Draft Version, originally published in: Ebner, M. (2013). The Influence of Twitter on the Academic Environment. Patrut, B....
2	  Microblogs are very close to social networks according to the definition pointed out in Figure 1 due totheir main comp...
3	  death of Michael Jackson (Kim & Gilbers, 2009), the election of Barack Obama, and further politicalevents of great imp...
4	  response definitely increases compared to prior years. The next release of the Twitterwall will also allowto post with...
5	  According to that approach another practical example was carried out in the lecture called“Social Aspects of Informati...
6	  A very simple possibility to collect information is to use microblogging streams of differentsources. In our contex di...
7	  was displayed on several walls with simple projectors and screens. Besides those walls located atmeeting points also a...
8	                                          [place FIGURE 8 here]          Figure 8. Researcher Affinity Browser (http://a...
9	                              or install an own platformDocumentation and           Use an application that       http:/...
10	  simply to communicate with a worldwide (academic) community. From this perspective the useof Twitter or similar softw...
11	  Ebner, M., Lienhardt, C., Rohs, M., Meyer, I (2010a), Microblogs in Higher Education – a chance tofacilitate informal...
12	  Mühlburger, H.; Ebner, M.; Taraghi, B. (2010) @twitter Try out #Grabeeter to Export, Archive andSearch Your Tweets. -...
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The Influcence of Twitter on Academic Environment

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Draft version of article of the book "Social Media and the New Academic Environment: Pedagogical Challenges" http://www.igi-global.com/book/social-media-new-academic-environment/69841#description

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The Influcence of Twitter on Academic Environment

  1. 1. Draft Version, originally published in: Ebner, M. (2013). The Influence of Twitter on the Academic Environment. Patrut, B.,Patrut, M., Cmeciu, C. (ed.). Social Media and the New Academic Environment: Pedagogical Challenges. IGI Global. 2013. pp. 293-307. http://www.igi-global.com/book/social-media-new-academic-environment/69841 The Influence of Twitter on the Academic EnvironmentMartin EbnerSocial Learning, Computer and Information Services, Graz University of Technology, AustriaABSTRACTIn the last few years microblogging has become a phenomenon of our daily live. Communicating, sharingmedia files, as well as acting on digital social communities platforms using mobile devices assist oureveryday activities in a complete new way. Therefore it is very reasonable that academic environmentsare influenced arbitrarily too. In this publication different settings for the use of microblogging arepointed out – for teaching and learning as well as for further scientific purposes such as professionalconferences. It can be summarized that there are different possibilities to use microblogging in anacademic context; each of them are new advantages for the academic life. The publication gives a shortoverview and a first insight into the various ways to use microblogging.INTRODUCTIONDominating platforms of the World Wide Web of the last years belong to the type called social networks.The most popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, and the newcomer Google+. First of all, a short look at thecharacteristics of a social network must be taken to understand the typical idea of such systems.According to Koch & Richter (Koch & Richter, 2008) social software is a web based information systemof the Web 2.0 generation, which allows interaction within a community in various ways. In contrast toWeb 1.0 technologies users are made possible to search, find, and connect to each other as well asexchange multimedia content in a very handsome and easy way. Schmid (Schmidt, 2006) stated that thesoftware itself is not social per se; the people who are using it collaboratively are the moving power tomake such software become social. Koch & Richter (Koch & Richter, 2008) also defined the three crucialcomponents of social software: • Identity and network management: Allows user to create his/her own profile as well as the possibility to connect with each other. • Information management: Allows user to exchange, find, and rate their multimedia data. • Interaction and communication: Allows communication and interaction between users in various ways.In the last years many different social networks were introduced to the World Wide Web community.Actually it has become hard to categorize them. Ebner & Lorenz (Ebner & Lorenz, 2012) carried out amodel according to the described three crucial components. Each factor displayed in the model representsone axis in a three-dimensional cube. Figure 1 shows different information systems like weblogs, wikis,or even microblogging systems with their representation and relation to social networks. For example,social bookmarking systems and wikis are excellent platforms for delivering information but of lessinterest for providing identity management or interaction amongst users. In opposite, instant messagingservices (like MSN or Skype) allow excellent communication but are not appropriate for presentation ofinformation. [place FIGURE 1 here] Figure 1. Definition and overview of social software according to Ebner & Lorenz (2012)
