Transcript of "Micro-Blogging, Futurism, and the Agora"
R. Trebor Scholz | @trebors
What the hell does micro-blogging have to do
with the agora or futurism?
The agora (Greek: Ἀγορά, Agorá) was a central spot in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is "gathering place" or
"assembly". The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city. The Ancient Agora of Athens was the best-known
example, birthplace of democracy.
Is writing status updates a waste of time? What are the disadvantages and opportunities of
engaging in online conversations and sharing practices?
What are some reasons for the popularity of Twitter?
Are novels passé? Do even email, videos on
Vimeo, and IM take up too much time now?
Which way of using Twitter worked best for you?
How can micro-blogging help you to distribute your
How does the way we relate to others differ on Twitter
Twitter and the Futurist Manifesto
Why Does Micro-Blogging Matter?
How Twitter Came To Be
Twitter Desktop Clients
How Do People Use Twitter?
Twitter in the Organization/in Education
Twitter as a Citizen News-Wire?
Twitter, War, Catastrophe
The Manifesto of
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1909)
youth, technology, speed
“Look at us! We are not out of breath, our hearts are not in the least tired. For
they are nourished by ﬁre, hatred and speed! Does this surprise you? it is because
you do not even remember being alive! Standing on the world's summit, we launch
once more our challenge to the stars!”
The Futurist Manifesto
selected from: http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2009/01/04/chronicle_hlp.html#comment52073
howardowens: "Twitter is a salon in 140 characters."
uchicagolaw: Twitter allows us to give prospective students a bite-sized glimpse into what life here is like.
memoirgirl: "Now I'm not just funny to myself."
calixte: "I use my Cognitive Surplus to do some Mindcasting, using the ultimate Blip Machine: Twitter."
dangillmor: "Twitter is a current (and sometimes early) warning and gossip system, with occasional insight
and frequent amusement."
tiffanyvonemmel: "Twitter is how I meet with busy people. It replaces email. At academic conferences, I use
Twitter to demonstrate the performative turn of knowledge."
DW: "Twitter is my shared notepad. If I want to remember something and I don't mind if everyone else
knows it, I just post it here."
HarryWaisbren: "I ﬁnd twitter useful to engage journalists, bloggers, and academics casually whereas
within other mediums they would resist."
ryansholin: "Twitter is a connection engine that costs nothing. No bar tab, no conference registration, no
commitment. Just 140 characters."
What they say about Twitter
Why Does Micro-Blogging Matter?
(A Preliminary List)
• Inconspicuous way of staying in touch with the passions and obsessions of your friends,
colleagues, and experts. What are they paying attention to right now (short messages and also
• Update people on what you are writing on your blog
• Social capital, “The Strength of Weak Ties” (Granovetter, 1973)
• Live search: abbreviated live-blogging of a group.
Twitter as live-version of social bookmarking services like Delicious-- ask questions
•Art (i.e, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth)
•Twitter as news-wire and citizen journalism.
• Citizen volunteerism and fundraising: (i.e.,Twestival)
Why Does Micro-Blogging Matter?
(A Preliminary List)
• File sharing
(with the help of services like http://www.acamin.com/ you can share ﬁles up to 15 MB)
• Event live micro-blogging, 140 characters at a time
(i.e., group of people covering simultaneous sessions at a conference)
• Informal social learning (acculturating into communities of practice, evidence of learning
process, shareable teaching, reach beyond classroom, access to information becomes access to
people who know, self-organized communities). Examples: surgery
• Post-disaster relief (i.e, Mumbai bombings, Gustav)
• Increase intra-organizational linkages, connection to larger community and transparency
(i.e., universities, U.S. State Department)
Making a More “Live” LiveJournal
May 31st, 2000
“One night in July of that year I had an idea to make
a more "live" LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from
the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from
wherever you are, and sharing it. For the next 5 years,
I thought about this concept and tried to silently
introduce it into my various projects.
The 6th year; the idea has ﬁnally solidiﬁed .... and taken a
novel form.We're calling it twttr (though this original
rendering calls it stat.us; I love the word.ed domains,
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
Words, Words, Words
dweet (tweet sent while drunk)
twead (reading a twitter post)
tweeps (peeps on Twitter)
tweetheart not to be mistaken with tweetard
tweetUp (Twitter users meet in person)
twibute (to pay tribute to someone)
twirting (ﬂirting on Twitter)
twitch (when you twitter a typo)
“How to win friends and twinﬂuence people?”
