inviting Rowin to be my twitter buddy
— Sheila MacNeill (@sheilmcn) April 10, 2007
(My first tweet)
James Clay wrote about his 10th twitter birthday recently, and this week I have reached that milestone too. 10 is quite a milestone, it’s double figures, it’s a decade, it’s 38.2k tweets – multiplied by 140 that’s a lot of words, 3,330 followers. Like James my use the service the has evolved over the years. From the initial what’s this all about, to the fun of connecting, using hashtags, archiving and swirly twirly diagrams.
On reflection it has been a bit like growing up. Starting out as a baby trying to figure this new, 140 character, slightly random connections, world out. Then toddling along and finding new, useful things (hashtags, swirly twirly SNA); figuring out how and when to use it in a way that worked for me. How to balance work, learning, v the Eurovision song contest. Finding my voice, making my rules about language, tone, open-ness. From about 5 years old starting to pull back a bit, reclaiming my weekends and non work time aka using Instagram to share pictures of food and other random things instead. . .
I think Twitter is now a habit for me. Whilst I don’t like many of the changes it has brought in over the years it does still offer me a connection and conversation channel other services don’t. I still don’t want or need the service to recommend anything to me. I really dislike the web interface now – it’s too much to see every second the number of new messages. I prefer the ipad/iphone app and the serendipity of scrolling through. That gives me a feeling of being a bit more in control. I’ve never really felt the need to trawl back through twitter – if I miss a tweet, I miss it. If it contains something important to me the message will get to me in some way or via someone else – probably via twitter.
I am obviously aware of the negative side to twitter, the trolls, the bullying, the commercialisation. However I do still think that just now, for me the advantage outweigh the disadvantages. If we all retreat from twitter then the bullies and the advertisers have won. At the beginning of this year I blogged around some of the reasons I am still on twitter
For me, Twitter has always been about the conversation, about making, sustaining and developing connections. My professional life has been greatly enriched through the many conversations and connections I’ve made using the service. And I’ve always been careful to draw my own lines around my personal and professional use of the service. Using Twitter has also helped me to open up some of my practice around learning and teaching.
After last week’s OER17 conference I have really been thinking open hospitality. I have no illusions about my influence and visibility (pretty tiny), but if I wasn’t on twitter a large part of my professional practice would disappear. It’s maybe too easy for those of us who have easy access to this type of service to abandon it with out thinking about the luxury it is. Though after reading this post from Jim Groom maybe I am going to have to rethink my whole approach to open – but that’s for another post.