Is anyone not familiar with Twitter? (If so, über-brief explanation)
I started formally tracking Twitter through a Google alert back in February of 2008. A few interesting things surfaced from time to time, but nothing compelling enough to make me begin using the service. Then I read a negative Twitter post on Classroom 2.0 in April of 2008—and more importantly, a comment from Melanie McBride, a Toronto education technology consultant. McBride pointed to 5 folks that helped to redefine the service’s utility.
She mentioned someone named Peter West, who McBride claimed “posted no fewer than 20 academic papers via his Twitter RSS in the past 24 hours.” The idea that Twitter was being used to share peer-reviewed research in any discipline was enough for me to dig a little deeper, and I added Peter West’s Twitter account to my delicious bookmarks. A few months later, I became an active user, and a little later in today’s presentation I’ll discuss an interview I recently conducted with Peter West about how he views and uses Twitter within a broader suite of knowledge management tools and ecologies.
Last fall (2008), four of my undergraduate Workplace Writing and Organizational Communication students and I used Twitter to aggregate and share amongst each other research on social media as part of brand-management strategies.
In the course we talked consistently about the role of rhetoric and writing—especially as manifested in digital media environments like Facebook, Twitter, and corporate blogs—within an organization’s identity, image, and brand management strategies.
In our project, which led to a conference presentation in February this year, we used Twitter to track and research professionals in the area that we explored (such as Jeremiah Owyang, of Forrester Research, and Daniela Barbosa of Dow Jones) while also deploying Twitter as a tool to collate and share such research. For example, one of my students focused on intercultural issues in social media, and as a part of her research, she posted interesting finds for group use (and that of the larger Twitter community).
These experiences allowed our group to research new approaches to the discursive relationships between ubiquitous computing and corporate brand management, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the disciplinary knowledge of Rhetoric and Writing Studies and Professional Communication. This research builds directly from the work that began in the classroom, exploring and extending theories of discourse, change, and content management from scholars like Brenton Faber and Bill Hart-Davidson.
Extending the Classroom: Conversations, Content, and Microblogging with Twitter
Extending the Classroom: Conversations, Content,
and Microblogging with Twitter
Brian J. McNely :: Department of English :: Emerging Media Initiative