Twitter in Plain English
The Anatomy of Twitter
URL shortening (for link sharing)
(Your clever words passed on by dozens of people)
(not public, used by 25% of users)
“Tweets” (can’t edit, 140 characters)
“following” (start with 15-20)
-Buzz Group Break-
What question would you most like to have answered
regarding the topic of the lecture today?
Of all ideas and points you have heard so far today, which is
the most obscure or ambiguous to you?
What is the most contentious statement you heard in the
lecture so far?
“For security reasons, the congressional delegation led by House Minority
Leader John Boehner to Iraq today was supposed to be secret. Everything had
been going ﬁne in that regard. Even media outlets that knew of the trip, like the
Congressional Quarterly, kept a lid on the news.
That was, until Rep. Peter Hoekstra twittered his arrival into Baghdad. "Just
landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be ﬁrst time I've had bb
service in Iraq. 11th trip here," he sent from his BlackBerry. “
US Diplomats Start Twittering, ...
Erykah Badu twitters her child birth "This f*cking hurts like hell!"
"I'm gonna kill this doctor if he does't get this thing out of me."
"Why isn't Andre 3000 here yet?"
“Do this TODAY:
1. Read 5 Ways to Help Twestival Raise $1 Million, then go to http://4charitymate.com and give what you can
2.Attend your local Twestival event. (check http://Twestival.com) Have fun and donate again
3.Tweet to let your followers know it’s Twestival day
4. Post a blog, Facebook Note, MySpace Bulletin or whatever you can
5. Mail to your mailing list.. tell them all how important Twesitval is to the world
6. Leave a comment here so we can share your blog post with others”
Daniel Schorr (91) starts to twitter.
Twitter reminds him of the Agora, which was an open
"place of assembly," a market place in ancient Greece (900s–700s BCE).
•Learn what people say about you and join that conversation
•Find experts in your ﬁeld on Twellow.com or Twitter Search
•What do they think about your organization?
•Twitter as possibility for creating intellectual community.
•Organizational: quick way to point to problems.
•Of course, it only works if people make an effort to use it.
Twitter in the Organization
Twuffer allows the Twitter user to compose a list of future tweets, and schedule their release. You can tweet hourly/daily/monthly announcements.
• Chat with your professor or other students after class
• Collaborate on a project. Start a conversation thread.
• In-class back channel
•Follow the tweets of professionals
• Share your teaching resources beyond the class room
Twitter in Education
A Few Places to Start
Nicholas Kristof (NYT)
Breaking News Alerts
Brian Lehrer WNYC
A Few People
“There's a plane in the Hudson.
I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy,”
J Krums in a 3:50 p.m.
Faster than Associate Press (AP)
(i.e., BBC follows Twitter to stay on top of events)
- PRO: In several instances Twitter received updates faster than
TV or news websites: new outlet for citizen journalism
- CON: Unreliable sources
US Airways Flight 1549, January 15 2009
The event was also caught on video; the footage was uploaded toYoutube.
In addition, hundreds of photos were added to Flickr.
David Weinberger twitters the Superbowl (@dweinberger) also search for #TwitterBowl
Twitter as tool for war reporting http://labs.aljazeera.net/warongaza/main
“‘Grenade attack in Colaba market,’
read a Twitter message from a user named Abhishek Baxi last Wednesday.
Then a few minutes later.‘Blast outside Oberoi Hotel in South Mumbai.’
A few years ago, sane people would have still argued that the whole point of taking your time with reporting a
story is so that you have a chance to synthesize facts, evaluate your sources, double-check and get your story
straight.” - David Sarno
Insta-Reporting the Mumbai Bombings
December 2, 2008
1) Write a 140 characters explanation of Twitter and post it to Twitter.
2) Write a ﬁctitious (or real) love letter in no more than 140 characters.
3) Write a real (or ﬁctitious) breakup Twitter post.
4) How can Twitter be used in class? Suggest how we could make use of Twitter in
class. Post your idea to Twitter.
5) Comment on a current political event, add a link.
Due date February 26 (before class):
- Create a Twitter account.
- Twitter at least sporadically until the end of the semester.
Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913)