – and if you don’t follow @jisccetis, then quick plug, please do – we don’t spam and send out pretty useful info for edutechie types.

Tony’s work on the lists for the account is interesting too. TBH I hadn’t really had a close look at what lists the account was on – and thanks to all eight of you for listing the account. As so many CETIS staff are on twitter, people may wonder why we don’t have our own CETIS list. Well there is a bit of historical background there too. When lists came out at first, some members of staff did create such a list, however there were other staff members who didn’t want to be listed in that way, so we never really took the list idea any further forward in a corporate sense. As anyone who uses twitter knows, there is a fine line between personal and work use ( personally I tend to it for more for the later now) and our twitter accounts are personal accounts. Like most of our use of web 2.0 communication tools, we take a very light touch approach – no one has to tweet and we have, and wouldn’t want to have, editorial control. We rely on common sense and judgement; which for the most part works remarkably well. We use the same policy for blogging too.

The visualisations are really fascinating and my colleagues and I will be taking a much closer look at them over the coming weeks. I’m sure they will be key for us in our continuing development and (mis)management of the@jisccetis twitter account. One thing I now would love to do is hire Tony for a week or so to get him to do the same for all our individual accounts and cross reference them all. However I think that given “the current climate” we may have to do that ourselves, but there is certainly plenty of food for thought to be going on with.

0 comments

  1. Nice visualisation – a bit like the ones you can get of your LinkedIn network from http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/ and they have really nice interactive features.

    So I guess what someone needs to do is to reproduce the kind of automatic functionality you get with LinkedIn Maps and port it to other tools. I guess someone has done it for a price, but the challenge will be to do it for free…

  2. Hi Simon

    Yes, Tony has very kindly offered to do some more experimentation with some of our personal twitter networks too, and I’ll keep everyone updated with progress.

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