I was about to add my name to Alan Levine’s Twitter Life Cycle when I realized I have been using Twitter for 3 months now. Has it really been 3 months since I hopped on board the Twitter train? Wow. Time flies when you are having fun. And Twitter is fun.
But beyond fun, in the past 3 months Twitter has quickly become an indispensable tool for me. It is allowing me to connect with people at a completely different level. Clive Thompson at Wired puts it well when he says Twitter creates a social sixth sense.
It’s like proprioception, your body’s ability to know where your limbs are. That subliminal sense of orientation is crucial for coordination: It keeps you from accidentally bumping into objects, and it makes possible amazing feats of balance and dexterity.
Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination.
I experienced one of those “feats of coordination” a few days after I signed up for Twitter. Northern Voice was happening in Vancouver. I was unable to attend, but was able to virtually attend as my network kept feeding me information via Twitter. Links to supplemental materials and live videocasts of keynotes were popping up, allowing me watch and listening real time. I followed the backchannel conversations and was able to get a sense of what was happening, from multiple independent sources. People who did not know each other, but happened to be at the same conference in the same room all commenting on the same points. It was incredibly rich – an aha moment for me that convinced me there was something to this Twitter thing.
Since then my delicious account has been filling with Twitter specific content – how academics are using it, both professionally and pedagogically. Tools and mashups to leverage it, and guides and resources I can use to help me convince others to join in.
So, after 3 months with Twitter I can say that there is something there, despite the frequent outages. If you want to find me I’ll be at twitter.com/clintlalonde.