  2. 2. 2  Microblogs are very close to social networks according to the definition pointed out in Figure 1 due totheir main components such as making friends, becoming ones followers, creating a user profile, andinteracting with users via posts and direct messages. Furthermore various multimedia data can beuploaded in order to exchange it with other users (Haewoon et al., 2010). Templeton (Templeton, 2008)defines microblogging as a small-scale form of blogging made up from short, succinct messages, used byboth consumers and businesses to share news, post status updates, and carry on conversations. Therefore aclear separation from weblogs (Rosenbloom, 2004) can be done, which are more used to write largeronline essays with a personal touch to a specific topic.Maybe the most well-known feature of microblogging systems is the restriction to 140 signs for each postremembering the short-message service of mobile phones. Nevertheless it must be asked, why this servicegains such popularity and attracts so many active users. One of the success factors for sure is thesimplicity to share ideas, daily situations, as well as multimedia files with anyone in the world. Assistedby mobile phones and the growing popularity of mobile Internet access the service becomes ubiquitousavailable. So, since 2007 a complete new way to interact and communicate with people independently oftime and place has been established. The so called “living within a big personal information stream”becomes reality and is nowadays part of the information society. Dealing with information was nevereasier in the history of mankind in principle.Of course, this progress influences also the work of researchers and teachers. Therefore this contributionprovides an insight into related research studies into the microblogging platform Twitter in an academicenvironment. After a short introduction to Twitter explicit examples are given to demonstrate thepossibilities for microblogging systems to be useful for teaching and learning as well as for daily researchwork. The results are discussed and summarized in the last chapters.TWITTERTwitter was not the first microblogging platform offered for free registration, but it is the most well-known and most used one so far. Twitter’s weblog states the impressive numbers of 140 million tweetssent per day in March 2011, or more than 460000 created accounts per day within the same time (Twitter,2011). Finally the number of mobile users increased from 2010 – 2011 with 182%. A similar growth canonly be noticed for the other two big social networks Facebook and Google+. But those both systems arenot typical microblogging platforms at all.Twitter and other microblogging platforms are characterized by: • A concept of shortness: The number of signs for each post (in case of Twitter it is called ”tweet”) is usually limited to 140 signs. • A concept of friends and followers: Friends are accounts I am following and I am followed back by so called followers. There is no concept of a strong friendship; anyone can follow anyone in principle. • A concept of information presentation: Tweets of friends are presented just in an endless list with the newest post at the top. This kind of information stream can be split into different groups. • A concept of openness: In general, all posts on Twitter are public. Users can hide their profiles, but it is more or less unusual. • A concept of Web services: Already in a very early phase Twitter allowed third-party applications to connect with the service using a provided Application Interface (API). A high number of additional Twitter applications have been developed and made Twitter even much more powerful.Overall it can be concluded that indeed a new service for a new kind of communication has been inventedby microblogging. First scientific studies point out the communication aspect (Ebner & Schiefner, 2008)(McFedries, 2007). Beside the new communication culture other publications focus the reasons whypeople are using Twitter (Java et al., 2007): for daily chats, for conversation, for sharing information, andfor reporting news. Boyd (Boyd et al, 2010) mentioned the importance of so-called re-tweets for thesocial network. By repeating a message this message is offered to another network of followers and inthat way distributed further. The power of re-tweeting could be massively monitored for example by the
  3. 3. 3  death of Michael Jackson (Kim & Gilbers, 2009), the election of Barack Obama, and further politicalevents of great importance (e.g. revolutions such as the Arab Spring). Due to the fact that people arerepeating messages or sending tweets using a special “hashtag” a massive information stream especiallyon the focused (hashtagged) item can be produced.TWITTER IN ACADEMIC SETTINGSOf course, this new communication possibility inspired the interest of researchers. A number of differentstudies appeared, asking, how Twitter can be used for learning (Grosseck & Holotescu, 2008) (Costa etal., 2008) or for further academic scopes (Reinhardt 2009). In the following, different academic scenariosare described, exemplifying the way Twitter has been used whether for teaching and learning purposes orfor the researcher´s daily work.Twitter as Tool for Mass EducationDidactical approach: Use of microblogging to allow instant feedback during face-to-face lecturingTechnical issues: Use of lecture