Living in a twitter world

(The last in my trilogy of ALT-C related posts)

Two things brought home to me that we live in a twitter world (whether David Cameron or John Humphrys like it or not, and indeed, all the better that they don't).

The first was that I attended the ALT-C for the first time post the development of twitter. I have been to this conference (it's the UK's main ed tech conference) three times before. Usually my approach was to hang around on my own in a corner, maybe find a couple of OU people and stick with them, or stand on the edge of a group and hope someone notices me. But this time I went feeling that I knew nearly everyone there because we follow each other on twitter. Here is a list of people I know well on twitter who I actually got to say hello to face to face for the first time (and I've probably missed a load off, sorry):

Brian Kelly, Alan Cann, Josie Fraser, Graham Attwell, Steve Wheeler, James Clay, Stu Johnson, Sue Folley, Theo Kuechel, Haydn Blackley.

And then there were the people I have met only a few times but keep in contact with via twitter. I was practically high-fiving my way down corridors. Well, maybe not, but it was a distinctly different real-life social experience because of twitter (and blogs).

Given this it struck me that I need to work on some new social skills. What is the appropriate type of conversation when you are pre-introduced via social networks? I had a few good discussions, but often I would shake hands with someone and we'd both go 'good to finally meet you. Errrm…' So one upshot of living in a twitter world is that we need to tweak our social interactions to have a mode that is somewhere inbetween being introduced for the first time and being old friends.

The second twitter related moment was watching TV last night. I was watching something else when someone on my twitter stream said they were about to watch the Derren Brown 'event' on Channel 4. In this he 'predicted' the national lottery numbers live, see this clip:

I'm not particularly interested in how he did it (it's TV, he can make it look anyway he wants), but rather what it reveals about the changing nature of television. Last year I mentioned that for TV creating events that appealed to twitter users (or any network, obviously not limited to twitter)  and allowed them"to
share the experience online may be the the thing that saves scheduling". This seems to me an example of a broadcaster attempting to do this. There are two key ingredients:

1) It is a live event so participation at the moment is crucial

2) It provokes discussion – the acid test is does it get to be a trending event in twitter? The answer for last night was yes:

Picture 16 

I'm not arguing that it makes good television, merely indicating that this can be seen as an example of the impact of social networks on an existing broadcast behaviour.

One Comment

  1. The Derren Brown TV event was interesting. After it took place, almost every message in my Twitter feed was about Derren Brown. My feed has never been so concentrated on a single topic before.
    I mentioned this (adding to the number of Tweets surrounding the event). Someone replied that although she hadn’t been watching the lottery prediction, Twitter made her feel like she’d been living it. Quite a feat!

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