Utility Of Twitter and a Networking Analogy

I replied to a philosophical posting about Twitter by BlanchManyard. Here is what I said:
I find myself being drawn more to Twitter for finding out about useful [online] reports from my “like-minded” network. I can’t always sign up for all the interesting RSS feeds or email notifications, so it is a useful complement. What is different than the neighbors analogy is that I am privy to conversations, or at least your side of conversation with a neighbor you are talking to over your back fence when I live across the road from you and thus would not tend to interact with your over-the-fence-neighbor. I also find out things about you that I would not normally hear from you becasue I can see everything you are saying 24-7, whereas if I was your neighbor, I might talk to once or twice a day. Twitter may be more analogous to the conversations you have with your spouse when you have 2 young children – burst transmissions of no more than 2 sentences before you get cut off or someone else interrupts.”

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2 Responses to “Utility Of Twitter and a Networking Analogy”

  1. BlancheMaynard Says:

    In Twitter, you have neighnors but no fences! You also have neighbors…but no neighborhood, in the sense that your view of the space you inhabit (your twittersphere) is particular to you since no one follows or is being followed by exactly the same people.

    No analogy is perfect, but the neighbors analogy works for me. It’s not about space, it’s about people and timing. A little bit like what I observe on my street, when I see dog owners congregating and chatting at certain times of day; joggers exchanging a few words in the morning; passers by stopping and commenting on my flowers when I’m out there tending my front garden. These conversations are spontaneous and unpredictable. They sometimes engage only two people at first, who can be joigned by many more. Again, it’s about people and timing more than space, although Twitter IS a space that allows for these types of interactions. But it’s not a physical space, like a neighborhood would be. It’s a space that has neighbors but no neighborhood.

    I’m just thinking out loud here. What’s your reaction?

    (By the way, I love this discussion we are having :-)

    Blanche Louise

    • bradleyshoebottom Says:

      Agreed on no fences. I used the fence and “across the Stret” metaphor because we all like to have some space. In the internet world, we have space as well; weonly join certain social networking sites (facebook, Linked in, Twitter etc) so our over involvement or underinvolvement is like leaving the front door open vs unlocked to our fmaily, friends, neighbours, collegeues), or having caller id or not. We also maintain a certina level of “onlineness” so the network is affected by that degree of connection and timing.
      I agree conversations are greatly affected by the circumstance of timing and a persons daly routine. Prior to the social web, as Stephen Downes and Georege Siemens would point out, our networking was greatly limtied to mail, and our ability to get out beyond our neighbour hood. This severly restricted our level of knoweldge. We jsut accepted the fact that we would not know some things. I tell my stduueis that it is highly unlikely they may have a truly original idea on a planet with 9 billion poeple. Somebody else has had the idea, it might be documented in Chines or even in English, but the odl paper based system of info distribution hindered the flow of knoweldge and our interaction with those that created it.
      I find myself spending more time at night now “networking” than I do working on RMC courses in the atempt to find greater knowledge to assist my teaching.
      Twitter breaks those walls down and even if you are “offline” for 7 weeks, you can go back and find out wha tis going on

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