hashtags to allow a collection of posts on a so called “Twitterwall”(http://twitterwall.tugraz.at)Mass education is mainly a problem of higher education. Often one lecturer has to teach more than 100students in big lecture hall. A well-known problem is that the interaction between teachers and studentsdecreases therefore or even does not happen anymore. Anderson (Anderson et al, 2003) pointed out thethree main reasons for that: • Feedback lag: With the number of attendees the feedback is dramatically increasing • Student apprehension: Students simply fear to get blamed by asking questions or doing some other interactions • Single speaker paradigm: The only-one speaker syndrome leads to less active participationThere are different technological possibilities to overcome these problems, mainly through so-calledAudience Response Systems (ARS). Such systems are a combination of hard- and software that allowgiving the auditorium instant feedback by polling. The hardware mostly consists of a special developed“clicker” sending the signal to a server that is interpreting the answers and providing the result. Withother words, installing such systems in huge lecture rooms is nearly impossible because of high hardwarecosts (every student would need a hardware clicker on his/her own) as well as high efforts fororganization (the hardware must be given to learners each lecture and collected afterwards). Furthermoresuch systems can only be used for quizzes or polls, textual feedback is not possible.At Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) a research work has been started to enhance the lectureroom interactivity in a meaningful way. It was specified that learners must be able to use their owndevices and the existing infrastructure environment of the lecture halls. Too, the application must be assimple to handle as possible. Due to the fact that Twitter is a daily used, primarily mobile application thatis little limited by different devices a Twitterwall has been developed (Ebner, 2011). [place FIGURE 2 here] Figure 2. TU Graz Twitterwall (http://twitterwall.tugraz.at)By displaying the Twitterwall during the lecture students nowadays are able to ask questions, commentlecture content, or simply apply it for example by providing. On the left side of Fig. 2 all tweets within adefined time frame are shown (e.g. the time the lecture takes place). On the right side all tweets thatcontain the lecture´s hashtag (e.g. #gadi2011) and an additional hashtag (e.g. #question) are displayed.With this application it becomes easily possible to collect tweets and filter them according to differentneeds as well as to enhance the lecture interactivity. The first practical experiences showed that studentsuse the Twitterwall especially to ask questions in a more or less anonymous way and to collect hyperlinksrelevant to the lecture. The lecture´s feedback was very positive due to the fact that the audience´s
  4. 4. 4  response definitely increases compared to prior years. The next release of the Twitterwall will also allowto post without a Twitter account and also to rate tweets of other students to rank more importantquestions.Twitter as Tool for Discussing beyond Face-to-Face LecturesDidactical approach: Use of microblogging to post status updates of activities concerning the lectureoutside classroomsTechnical issues: Use of an own microblogging platform (http://mblog.tugraz.at)Another didactical approach is the use of microblogging to stay in contact with learners beyondthe traditional face-to-face lectures. Especially Twitter with its communicational quality allowsstudents to post status updates of their current activities concerning the lecture and report aboutwhat they are currently doing. In this case, lecturers can interact with students in real time,answer questions when they occur and discuss them.Ebner (Ebner et al, 2010a) showed in a practical study that within a time period of 6 weeksstudents were using the microblogging platform very extensively. More than 11.000 recordedand analyzed posts (tweets) result in the fact that in average each student wrote 7,5 tweets eachday. Due to the fact that most of all updates were relevant to the lecture and served as assistanceto students’ communication, it was pointed out that microblogging assists the communicationbehavior in a very new way. [place FIGURE 3 here] Figure 3. Communication by subject (Ebner et al., 2010a)Figure 3 points out that “course-related work” posts are a minority – not more than 10-20% eachday. Vice versa, updates belonging to the discussion subject, or just for small talk, or privatecontent cover 60-70% of all updates per day. The lecturers as well as the authors ofmicroblogging posts keep the dialogue beyond the classroom running which allows process-oriented learning and helps students to keep in touch with each other as well with the lecturers.Furthermore, more than 60% of all posts contain the sign @, which means that the post isdirectly related to another person and more or less a personal message to him/her. This meansthat theses posts are from a directed communicative nature.Finally, oral evaluations pointed out that many users unfamiliar with microblogging systemsreport an unwieldy information flow, known as information overload. So the need of differentstrategies for consuming massive information becomes an important task. Otherwise this kind ofinformation stream can also be described as constant murmuring in the background where theuser takes an active part when he/she wants to do so.The function of communication by this understanding is exclusively social – an exchange oftrivial information. Malinowski (1922) referred to this as a ‘‘phatic function”. It serves to keep incontact with others and as an assurance of group identity (Honeycutt, 2009).Twitter as Tool for Exchange of Lecture Content (GADI)Didactical approach: Use of microblogging to collect and exchange relevant lecture content in a fast andeasy wayTechnical issues: Use of a microblogging platform (e.g. http://mblog.tugraz.at) and a defined hashtag
