#followfriday is a hashtag which passed me by. Like #fossilfriday. Seemed like a great idea but life’s busy, the web vast, you can procrastinate all day and still find stuff to amaze you. I know. I’ve been there.
Why #followfriday? Isn’t every day a follow day on Twitter?
Come to that, what it is about the tweeting bug which bites some and not others?
It’s an odd idea. Imagine pitching it. You want to do what? Limit posts. Well, maybe a thousand words isn’t such a bad idea. What? 140 characters! That’s like a single sentence dude. It’ll never catch on.
Twitter was unique. It lost some magic when the character count increased. Now there’s talk of stringing tweets together.
Are the Twitter-leaders losing it?
It seems Twitter is following the path of other good ideas which lacked faith to hang on to the one quality which made them different. In this case – 140 characters or less.
What a brilliant challenge it was. Condensing your message, contracting your thinking, being concise and precise with words. Twitter made you re-examine your use of language. Learn the art of attention grabbing headlines. Appreciate meaningful puns. Appropriation of idioms. Clever metaphors with a twist. For logophiles and other lovers of text the world was our twitterverse and we liked it. Just the way it was.
Soon there will be nothing to distinguish Twitter from other social media platforms where users post a status, like, repost, link, share, add graphics.
The world is moving towards conformity.
Don’t do it Twitter. Stay unique.
In the meantime, James Clay started something on Twitter this week.
Amy Pearlman @AmyPearlman posted a request:-
I know it’s not Friday but who are your best follows for Women IT, Higher Ed issues, Tech, Just plain cool stuff.
James replied with a list of 21. It was good to see ex-colleague Kerry Pinny there – I would have expected to see Chrissi Nerantzi and Sue Becks while thumbs up for Audrey, Bonnie and Donna – education needs their criticality. Then there’s Jane Secker copyright queen and Theresa Mackinnon, cunningly disguised as @WarwickLanguage along with Maren Deepwell from ALT and Sheila McNeill… Hey, I know nearly all these names. What great company to keep. These are the people who understand it’s not the technology, it’s what you do with it that counts.
After this, my Twitter feed went a little crazy. I haven’t counted the subsequent suggestions for Amy to follow. James should have put a hashtag on it!
The buzz is fading. Soon something else will burst into Twitter-life before it also passes by. This is the nature of social media. Transient. Temporary. Of the moment. But for a short while it was good to think the words you drop into the void of hyperspace might sometimes have an impact. So thanks James for including me. It means a lot.
In the meantime, Christmas is coming. The only time when email stops and professional use of Twitter goes quiet. Its another year end. Those working in HE have two year ends – academic and seasonal. This is our second round of closures and new beginnings. One more blog post before January and I think I know what it’s going to be…
Have a good week.
This week’s #lthechat (no 87- what will 100 be?) was about CPD or, to be more precise, Professional Development Challenges in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and led by Prof Sally Brown.
Q1 What professional development challenges do you plan to set yourself in the next academic year?
Er um – I’m not sure.
As the #lthe-chatters listed plans, I sidetracked, taking note of those involving technology, out of interest….but what about the question. What were my own ‘professional challenges’? Then I remembered the PhD. Of course! So why didn’t I initially think of it as CPD? The second question held a clue.
Q2 How can you best engage with students in planning and achieving your CPD?
One chatter posted ‘Not entirely sure what you mean? CPD for me or CPD I deliver for others?’ The reply was ‘for me!’
Another posted ‘Stunning question Hadn’t thought it was something I could do … but it obviously is.’
So not only me! I wonder if there’s a wider tendency to think of CPD in terms of what we provide for others rather than what we do for ourselves?
If so, is the belief related to areas like Academic Practice or Learning Development which are about supporting others to achieve. Could it even be a gender issue. Traditional social conditioning as in being taught to look out for others, be the carer, mender, the one who keeps it all together. Does cultural construction make it more likely some will interpret CPD as ‘do unto others’ rather than ‘unto yourself’?
…do we do CPD without being aware of it. Like students not recognising feedback.
The accompanying #lthechat post listed seven CPD challenges from ‘Professionalism in practice: key directions in higher education learning, teaching and assessment’. These are about ‘translating action into transformative change’. If you saw CPD as doing a mooc or reading a book, take a look at this. CPD can involve any – or all – of the following …
- Stepping out of your comfort zone
- Making an effort
- Talking more to students
- Checking out inclusive practice
- Reviewing internationality
- Becoming more scholarly
- Taking up mentoring or coaching
As if my head wasn’t already thinking enough, question 4 arrived. Which are your key communities of practice: what do you give to them and what do you gain from them? Physical/Virtual
It woz the binary wot did it! Physical/Virtual. For some time I’ve been brooding about how my online life is isolated from my real one. The social media I use isn’t shared by most of my working colleagues (or home peeps come to that, but we’re talking CPD so family/friends is different).
My online professional network is supportive, informative and sometimes game-changing. Take the PhD. Transferring from Lincoln to Hull hadn’t gone well. I was upset at how three years of research into the attitudes and practices of academics online, and how they conceptualised teaching and learning in a digital age, had been rejected. Then a by-the-by comment on Twitter led me to the University of Northampton and Ale Armellini who is now my PhD supervisor. It couldn’t be better. Thank you internet and Chrissi Nerantzi.
