D’OH – I Forgot Too!

I am sure many other Twitter users have already defined what I am calling the Twitter Effect (there is, in fact, a Facebook page called The Twitter Effect). Even though I am professionally trained to read and evaluate what others have said before I say what I want to say on a topic (in academia we call this a literature review), I am going to skip that step right now; these definitions are irrelevant to my point, anyway.  I’ll engage in some grounded theory instead, and offer this up as a personalized definition of  my own Twitter Effect.

My own Twitter Effect is characterized by some — no, all — of the following:

  1. Like @injenuity, I sometimes forget I have a blog! I am not posting as often on this here blog, and the posts I have written seem less — well, less ________________.  Just less.
  2. Because I receive Twitter feeds from people I am trying to learn from (I carefully select the people I follow to avoid Twitter Litter), I sometimes feel like I might miss out on something important if I don’t check Twitter at least three times a day. The sky could be falling and if I miss Chicken Little’s tweet at 3:01 informing me of this news, I might not otherwise find out! This is perhaps the only negative experience of my Twitter Effect, and, to be fair, it’s totally self-induced.
  3. I no longer need to read many of my RSS feeds because I get them through Twitter; by the time I remember to check my RSS feeds, I’ve already seen most of the posts. However, because of #2 above, I am keeping my RSS feeds; they help control my anxiety about potentially missing something.
  4. I am continually amazed by what a good source of learning Twitter can be, which is why I keep using it so diligently.  It helps me scan key publications easily (example, The Chronicle of Higher Ed); it keeps me connected to certain goings-on in conferences that I can’t attend in person; I get to hear multiple perspectives on any given topic that might otherwise not come together in any organized space; and I get to connect with people I might otherwise never have known.
  5. I am also  continually amazed by what some of my good sources of learning will tweet on Twitter — many of my Twitter superstars are actually humans with sick kids, pear trees, and great recipes to share. That’s cool! I like that they are human and care about whether or not their favorite football team wins in addition to whether or not their students are learning or their university gets its needed funding.
  6. Finally, as I’ve been diligently working at living an integrated life instead of a life in silos, I have found support with Twitter. I follow organizations and people who are in my professional realms, I follow my yoga studio, I follow my local farmer’s market, I follow friends, and I search and follow specific topics that are of interest to me.

My own Twitter Effect is neither bad, nor good. My own Twitter Effect just is, and I’m ok with it, even though I sometimes forget that I have a blog. (And a kid. And a husband. And a dog. And 2 cats. And a class to teach. And a paper to write. And dinner to cook. And  … ok, ok,  just kidding. Twitter humor, people. Twitter humor.)


Boundaries, Social Media, and Higher Education

Dear Higher Ed Colleagues & Students ~

I would like to have a discussion with whomever would like to participate about the topic of  “boundaries” between students and faculty (or advisers, or other higher ed staff) in higher education when social media comes into play. A few months ago, one of my colleagues made a remark that she was worried about “crossing boundaries” with students in social media spaces.  Her comment caused me to consider some questions:  Aside from our professional and personal ethical frameworks and institutional policies (and the law), where *are* these boundaries; are they clearly demarcated; and do boundaries become altered in any way if they are within virtual spaces instead of physical spaces?

I’d like to hear others’ perspectives about this topic, so I am posing a few more questions to get our noggins rolling. If you’re  willing to chime in, please do so in the comments area. Please also tell us who you are and what perspective you are offering — are you a student (undergrad? grad? adult or “traditional” college student), professor, higher ed staff, or ??? Also, can you share any articles or resources on this topic of boundaries in social media spaces with the rest of us?

Thanks in advance for participating!

To Facilitate Our Conversation … :

1) To what extent are you concerned about boundaries being crossed between students and faculty (or other higher ed staff) in various social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, wikis, YouTube, etc.)? What might your concerns be?

2) What about using social media sites has you more (or less) concerned about boundaries to begin with?

3) Has your thinking about boundaries and privacy and social media shifted at all since you first began using social media? If so, how?

4) What might constitute “crossing a boundary” in a social media site that would be different from crossing a boundary in a physical space for professionals in higher education?

5) What practices do you enact to ensure that you don’t cross boundaries in social media sites?

6) To what extent might the concepts of privacy and boundaries be conflated when considering social media sites?

7) Are there other, or different, questions we should be asking about boundaries between professors and students in social media spaces?

Again, thanks for participating!


"Flowtown's Map of Online Communities: 2010" from Mashable


I’m In Deep




Thanks to Yagoob Amani for sharing this image on Picasa.

I got married 9-1/2 years ago and didn’t change my name.

I got a new job 5-1/2 years ago and didn’t change my approach to work.

I moved to a new house 3 years ago and didn’t change the wall colors.

I joined Twitter 3 weeks ago and have already changed my email signature, my Facebook feed, my LinkedIn profile, my blog’s widgets, and my bedtime reading rituals.