  5. 5. 5  According to that approach another practical example was carried out in the lecture called“Social Aspects of Information Technology”. This course is an obligatory one for students ofinformatics during their bachelor program. It educates students to have a critical view on theways informatics influence human society today. More than 200 students attend this course everyyear to listen to about 17 presentations held by different experts in different fields: Topics are forexample Human Computer Interaction, eHealth, Google, weblogs as well as virtual worlds or theuse of informatics in civil engineering.In recent years, students had to write two essays about topics of their own choice to pass thelecture. Based on the strict scientific rules a high amount of text documents had been composed.The big drawback of this method is that nobody is reading the text of the students but theteachers. From a very critical point of view it can be argued that the students´ work more or lessequaled a concentrated version of the experts´ presentations. Therefore nearly no furtherdiscussion on the topics took place during the whole lecture. Hence a new didactical concept wasneeded to increase students’ activity. Therefore four groups were introduced – Scientific Writer(still have to write a short essay), Scientific Reviewer (have to review the essays of the ScientificWriters), Blogger (have to write short blog posts about the topic of their choice) andMircoblogger (have to write microblogs about the topic of their choice). [place FIGURE 4 here] Figure 4. Communication by category (Ebner & Maurer, 2008)Figure 4 displays the relation between the four groups. With a special eye on the microblogginggroup it can be pointed out that these students have to search the Web for interesting and relevantcontent concerning the defined topics. Furthermore they have close contact to the blogger groupfor discussions and exchange of interesting information. Ebner and Maurer (Ebner & Maurer,2008) stated that this didactical approach leads to a better performance of the course´s outcome.Furthermore students that are member of the microblogging group gave a very positive feedback;theyreported that they felt constantly involved during the whole time period of the lecture. Apencil based evaluation carried out amongst the students resulted in the very interesting aspectthat due to the fact that students read other contributions more often also informal learningeffects occur as a result of blogging and microblogging activities.Ebner and Maurer concluded in their final paper (Ebner & Maurer, 2008) that mainly threeeffects occurred: • Reflection: Students attending the microblogging group wrote more reflective contributions in a personal and subjective style • Discussion: Students of the blogging and microblogging groups commented more often than their colleagues of the other groups; their feedback and statements provided were more detailed. • Quality: Teachers mentioned that the quality of the contributions increased arbitrarily to former years at all.Twitter as Tool for Documentation and Retrieve of InformationDidactical approach: Use of microblogging for documentation of lecture issues or other relevant contentTechnical issues: Use of a tool that allows collection of tweets, to store collected tweets offline andprovide a search function (http://grabeeter.tugraz.at)
  6. 6. 6  A very simple possibility to collect information is to use microblogging streams of differentsources. In our contex different sources are meant to be events or lectures, a learning unit orsimply a traditional face-to-face lecture with writing on blackboards, or showing something onthe Internet, or using the projector for presenting learning content. In that way events are evendocumented on base of their microblogging activities. Due to the fact that students ownsmartphones or similar devices, it becomes quite easy to take pictures, browse hyperlinks, orsimply take some notes during the lecture. For the later learning phase it would be advantageousto have just one application providing and organizing all notes taken in the course of an event. Sothe research idea was to develop a web-based application that can also be used offline forinformation retrieval and knowledge discovery based on a micro-content system like Twitter. In2010 the application called “Grabeeter” (http://grabeeter.tugraz.at) has been launched. Grabeeterconsists of two main parts (Mühlburger et al., 2010). The first part is a web application thatretrieves tweets and user information from Twitter using the official Twitter API. The secondpart of Grabeeter consists of a client application developed in JavaFX technology for accessingthe stored information on a client side. [place FIGURE 5 here] Figure 