Growing Your Academic Network with Twitter

acdigped twitterOur first digital pedagogy workshop of the semester, “Growing Your Academic Network with Twitter,” will occur Tuesday, September 8, from 4:30–5:30 pm, with a repeat on Wednesday, September 9 from 11:00 am–noon. The location is the library computer lab (Abell 208).

Join us as we explore how you can use Twitter to cultivate your personal learning network (PLN) and to connect with other scholars, ideas, activities, and events in your discipline. This workshop is for everyone–whether you have no experience with Twitter at all, are a sporadic tweeter, or a more regular user who wants to up their game and improve their Twitter experience. You might be curious or frankly skeptical about the whole thing–and that’s ok. Maybe you’ve heard about live-tweeting at professional conferences, and wonder what that’s all about. Even if you don’t know a handle from a hashtag, we’ll get you up and running.

So among other things, we’ll work on:

  • setting up your account and profile
  • the basic elements of a tweet–messages, hashtags, mentions, links, images, etc.
  • tips and ideas on who to follow and how to attract followers
  • Twitter literacy–hashtags, handles, retweets, modified tweets, lists, notifications, etc.
  • using Tweetdeck as a Twitter client
  • how to participate in a live-tweet session
  • how to strengthen your connections and network presence

We’ll draw on the experiences of Twitter users here at Austin College, including the “Tres Hombres” of digital pedagogy (@bolillotejano, @bboessen, and @MorrisPelzel) and other faculty and staff. (You do know that “Tres Hombres” was the title of a 1973 ZZTop album, right? What’s that…who is ZZTop? Nevermind). We’ll also be drawing on some other resources that you can check out here ahead of time. One of the better comprehensive guides for using Twitter in higher education is “The Ultimate Guide to Tweets, Hashtags, and All Things Twitter” by Sue Waters (@suewaters). Regularly updated and highly recommended. In “A Little Bird Told Me: Maximizing Your Learning on Twitter,” Laura Gogia (@googleguacamole) serves up some pithy recommendations and strategies in an attractive infographic. Alison Seaman (@AlisonSeaman), in “Personal Learning Networks: Knowledge Sharing as Democracy,” offers some important conceptual background on PLNs as well as practical suggestions for using Twitter to help build a PLN.

Bonnie Stewart’s (@bonstewart) articles, “In Public: The Shifting Consequences of Twitter Scholarship,” and “Contributions and Connections” explore how the growing use of social media networks by academics is affecting notions of scholarly identity, authority, and influence. She observes that

As more and more academics take to Twitter and other networked platforms to connect and share their work and ideas, a new sphere of influence is opening. And it is beginning to infiltrate academia itself. Twitter is often framed as a more effective way to get fired than hired, but networked scholarly participation can be a powerful site of new contacts and resources and conversations for a scholar, as well as new conventions (hello #hashtags!) and new public audiences for research. Increased citations, media gigs, collaborative research opportunities, invited talks and keynotes, and a variety of other academically-valued material effects can stem from active and sustained networked engagement.

Finally, on a lighter note, Glen Wright (@AcademiaObscura), in “The Weird and Wonderful World of Academic Twitter,” relates some ways in which “Twitter also acts as a virtual water cooler, a place where academics go to build community, have some fun, and let off steam.” So, if you need a bit of humor and distraction on a slow day, you could do worse than check out, say, #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords or @NeinQuarterly.

Twitter is also being used in courses and student projects as well…we’ll look more at pedagogical applications of Twitter and other social media in a subsequent workshop.

So please do join us for the workshop if you can. And, of course…follow us at @ACDigPed.

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