And here’s why. To I quote Ryan Cordell, the author of that article:

One of the most common dismissals of Twitter sounds something like this, “I don’t need to know what a bunch of people had for breakfast.” My response to this is always, “if that what you’re seeing on Twitter, you’re following the wrong people.” Twitter can help academics make and maintain connections with people in their fields, find out about interesting projects and research, or crowdsource questions and technical problems.

It’s official. I’m in deep.

From Twitter Litter To Learning

The Great Twitter (Squawker) Experiment continues for me, and I am now at the end of Week 2.  I have stats, I have some experience using it, and I’ve had a good tutorial from @alex_craghead (a former student / now colleague). I know a few things about it, and I can see possibility and value there.

And yet, I’ve continued to wonder: what’s in it for me? (I know, right??!?!?) But really, do I want to spend my time there, squawking and following other squawkers? To what end?

And then I think: Holy cow – what’s in it for people who follow me? I really don’t want to be contributing to Twitter Litter!

Thanks to Man vyi for sharing this image on Wikimedia.

And then, just yesterday, the great and amazing Howard Rheingold explained to me what’s in it for me. In an article he wrote for the New York Times in rebuttal to an article written by Malcolm Gladwell about the limits of Twitter to change the world, Rheingold wrote:

As for Twitter, I’ve found that you have to learn how to make it add value rather than subtract hours from one’s day. Certainly, it affords narcissism and distraction. But it also makes possible the self-organization of the fluid forums that I learned (via Twitter) to call “personal learning networks.”

I value Twitter because of its openness (anyone can join, anyone can follow anyone else, except for accounts that require permission), immediacy, variety, reciprocity, its channel to multiple publics, its potential for allowing networks to become communities, the mass collaborations it enables, its searchability.

I use it to learn. When I wanted to learn about videography I followed a Twitter list of video experts. Want to learn about social media uses in education? Follow a list of technology-enthusiastic educators. (I wrote a blog post about Twitter literacy a year and a half ago.)

NOW I know why and how to use Twitter:

To Learn.

And of course, I learned of this article through Twitter!

And now that learning has become to goal, the end, the point of it all, I think I am hooked.

The Importance of Stats

Thanks (I think) to SeattleClouds.com on Flickr for sharing this photo.

Today is Day 4 of the Great Twitter Experiment. I might give it a month to see what I think, but since I am the chief investigator in this experiment, and there’s neither a control nor an experimental group, and I don’t have funders to whom I am accountable, I might decide to only give it a week.  As my mother says, “We’ll see…”

BUT – here are the stats (very very important, apparently, that one track one’s stats when using social media). As of Day 4:

  • I have 33 tweeters that I am following (including my dad, who doesn’t seem to tweet and still likes email, so maybe it’s only 32)
  • I have 18 followers (though some are kinda sketchy – like “Fishing-Blogger,” a bass fishing blog. WTW???)
  • I’ve tweeted 16 times (except one was a mis-tweet – newbie error – so really 15)

I have connected my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to my Twitter account so now each time I tweet my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles show it.  And I have added a widget to this blog (look to your right, folks) that posts my most current tweets.

Rocket science, people! ROCKET.SCIENCE! (not)

And what does all of this tell me?


Well, nothing yet.

But as my mother says, “We’ll see…”

Kicking & Screaming. No, Squawking.

Ok, so now I tweet. Actually, it’s more like I squawk.

Thanks to Donarreiskoffer on Wikimedia for the image. It's quite perfect.


I have no idea. But now I do.


Because everyone keeps asking me, “Why don’t you use Twitter?”

And I have never had a good answer, other than, “Why in the world would I want to be on Twitter? What would I ever have to tweet?”

My mind went to the mundane:

  • New #paleale @HUB. Good with the veg pizza. Go there.

Or the unthinkable:

  • @Everyone- @TheBoy just used the #potty! YAY for #housebreaking!

But, well, you know how it is. Kind of like this conversation I had with the toddler just yesterday:

“I don’t like lemon cucumbers.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t like them, mama.”

“But have you ever tried them?”

“I don’t like them.”

“But if you’ve never tasted them, how would you know you don’t like them?”


THIS is why I am using Twitter.


Follow me and see what happens. In my homeland, we call this experiential learning.

Who Knew?

I learn something new everyday.

Thanks to "psd" on Flickr for making this image available!

So yesterday I wrote a blog post.

And then I received this email:

Congrats! Your post ( https://prattlenog.com/2010/05/04/verb-to-blog/ ) has been promoted to Freshly Pressed on WordPress.com. Keep up the good work!

Editorial Czar
WordPress.com | Automattic

I chuckled at Joy’s title. “Czar.” Why not “queen?” I thought.

And then, I received several emails notifying me of comments on my post, and I logged in and checked my dashboard.

WOWZA! You people were reading my blog! Amazing! Who knew?

And THEN I saw this post from WordPress: Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed

Who knew? This was a total accident on my part, but what a cool thing.

And, I learned that apparently you all want to talk about why you blog (as do I).  Who knew? So let’s do it!

My great thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my post. Each of you has added to my own reflections about my blogging practice, and I have learned a lot. I look forward to continuing the conversation; it’s a great one!