5. Grabeeter – web applicationFigure 5 shows a screenshot of the web application Grabeeter of a Twitter user. Once a user isregistered within the application each single tweet of the user will be stored automatically in theGrabeeter database and can be accessed online via the web application as well as offline with theclient application. On the right sidebar an export possibility of all tweets of the user is offered inthe standard formats XML and JSON. An API allows third party applications to use the storedtweets for other purposes. Finally a short statistic shows how many posts of all tweets everposted on Twitter are currently stored. With the help of Grabeeter the following approaches weremade possible: • Micro-content (e.g. a tweet) is achievable offline due to the fact that any tweet can be retrieved at anytime from a local hard-drive • Micro-content is storable in a way that the user can distinguish between different events • Micro-content is searchable along keywords, hashtags, time frames as well as different entities (URLs, @ ... )Due to these facts Grabeeter become an application used by more than 1500 users veryextensively to document their events especially in a learning or research context. Differentresearch studies pointed out that also monitoring events became an interesting variant to useGrabeeter (Ebner et al., 2010b). Finally Twitter became also a useful tool to spread and storescientific messages (Letierce et al., 2010).Twitter as Tool for Academic ConferencesA similar approach can be gained using the application called “Twitterwall”. With Twitterwallthe interaction in a huge lecture hall can be enhanced. But Twitterwall is for the usage duringacademic conferences too in order to collect and filter microblogging content. In 2008 (Ebner,2009) for the first time, during the EdMedia conference tweets including the defined hashtag(#edmedia08) were collected to enhance the conference by virtual statements, opinions, pictures,hyperlinks, or just private discussion among conference participants. This special Twitter stream
  7. 7. 7  was displayed on several walls with simple projectors and screens. Besides those walls located atmeeting points also a projection of the stream beside the keynote slides was provided. It could beshown that the “murmuring of the audience” during the talks made visible as well as additionalinformation posted enhanced the live talk in a way never done before. A research study (Ebner,2009) carried out that the audience use Twitter for comments to the presentation, for discussion,for collection of additional hyperlinks, and repeating statements. [place FIGURE 6 here] Figure 6. Twitter stream beside keynote presentation at EdMedia 2008Figure 6 gives an impression of the setting at EdMedia 2008. Since then the Twitterwall hasbecome a standard surplus for every keynote speech at further EdMedia conferences and otherconferences too. Furthermore the number of tweets regarding the conference did not onlyincrease during the conference but also before and after the event (Ebner & Reinhardt, 2010).Hence it can be noticed that social networking turned out to be just more than a professional toolfor communication during events. Figure 7 shows the result of a survey amongst participants ofconferences (Reinhardt et al., 2009). Besides communicating with others, resources are sharedthrough tweets, parallel discussions/events are followed, notes are jotted down, the onlinepresence is established and enhanced, and organizational questions are raised. Figure 7represents the main reasons why the surveyed conference delegates used Twitter while attendingthe learning event. [place FIGURE 7 here] Figure 7. Purposes of using Twitter by attendees (role) at conferences (Reinhardt et al., 2009)Microblogging at conferences is an additional way of discussing presented topics andexchanging additional information. It is not limited to the face-to-face audience or the location ofthe conference. Microblogging virtually allows anyone to actively participate in the thematicdebates. Different research studies (Ebner, 2009) (Reinhardt et al., 2009) point out that severalconference speakers and attendees are using Twitter for various purposes. Nowadaysmicroblogging often is necessary to meet participants’ needs for communication duringacademic events. Reinhardt (2009b) also pointed out the increasing dynamic of academiccommunities using social networks for their communication.Twitter as Tool for Semantic Profiling and VisualizationA very new approach is to use posts for semantic profiling or keyword extraction to visualizecrucial event topics.As described before, conference participants tweet about what they have noticed, what they haveremarked as interesting for their own needs. What if we could connect these users by using thisinformation? An application is needed for a profiling of researchers. The fact that the dataproduced in social networks can have true value if properly annotated and interlinked betweendifferent services. It can be done by choosing community approved ontologies and linked opendata resources. A second requirement is to create a suitable interface for further treatment of thatinformation.Using the described Grabeeter API an application to allow researchers on Twitter to connect witheach other regarding to their profiles and interests has been developed, it is called “ResearcherAffinity Browser” (De Vocht et al., 2011).
