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Okay, I made these suggestions on Twitter today, but because it's so ephemeral, I RT them here:

  1. A Better Twitter Query: "What's happening for you?
  2. Use "MT" when you are suggesting a link to your own stuff.

1.
The Better Query encompasses the original query (still in use today): "What are you doing?" BUT it also conveys the way a majority of my Twitter contacts use Twitter, to convey what they find exciting, useful, notable. Sure, we have to go back to the 60's and 70's "What's happening man?" but those times weren't all bad.

2.
MT=Me Tweet. The MT idea helps people know whether the Tweeter is plugging their own work. This is useful in many ways. If you really like what someone you're following has to say in their longer off-Twitter conveyances, then you'll want to go there (and vice versa). It also enables the Tweeter to follow common interpersonal traditions by enabling spam-warnings. For example, in normal conversations we might say the following while looking apologetic, "Well, I know there are lots of perspectives on this, but here's my thoughts…" thus lubricating the social dialogue. Finally, some smart Twitter programmer will come up with a way to measure MT's and then self-promoters can be labeled as such.

Please RT (Re-Tweet) these ideas if you like them.

(1290 characters) about 9 tweets.

It was November 2008 when I started using Twitter. About 120 days of Twittering. Hmmm.

Feels like years.

I've sent 233 tweets (about 2 a day). I have 256 followers. I follow 66.

I first blogged about Twitter on November 14 2008. See my first thoughts on Twitter.

Here is a mosaic of my followers:

You can get your own twitter mosaic here.

My twitter experiment continues.

It's some good, some bad.

One key is to develop strategies not to be too distracted.

I've certainly learned about some cool stuff I wouldn't otherwise know about.

What I don't know — and can't know — is what I've lost while I'm Twittering or following the paths that start on Twitter.

If you haven't Twittered, I recommend giving it a try for 2 or 3 months.

  1. Get a twitter account.
  2. Enable everyone to read your tweets (otherwise you look like a paranoid).
  3. Look to see what others are writing (me for example at WillWorkLearn)
  4. DON'T follow too many people yet (less than 5).
    Why? b/c following begets followers, and you will want a community (later).
  5. Create some tweets each day.
  6. Try to provide (a) some value (links to good info) and (b) some insight into your true self.
  7. AFTER, you've done the above for a week or so, begin following others.
  8. See what happens.
  9. The <5 folks you originally followed (who aren't yet your followers), send them an @ message to let them know you exist…so that they may join your community (and become a follower).
  10. Build some strategies to avoid too much time loss.
  11. See what happens.

Article in New York Times discusses research on group creativity. One thing the research has shown is that brainstorming may not be as beneficial as once thought–because individuals working alone come up with better ideas, AND the group needs to improve those ideas.

Did you know Einstein's original calculations around e=mc2 needed to be refined by others?

Nice article. Note: I was clued in to this article by reviewing my Twitter page, where Clark Quinn had tweeted about this.

In a recent comment, Don Roddy asked why I just started using Twitter.

Answer: I just thought I ought to know about it. I saw Michelle Lentz give a breakfast byte session at DevLearn. She gave some good examples of how it might be used for learning. I thought I ought to check it out.

I admit I'm skeptical.

My Twitter ID: WillWorkLearn, if you want to follow me.

So here's my first observation.

Twitter's one question is, "What are you doing?"

Wouldn't a better question be, "What are you thinking?"

I suppose it would be too complicated to have two options, a thinking-doing dichotomy. Or maybe thinking is doing. But the prompt connotes action, not thinking…And I think I'd rather know what other people are thinking. At least some other people. Maybe Twitter could enable us to elevate some people to the "What are you thinking?" level, while keeping most in "What are you doing?" level.

Anyway, if you've been thinking you want to check Twitter out, come join me for the ride. It's free to use. Apparently they don't have a business model.

I do think Twitter might be an excellent way to stay in touch with my family. I'm going to see if I can talk them into it.

 

Just getting back from DevLearn08 I've decided to jump into the Twitter thing. You can follow me @WillWorkLearn.

Before I fully begin my Twitter experience, here's a thought experiment regarding Twitter. If I could talk to God (or some other all-knowing entity), would it be useful for me (if I'm interested in gaining knowledge) to give up a minute of that precious time to talk with the multitudes?

No it would be foolish to give up a 100% chance of gaining true knowledge in a quickly-efficient way for a lesser chance at learning from the mulititudes. I'm assuming of course that neither God nor any other true-knowledge entity is following me on Twitter. What information-gathering entity has time for that?

Of course, knowledge is not everything I might desire. I might want to feel part of a community. I might want to make friends. I might want to do an ethnographic study of The Tworld just for fun. If this all-knowing entity was a bore or decided to use its wisdom to politely keep some personal distance from me, I would be better off talking with the multitudes. But since this is a blog that focuses on Learning, not Relationships, let's get back to the knowledge-gathering question.

Since it is unlikely that some all-knowing entity will have time for me, I will have to rely on entities that will provide me with less than 100% knowledge. If I find a 99%-true-knowledge entity, wouldn't I be better off talking with it, than talking with the multitudes? Yes, I would think so in most cases, though I suppose it depends on its knowledge gaps, and how fast I need the knowledge.

So, where is the breakeven point where I'm equally likely to get true knowledge from a true-knowledge entity and from the multitudes? Is it an 80%-true knowledge entity, a 50% true-knowledge entity, or a 20%-true-knowledge entity? 

Here's the point I think I'm making: If I have access to relatively good sources of information, how do I decide to forsake those sources for the multitudes, where information may be less valid or slower to access?

In other words, would Twitters be better off reading a non-fiction book, an article, or a trusted website?

I suppose we ought to divide our knowledge needs into categories.

  • Deep knowledge, gained over significant amounts of time, requiring a subtle understanding of a topic area, its contingencies, its boundary conditions.
  • Shallow knowledge, gained from one or a few experiences, not weaved tightly together with a network of knowledge.

If we need deep knowledge, we ought to go to a true-knowledge entity (if we know of one). If we just need shallow knowledge, we may be just as succcessful going to the multitudes.

I don't know, what do you think oh wise one?

And then there is the matter of the time horizon. I may learn small things quick or build big understandings over time by interfacing with my multitudes.

And then there is the matter of truthiness. What risk is there in getting information from the multitudes? Probably depends on the query.

I don't know, what do you think oh wise one?

WINK.