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wait don’t leave, i just got here

While reading Umair Haque’s post “Why Twitter is Dying (And What You Can Learn From It) there was a small voice inside me that panicked. Wait a minute, I just started getting comfortable with Twitter, it can’t die. Now, the post is not really about Twitter dying, but rather changing. Haque uses the analogy of Twitter changing from a town square where people come together to talk about different relevant issues to a mosh pit where people are flinging each other back and forth with little care.

Neil Howard https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/6953500272
https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/6953500272

I came to Twitter late. It took me a couple attempts at visiting different communities I wanted to be a part of. My first hook was with the Vine community, when Vine started to be more widely used in early 2013. There was an excitement about what could be done within the limitations of the app and how different people were experimenting with it. Living in a physical place where very few people had even heard of Vine, the web was the only place to be a part of this creative push and experimentation.

As I transitioned into living in North America for the first time, as well as working as an instructional designer (instead of a teacher interested in ed tech) I slowly boarded the Twitter train and started to think about how I presented myself to the world and what I wanted that to be. I tend to compartmentalize, especially at work. I think this is from years of working abroad in different countries where I felt the need to project a certain “professional” image of myself that did not include those parts of me that were weird or messy, that didn’t fit into the friendly English teacher model. Twitter has been a great place to let out both my professional and personal, as it just seems to naturally happen since my audience is not just one particular set of people.

So Twitter isn’t dying, but it isn’t what it once started out to be. I haven’t yet had that moment that I hear/read about so frequently about finally meeting that person you have been talking with on the web face to face. However,  for me right now, it is the way I can be part of some of the conversations I want to be a part of- finding different ways to learn within the shifting world of the web, focusing on being human and the care involved in communicating and learning in a networked world, the importance of the stories being told. It forces me not to forget that is what I am working towards, when it is sometimes necessary to compromise and look at things in a less ideal way when on the ground trying to get things done within the walls of an institution. I hope the people I have learned from won’t entirely leave Twitter, and I also realize that there will always be new people joining in the conversation which is rad.

How is your Twitterworld changing?

 

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I am often annoyed by posts that talk about Twitter dying because it remains so useful for many. And it really depends on how you use it – for example, I rarely actually check my timeline – i focus on hashtags i care about and some days I only check my notifications because I get so many.

    I have built some really deep relationships with people I met through Twitter or cMOOCs. The relationships usually develop privately more thab publicly after a certain threshold is crossed…and I have met a few of these people in person (I live in Egypt so this is more complicated coz most ed tech people on Twitter are in US/UK/Australia. I had a wonderful experience meeting people f2f but I also recognize that not everyone will “click”.

    Looking forward to getting to know you

    1. Always great to know how others manage/use Twitter. Especially prolific people like you Maha. I definitely see the mosh pit scene in “conversations” in popular culture, when you don’t see more than one tweet from one person, what many people understand Twitter to be. I do appreciate Hague’s call for paying attention to care and humanness when interacting and I think the networks working within Twitter are where we see and can push for that care. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Like any platform, it’s who you connect with, not necessarily the larger trends. Is Twitter the same as when I started? Well, sort of. I still find teachers (like I found you) and I still make connections (like I am doing here, jumping from your tweet in DiGiWriMo to your blog to your comment bin) and I still share and find inspiration. If Twitter died, I’d find somewhere else, and hopefully, find folks like you in that SomewhereElseLand.
    Kevin

    1. For sure. And after making connections in one platform, if platforms end up changing, most likely that shift to SomewhereElseLand will be open and obvious. I’ve seen you in many of the conversations that I follow and I look forward to continuing to connect.

  3. I think Twitter will only die if we don’t want it any more. It’s one of the places I connect, but not the only one 🙂

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