  8. 8. 8   [place FIGURE 8 here] Figure 8. Researcher Affinity Browser (http://affinitybrowser.semanticprofiling.net/)Figure 8 shows a screenshot of the Researcher Affinity Browser. The left column tells thedifferent affinity facets that can be explored. The center view displays the results in a grid, anaffinity plot, and a map. Details about a person and the person´s different affinities are to be seenin the bottom zone.The Researcher Affinity Browser application retrieves a list of relevant users using theResearcher profiling API. The results are a current snapshot, not static data. Every time usersproduce new content on social networks, the analyzed data evolves with it. The relevance ismeasured according to the number of common entities (thus affinities) that are shared with theuser. The different affinity facets are displayed on the left. Within the demo version users canexplore three types of affinities: conferences, tags, and mentions. Activating a certain affinitynarrows down and filters the list of matching persons.Users can explore their matches in several ways. First there is the result table that displaysdetailed information about each person and how many affinities are shared. Second there is amap view and an affinity plot synchronized with the result table. The purpose of the map is tovisualize the locations of the affiliations of the found persons. The affinity plot visualizes in aquick overview how „good” the affinity to the user is. One dimension shows the mentions, theother dimension shows the tags. The more to the top right corner a person’s dot is plotted, themore affinity there is to the user.Finally, users can double click on any person within the result list to get a tab that displays aprofile with more information and allows them to get more insight into certain affinities of thatperson. They can also click on contact links to get in touch with that person. For example, if theprofile of someone is extracted from Twitter, a link to the Twitter profile will be displayed.This application aims at gaining more knowledge and getting usable social data out ofmicroblogs with a framework driven methodology based upon semantic web standards and tools.Some other efforts deal with the extraction of keywords of tweets and try to visualize them in ameaningful way to get a clue about what people are writing, who is writing, and which topics arefocused (Ebner et al., 2011a). With the help of semantic web standards and linked data socialnetworks like twitter will help to combine data in a complete new way as well as offering newinsights and dependencies (Bojärs et al., 2008).DISCUSSIONTwitter as well as microblogging in principle can be used in very different ways to enhanceacademic communication and cooperation. Tab. 1 gives a short overview about the describeddifferent research studies and points out the approaches used as well as its technical realizationby TU Graz.Academic environment Approach Technical implementationEnhance interaction for Allow anonymous posts http://twitterwall.tugraz.atmass education on a TwitterwallDiscussion beyond face- Provide a Twitter channel http://twitter.com + lecture hashtagto-face lecture for communicationExchange lecture content Provide a Twitter channel http://twitter.com + lecture hashtag
  9. 9. 9   or install an own platformDocumentation and Use an application that http://grabeeter.tugraz.atinformation retrieval allows collection of postsEnhance academic Provide Twitterwalls at http://twitterwall.tugraz.at +conferences conferences for exchange conference hashtagBecome friend of Semantic profiling http://affinitybrowser.semanticprofiresearchers with similar ling.net/interests Table 1. Overview about usage of microblogging in academic contextTable 1 points out that microblogging can be used for lecturing as well as for research purposes.All cases in common are that the possibility of updating a status online is not only a fast way butalso a way to express feelings, statements or comments on other thoughts. So the nature ofmicroblogging is primarily about communication between people of same interests (at academicconferences) or people with the same goal (lecture).After thoroughly research studies over a long time period some crucial factors for usingmicroblogging in academic environments can be carried out. It can be also seen as a kind ofpreconditions to get the community running: 1. Mobility: Between microblogging and mobility is a strong correlation or relationship. Different research studies1 pointed out that more than 50% of all users mostly access Twitter with a mobile device. Therefore