When I started to use Twitter I honestly couldn't see the benefit in having another social network that I needed to check. Now I consider it to be a powerful tool for making connections and starting real longterm conversations and relationships.
I'm not an experienced blogger, and to be honest I couldn't see the benefit of that either. But when you combine Twitter with blogs and other resources their combined value begins to emerge out of a tweeting fog of hashtags and virtual noise.
I am...a HE lecturer, writer and composer of music. Also creator of a group called CollabHub, developed to help students connect and create work across disciplines. I have 3 twitter accounts! This isn't uncommon either.
- @lizdobsonuoh - my professional identity. I follow academics and education related tweeters
- @Eddienosbod - my personal account. I follow anything else that interests me
- @Collabhub - an account to help share information relating to collaboration and co-creativity.
Twitter opens real doors...A) when I was a PhD student I discovered #phdchat. This group was set up by Nasima Riazat and she schedules regular meetings for PhD students to come together and discuss a topic. Topics have ranged from discussion about methodologies, writing up software, viva preparation, phd/life balance. This also introduced me to Dr Inger Mewburn and her fantastic blog. SO in short the benefits of participating in a scheduled chat have been:
- introduced me to experts in my field and more knowledgeable others
- helped me to connect with people who can also benefit form my new experience
- linked me to some fascinating blogs
- helped me to contextualise my own work in a relevant community
B) it breaks down barriers of geography and status, making more people available. Here are some examples:
Several of my students have managed to start conversations with studio producers, film makers and other composers which have led to shared materials and then professional work. Linking in with blogs, soundclouds, vimeo etc. students can really show off their work to communities beyond their University. This is so much more relevant to creative industries than the CV isn't it? If getting work is all about who you know, Twitter helps you to know more people!
Also, only this week I spoke with @creativehuddle on the phone, and will be talking with a PhD student at The University of Cambridge on Monday to share thoughts on various topics.
I noticed something very interesting when trying to promote our local interdisciplinary collaboration hub. On the CollabHub weblog I can see the number of visits and how the site is used. When our local posters and flyers went out there was almost no change, but when I sent messages and news out on Twitter and Facebook people started to visit the site. It's seems pretty obvious to me that twitter has the power to connect our students, our scientists, artists and thinkers with people all over the world. I'm slow to catch on, so maybe I can be a bit of a springboard for others who are also just catching on to this now.
To help our distributed communities to connect, I'm going to run regular live chats on Twitter. Following the #phdchat example, there will be an opportunity to vote on topics for chat focus. My hope is that this will also help to foster more interdisciplinary collaboration.
140 characters obviously isn't enough so this is an excellent opportunity to share more using a blog. As my own work is focused on creativity, creative process and collaborative creativity I will be offering materials about these kinds of subjects on my blog.
Any impact on you?
I'm interested to know if there is any real interest and value in something like #collabchat. When we have had a few meetings I may seek bit of feedback on that.