Jim Groom has an amazing account of how a group of people at a presentation at the University of Richmond were suddenly told to turn off the lights and be quiet as a suspicious character with a gun had been spotted on campus.
After the initial moment of fright, he relates how a number of them turned to Twitter, and how this turned out to be both soothing and useful:
"I found the act to be really soothing. People at UR were information
and advice to one another, while the larger network from around the
world was sending regards, prayers, questions, and their well wishes. I
had a very powerful sense that those “others” were there with us from
beyond that lab, or even the UR campus. I can’t fully explain why that
felt so good, someone even offered a Safety dance from abroad, nothing
like laugh during a moment of untold strangeness"
I’ve wondered about this before – is Twitter only useful or interesting if everything is going okay and it remains fairly frivolous. I’m sure there would be life events that I wouldn’t Twitter about, but Jim’s experience shows that it isn’t just for discussing ed tech or making jokes.
As an aside, following Jim’s Twitter stream and that of others at Richmond yesterday (eg Andy Morton), as well as those outside (e.g. Jennifer Jones) begins to look like a new literary form. I await the first Twitter novel with eager anticipation. Maybe we should write it?
PS – I am having a great blog comment discussion with Jim and Scott Leslie over on Jim’s blog about No Country for Old Men – I love that this has nothing to do with ed tech.