Just about two weeks ago I sent out an email to a small handful of people in ETS about Twitter. Turned out Brad was already there and the others were willing to give it a try. Two weeks later and I have 50 “friends” and 56 “followers” in the space. Those aren’t huge numbers, but my personal Twitter network has brought me new insights into many of the people I spend 40 hours a week with and to those who I only get to see every now and then. To some this may seem odd, out of touch, or even disturbing but the simple fact is that this type of an environment seems to help stimulate open relationships and sharing. BTW, I have been on the FaceBook for maybe a year and a half and I have about 60 friends. Social network?
I see it in my organization as well … maybe I am just seeing things through my lenses, but I do see people in the halls talking that didn’t just a couple of weeks ago. I see people heading to the gym together who didn’t a couple of weeks ago and I feel a deeper appreciation for the characters in my little office play. I also feel a stronger connection to friends in other organizations on campus … several folks from the World Campus are on and sharing regularly as well as my old shop, the IST Solutions Institute. I enjoy listening in and understanding what is up with them — no deep insights, just an opportunity to stay connected.
D’Arcy points out that it is like blogging on a nano level and I agree. As a matter of fact it seems to provide insights in a deeper sense than does blogging. There is an anticipation that goes along with Twitter that I haven’t felt in the blogosphere in quite some time. I step away from my computer to go to meetings for an hour or so only to come back and catch up on what my friends are up to. Very interesting. I’ve taken to looking at my personal Twitter stream (without my friends) and trying to pull out the days tasks, feelings, and moods. It is surprising how typing no more than 140 characters every now and then helps you create a little track record of your day.
The best thing I’ve seen on Twitter came across this morning from a former colleague at Penn State … Russ did great things for our University for a very long time. I was lucky enough to travel with him once out to the west coast and listen to his perspectives on all sorts of things. His work at PSU paved the way for a lot of the things that are right about academic computing … he retired several years ago and I hadn’t heard from him much. Sometime this week I noticed he turned up again, on Twitter! This morning I saw him tweet this:
I remember that after my Dad retired from Bloomsburg University he always said how much he missed the students. I just found a way for him to reconnect. Russ’s comment made my morning!