We all have similar stories of digital synchronicity. Like the time I found an elusive book of poetry via Twitter in under half an hour! Also regular events like #lthechat can lead to unexpected connections and insights. Yet when I look around, it feels those of us with virtual lives are still the minority. The dominance of the 3P’s, Pen, Pencil and Paper, may be greater than we realise.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not demanding colleagues be online, or become part of my online life, but I’m aware of their absence. It’s like the ‘Did you watch….’ conversation in the kitchen. I don’t have a tv so am immediately excluded. I’m more likely to ask ‘Did you see….on Twitter’ or ‘have you read the latest post on …..blog’ but I don’t because no one has.
My tweet-answer summed it up. great support/sharing via @twitter but digitally shy colleagues excluded – feel I’m digital/analogue hybrid.
I juggle two worlds – the virtual and real – which feels like I don’t fully fit in either. Like the Roman God Janus, I look both ways. I have dual identities, maybe triple if you include my social use of the internet. Either way I’m an analogue/digital hybrid.
Hybridity is an interesting concept. It’s been around for some time, long before the digital, more complex than a binary, and seemingly well suited to an internet age.
As so often happens, a blog post on one topic is ending on another.
More on hybridity another day.
In the meantime, back to CPD, or in this case – the CPhD.
Storify of #lthechat 14/06/17 available here:https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-no-87-professional-development-challenges
blog images from #lthechat or https://pixabay.com
Friday morning. 6.41 train from Hull. Heading to Sheffield Hallam University. It’ll be dark and cold but well worth it to attend the second Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference ‘The Empowered Learner’
I’m helping facilitate a ‘socially mediated workshop about developing a social media workshop’ The repetition is deliberate and the workshop will be using the UCISA Social Media Toolkit as a baseline. The Toolkit offers a useful guide for universities using social media tools. what ever the reason; learning, teaching, research or administration – it preempts some of the questions which might be asked and contains a wealth of advice and support from those who’ve already tipped their digital toes in the social media waters.
The rest of the programme looks interesting – as always, the perennial problem is selection – which to choose and which to miss.
The Keynote has been retitled Key-Not. The rationale for this intriguing name will be revealed on the day. If you can’t gt to Sheffield there’s an online option. The conference website says ‘If you are free between 9.15 and 11.15, will be online and like a challenge you are invited to participate directly in our online version of the Key-Not. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Key-not’ in the subject line and we’ll fill you in. Otherwise, watch out for a million tweets in the morning, and keep an eye on this page.’ The Twitter hashtag is #SocMedHE16 and some of the sessions will be periscoped – see the conference website for further details.
Yesterday there was an announcement. To coincide with the national event, this year’s conference would also celebrate the Great British Christmas Jumper.
Ooops – I don’t have one.
The closest I get is a little Ode written last month when colleagues were starting to discuss the annual CJ – so in the spirit of Christmas Jumpering, and the absence of one of my own (not to mention taking advantage of social media!) I include it here.
Have a good conference everyone.
If you’re new to social media, Twitter is a useful starting point. Ignore the negative hype around celebrities and breakfasts. Twitter works because it’s what you make it. You choose who to follow and can block unwanted followers. On Twitter you’re in control, not only of your own Twittersphere but who you want to share it with. Hashtags make useful aggregators while additional tools like Buffer and Pocket help manage tweeting times as well as offering a handy curation service. Twitter’s 140 character limit is conducive to preciseness which is a valuable skill for all. The limit keeps tweets neat. You can also include an image to extend or emphasise the message. At the moment this takes up extra characters but maybe not for much longer ‘Twitter to stop counting photos and links in character limit’
Yet Twitter can be divisive. Not everyone likes it. An excellent blog post from @KerryPinny I am rubbish at Twitter highlights some of this ambivalence, in particular around life balance and TMI (too much information), but on reflection I wonder how much Twitter-resistance is about the wider issues associated with putting yourself online in the first place. After all, it can be a scary thing to do. While the nuances of a face-to-face conversation are soon forgotten, tweets stick and this stickiness is a justifiable worry, in particular where deleting texts is no guarantee of their demise. Yet there are definite benefits to feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Twitter networks can become valuable sources of information. Like attracts like and this can be useful for a range of educational topics. Also, just when you thought you were the only person in the world with a particular problem, Twitter leads you to those with similar issues and becomes a great source of shared comfort and advice.
When Kerry tweeted her blog post, @jamesclay responded with a list of Things people say about using twitter but really you shouldn’t Number one on the list is an wry ‘Never write a blog post telling people how they should use Twitter!’ but in reality, there’s value in offering advice for Twitter newbies who might be unsure what it’s all about. At the risk of tipping the balance between self-promotion and collective wisdom, here’s a link to my own ‘Ten Tips for Neat Tweets’ this was posted prior to my #LTHEchat session on accessibility. These weekly chats take place 8.00-9.00 p.m. on Wednesdays and are Storified afterwards. https://lthechat.com has a record of the sessions and offers valuable insight into how Twitter brings people together to share information and practice.For those new to Twitter, the hashtag #LTHEchat is a great place to begin.
Twitter also ticks all the elements of the Jisc digital capabilities model. Using Twitter requires confidence with the inner circle of ICT proficiency and the outer circle of digital identity and reputation as well as showcasing professional learning, developing a range of literacies, artefacts and practices plus demonstrating effective online communication and collaboration. It’s a great example of technology enhanced learning too.
Phew! Let’s get Twitterate. Go forth and Tweet.
An extended version of this post first appeared on the UCISA Training Community in relation to the UCISA Spotlight on Digital Capabilities Conference 25/26 May 2016 #udigcap.