My Twitter Community

I have been writing and talking about how Twitter has seemed to re-emerge in my life recently. I can’t seem to shake my re-found need to connect and share with the vibrant Twitter community. As a matter of fact, we spent quite a bit of time talking about it on ETS Talk 41 this week as well … So much of it has to do with the extended network I can connect to, but recently I am finding myself really engaged in my local tweets. As my friend Scott McDonald remarked at lunch the other day when I was saying I haven’t been this plugged in since this time last year, “its the energy leading up to the Symposium.” He is right on several levels, but I would contend that it is more than that. Let me share a couple of recent examples.

The first started on Wednesday evening when I decided to post the Symposium Tag images that were created for the people tagging at the Symposium. I made a simple post over at the ETS site that explained the tags and provided a simple download for the whole group. The ETS site is setup to send an automatic tweet, so it hit the Twitter stream. After that I decided to change my Twitter icon to one of the tags and wondered out loud if others would do the same.

Twitter Change

Within minutes I was getting tweets from every direction … and a strange thing was happening, people were changing their icons. Then I jumped and used CafePress to make myself a tag t-shirt. I let people know via Twitter and several people wanted one. I made a few more and shared the link and some amazing things started to happen — several people Tweeted back that they too bought some of the “Tag Swag” right then and there. The more amazing thing was the flow of the whole thing … people firing Tweets back and forth all getting hyed up for the Symposium next week. It felt like it was the kind of thing Twitter is designed for. At the end of the evening, people were recounting their purchases and expressing how much they enjoyed the interaction … the community had emerged, come together, and was ultra engaged.


When I got on Twitter the next day I was amazed at what my Twitter stream looked like … nearly all the PSU people (and I follow a heck of a lot of non-PSU people as well) with Symposium Tags flying around as icons.

Twitter Stream

Now on to the second example — and I promise I will make it quick. Thursday is the day Scott and I teach our “Disruptive Technologies” course … about half of the class is on Twitter and they all went through the Alan Levine Twitter Curve cycle … started with “this is the stupidest thing I have ever done …” and have ended up with, well, I’ll let their tweets tell the story.

Class Tweets

I know this is a long and twisted post, but if you’ve made it this far I’d love to hear if you are finding similar things in your environment. I know that Twitter started to make me ultra aware of how lucky I am to live and work in such a vibrant community like PSU … now I am seeing how amazingly connected and interesting all of them are. Being able to push the walls of a class out by several hundred miles and also push beyond the normal roles our identity assign us (teacher, student, staff, faculty, etc) has been an amazing eye opening experience.

7 thoughts on “My Twitter Community

  1. This is what I love and adore about online communities and why I think online and distance ed students can really benefit from this kind of connection. It’s a powerful, amazing and truly connected community. I *love* being a part of things.

    And… it won’t die out after the symposium. πŸ™‚

  2. I feel bad at ruining your nearly perfect string of icons in that next-to-last shot. Twice. I’m just a lazy bastard, really…

  3. Dont feel bad Chris- sometime its better to stand out in a crowd of icons πŸ˜‰

    I’m more lazy- have never changed my icon. I just am not a switcher, but enjoy watching the things people play with.

    Great stuff Cole- I like the notion of thinking about local and broad communities via twitter, and that they really are not neatly defined with boundaries.

    For me, it is the immediacy yet responsiveness of twitter pace that does it, plus a measure of built in play.

    It was funny last month in Vancouver win some faculty conversations at UBC and elsewhere, to watch Brian Lamb’s face contort when someone asks, “How to I use twitter for my class?” And I admire his attitude in saying, “I’m not going to answer that” –not as dismissive but in the mode that its not a 1-2-3 recipe or some crappo plugin building block– the answer i one the practitioner needs to answer themselves with their own experience and creativity– as you have done right here a simple series of “what if” or “what the heck I will try” approaches.

    Have fun at the Symposium!

  4. My Twitter community has been the single biggest factor in my networking success at Penn State. It has allowed me to become acquainted, share insights, and get to know the larger community in which I work. I signed @cogdog’s Twitter Life Cycle, and it reminded me I’ve been on Twitter since February 2007. I have gotten a lot of value from this tiny social app; I’ve gotten great url postings, symposium info, insights, support, and learned a lot about the people behind the tweets. Let’s be honest; without Twitter, you probably wouldn’t even know my name, Cole. I know I was very intimidated by your reputation for quite some time. Now, however, I know you have a sense of humor within that drive for innovation and blogging, and perhaps you know that I believe in usability, testing, and standards. Oh yeah, sometimes we just get silly, and I like that a lot too. I really enjoy reading my Twitter stream and can’t seem to go long without going back to catch up with my tweet peeps. Twitter connects me here at Penn State like nothing else has.

    I am, therefore I tweet. πŸ˜‰

  5. I continue to be amazed at how ‘local’ an application Twitter is for me. I feel, make that I know, I’m more connected and in tune with those closest to me. This applies to both proximity and in relatiopnship.

  6. Pingback: Connections : Cole Camplese: Learning & Innovation

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