Hey, do you Tweet? I didn’t really, thinking that FB was the end all and be all of social networking (remember MySpace?). I would hear about Twitter faux pas and the latest Tweet updates from celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, and, of course, Kanye West. Why would I want jump in the digital (cess)pool with them? I’ll probably catch something.
However, this semester, Twitter, or micro-blogging, was a course assignment (along with long-form blogging, voilá). Twitter for class? I thought all that pidgin txtspk was something as academics we were supposed to be shunning and running away from? Ha. My years away from the humanities are showing, but that is a different post altogether.
My growing interest in mommyblogs and digital rhetoric in general has only benefitted from the communities I have found on Twitter. Not only can I show pictures of the latest trouble my son is getting into, but I am “following” several individuals in the DH (digital humanities)… many people I have never met and probably never will meet. But they’re on Twitter for the same reasons I am: sharing links, asking for opinions, and making connections all over the country. This has brought be into contact with individuals who have research that overlaps mine, who are enrolled in a PhD program I am interested in, and even potential employers.
As for using Twitter for class, I love it. I wish my classmates from my other courses were on Twitter, particularly my online class. This online interaction provides us with numerous advantages: a sense of community that extends beyond our time in the classroom where we can ask questions, get advice, and interact with each other and the material in a different way. Plus, we NEVER have to use Blackboard! In a similar vein, my thesis advisor is an avid tweeter. This makes things so easy — we can set up meetings, I can let him know I’ve got edits ready for him to look at on a Google Doc, or I can just bounce ideas off him either in real-time or over the course of a few hours or days. I don’t teach courses, but if I did, my students would be using Twitter. It would be a great way for them to ask me little questions, get to know each other, and even get some practice with low-stakes writing that has to be direct and to the point — only 140 characters.
Of course, I’m now a Twitter junkie. But I’m better for it. I’ve heard about calls for papers, upcoming conferences (complete with encouragement to apply), and I feel comfortable using Twitter in a way that could potentially benefit a future employer (and me in getting that job). If you’re not on Twitter yet, I would highly recommend it. You can follow me @derbybeaver.
Quick Note from GradHacker
We here at GradHacker love twitter! Check out these ProfHacker articles about the benefits of using Twitter and some ways to integrate it into your life.
[Image by Flickr user Mykl Roventine and used under Creative Commons License]
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