microblogging is heavily used on the go or on the move as well as during waiting times. The foreground is more or less to get information from the stream or to post anything from a location. Smartphones with an on- board camera offer a very interesting option to share something with the community. Therefore especially for this purpose programmed apps are nowadays available (for example Instagram is a mobile photo community, which can only be used and shared with mobile phones) and allow us to deal with pictures in real time. 2. Communication: Microblogging allows us to communicate in a short and efficient way as pointed out in different studies (Ebner et al., 2010). In the nature of a mobile society contact to each other is an important precondition. This allows to keep in touch with colleagues, teachers as well as students for exchanging thoughts, pictures, and statements or simply to ask questions. 3. Collection: Finally a very interesting possibility is offered through microblogging, the use of hashtags, and the search possibility. A community (for example lecture participants) can save bookmarks, pictures or even videos by using an event hashtag. Because of the simple possibility to do such posts this is maybe one of the most effective ways to enhance lectures as well as conferences.CONCLUSIONMircoblogging became part of our daily life as well as other social network activities (Ebner etal., 2011b). Today it is quite normal do use a smartphone for writing posts, sharing photos or1 http://www.slideshare.net/mebner/social-networks-danger-big-business-or-simply-big-chance(last visited February 2012)
  10. 10. 10  simply to communicate with a worldwide (academic) community. From this perspective the useof Twitter or similar software in higher education as well as academic context must be taken intoaccount. As shown in this publication there are various possibilities to enhance lectures orscientific events (conferences) through sharing and collecting related content. Based on differentresearch studies (Costa et al., 2008) (Grosseck & Holotescu, 2008) (Ebner et al., 2010a) this fieldof research seems well progressed – the next research step should point to semantic analyses ofsocial networks, to address questions that can be answered in an implicit way. For example, whatis the post of a specific person about, how can be a person assisted by linked data because ofhis/her posts. First research attempts were already done to combine people with same interest –researchers, teachers as well as learners (Thonhauser et al., 2012).Microblogging is primarily about communication and we have to think how we can assist it in ameaningful way.REFERENCESAnderson, R.J., Anderson, R., Vandegrift, T., Wolfman, S., Yasuhara, K. (2003) Promoting Interaction inLarge Classes with Computer-Mediated Feedback, In: Designing for Change in Networked LearningEnvironments, Proceedings of CSCL 2003, Bergen, pp. 119-123Boyd, d., Golder, S., Lotan, G. (2010) Tweet, tweet, retweet: Conversational aspects of retweeting ontwitter. In Proceedings of the HICSS-43 Conference, January 2010.Bojärs U., Breslin J., and Finn A.,Decker S. (2008) Using the Semantic Web ,for Linking and ReusingData Across Web 2.0 Communities. The Journal of Web Semantics, Special Issue on the Semantic Weband Web 2.0.Costa, C., Beham, G., Reinhardt, W., Sillaots, M. (2008) Microblogging in Technology EnhancedLearning: A Use-Case Inspection of PPE Summer School 2008. In: Proceedings of the 2nd SIRTELworkshop on Social Information Retrieval for Technology Enhanced Learning.De Vocht, L.; Selver, S.; Ebner, M.; Mühlburger, H. (2011) Semantically driven Social Data AggregationInterfaces for Research 2.0. - in: 11th International Conference on Knowledge Management andKnowledge Technologies (2011), S. 43:1 - 43:10, International Conference on Knowledge Management;2011Ebner, M; Schiefner, M.; (2008): Microblogging - more than fun?; in Proceedings of IADIS MobileLearning Conference 2008, Inmaculada Arnedillo Sánchez and Pedro Isaías ed., Portugal, 2008, p. 155-159Ebner, M., Maurer, H. (2008) Can Microblogs and Weblogs change traditional scientific writing?,Proceedings of E-Learn 2008, Las Vegas, p. 768-776, 2008Ebner, M., (2009) Introducing Live Microblogging: How Single Presentations Can Be Enhanced by theMass, Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching (JRIT), 2 (1), p. 91-100, 2009Ebner. M., Reinhard, W. (2009) Social networking in scientific conferences – Twitter as tool forstrengthen a scientific, Workshop Science 2.0 for TEL, ECTEL 2009
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