Way back in the early days of the Twitter I wrote and presented quite a bit about how I used the Twitter, what I thought the Twitter really represented and in one depressing post how the Twitter would wither and eventually die…
One presentation which really reflected my thinking back then was the one I delivered at Handheld Learning 2009, which equated the use of the Twitter with drinking coffee. Both reinforcing my views on the value of the Twitter, but also perpetuating the myth that I only tweet about coffee on the Twitter.
What this presentation really spoke about was how that teams that work together in the same building usually get together informally to chat, usually when making or drinking coffee. Those informal conversations that cover a range of topics, some related to work and projects, others about everyday life issues and problems. There are similar conversations during breaks at conferences, events and staff development activities.
What I liked about the Twitter, was that for someone who was working almost in isolation in a specialised field such as e-learning, was that the Twitter suddenly enabled me to create a group of people in a similar field and have those informal conversations that would usually happen somewhere in a physical building, but usually as someone was passing your desk, whilst queuing for lunch, or when making and drinking coffee.
It makes me smile when people talk about the Twitter and say things like, “only use it for professional stuff”. For me this means they are not only missing the point behind some of the real value of the Twitter, but are probably use the Twitter in broadcast mode. In this mode you send out links and comments, but rarely engage in conversations.
Then you have those people who don’t just say “only use it for professional stuff” but also complain about people who post non-work stuff on the Twitter. I remember once talking to someone in the field of e-learning who said they never used the Twitter because people just used it to post what they had for breakfast… I didn’t bother to argue, in my stream of 600+ people, I never saw tweets about breakfast, not to say it didn’t happen, but I didn’t see them. It was a strange statement to make. I suspect that, though they were talking about breakfast tweets, what they actually meant was “I can’t see the value in using Twitter, so I will make up something or other about why I don’t want to use it!”
My actual response was to start posting tweets about my breakfast using the hashtag #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor
For breakfast this morning. I had raspberry pancakes with maple syrup and great coffee. What did you have? #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor
— James Clay (@jamesclay) July 1, 2012
For breakfast this morning I had poached eggs on toasted bagel with grilled mushrooms. What did you have? #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor
— James Clay (@jamesclay) April 23, 2011
What I found interesting was the engagement these tweets got. Not only were people reading these tweets, they were taking the time to respond and engage.
So why the shoes?
Well something I have noticed is that women (and to be honest it is mainly women) in the physical world (nearly said real world) were complementing each other on their shoes. This is something (and this is a generalisation) that women do too each other, and is something that men (and this is also a generalisation) don’t do.
As you might expect, the Twitter now provides an avenue for people to share images of their shoes and use the hashtag #shoetweet. Like in the physical world, this is more of an woman to woman thing, but of course on the Twitter, these conversations have an element of permanency that means others will see these conversations. It also means that others can engage in those #shoetweet conversations.
— James Clay (@jamesclay) November 11, 2015
So is this weird?
You had to ask?
Of course it is!
However if you have ever worked in the office, as well as all those professional chats, you also have weird and strange conversations. That is what life is about and makes us social and build communities.
So though across the twitter online sessions such as #LTHEChat can be useful and interesting. Links to news, views, blogs, new tools and so much more will certainly help you to develop professionally, for me the Twitter is about life and the whole human experience.
So, is the Twitter still about the coffee? No it’s about being human!