Last Friday I attempted a 'Flash debate' in twitter. The idea was that, like Flash mobs, we'd come together via twitter to discuss a particular topic, in this case virality in education. In my previous post I drew some conclusions about the topic, but here are some thoughts on the process.
Overall, I'd say it had only middling success, you can see some of the conversations here. Although the inputs I had were good (and thankyou to those who contributed), it didn't really take off. In short, my debate around virality didn't go viral. My aim in attempting this, and indeed the whole YOFL thing, is to explore what ways of using new tools work for educators. There are several factors to consider in the Twitter debate example:
i) Topic – maybe 'virality in education' isn't that exciting, or more probably, what a debate needs is a straightforward opening question, whereas this was a bit unfocused.
ii) Timing – Fridays may not be the best day of the week, and I did most of it during the working day in the UK. This may make it difficult to catch on in other time zones.
iii) Medium – it could be that maybe twitter isn't the best medium to conduct this. It has an advantage over setting up a specific forum or wiki in that you may catch people as they go around their daily business, but it has the character limit, poor threading and is limited by the people who follow you.
iv) Initiator – I kicked it off, and it's possible that a) I don't have sufficient cache to make it fly (imagine Downes or Will Richardson doing it) and b) that debates need more than one person driving them along.
I may try another one later on, but probably more focused. Any suggestions on whether it's worth it, or how to improve it are welcome.