Monthly Archives: October 2012

Since the articles for this week have been talking about online learning, I decided to do my open post on the same subject.  Below is a video that I feel pretty much sums up what happens when I have homework online and stumble onto something that “looks interesting”:

I thought this video represented the things that usually distract me: food, drawing, and technology.  I typically find technology to be more distracting. Perhaps it’s the media lover in me, but I’m always checking out Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and the news to see what has happened so far that day.  Although this is great for mental stimulation, it’s not so great for my homework.

I’ve found that if I am working on my homework, it’s better if I plan out a set amount of time to focus on it and sit down with Pandora, I get much more accomplished.

Limiting the distractions and setting up a space where I solely focus on one assignment with minimal distractions has definitely made a difference in how long it takes me to do my homework and the quality of work that I am producing.


I chose to read “Tweeting the Night Away:  Using Twitter to Enhance Social Presence.”   The article discussed the social connections that are made between students and teachers and how the connections enhance the amount of knowledge that a student will gain from making the formal/informal social connections that face-to-face students often achieve with course instructors.

The study specifically looked at Twitter interaction within one group of voluntary students.  The students were asked to “follow” fellow classmates, instructors, and two-to-three field professionals.

Each student was asked to log onto twitter three times per day for two weeks.  After this initial period, if the students did not feel like the tweeting was beneficial to their education, they could stop the usage.

A majority of the students that stayed on the website noted positive results at the end of the semester and said that it helped them to build an online, social connection with fellow students and professors.

I think that using Twitter as a communication medium for online students is innovative; however, I personally do not think that it would be difficult for me to utilize for questions.  Anytime I am trying to clarify information from my professors, I am usually looking for more detailed responses and specific questions—perhaps something that cannot be stated in 140 characters.

I can see how utilizing Twitter can be beneficial for social interaction/awareness of other student’s activity, but I don’t think that it is as discussion oriented as a blog or lengthier posting forums.

I think the utilization of Twitter in an online section is a quick, easy way to connect students, but I also think that the effectiveness is dependent on the demographics and needs of the users/group; for example, online students are looking for a way to create social connections with other students and professors who have restricted availability hours might turn towards tweeting as a means of fast and effective communication.

Tweet, Tweet, Retweet: Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter is a paper by danah boyd, Scott Golder, and Gilad Lotan.  This paper examines retweeting on Twitter. Retweeting doesn’t really seem as popular has using hashtags or @user in your tweets. Since Twitter only allows 140 characters for a tweet, it’s sometimes hard to retweet someone. This paper was published in 2010, so the codes for retweeting have changed. This paper mentions that a retweet looks like this: “RT @user: message.” This raises the problem of possibly having to shorten or delete words when you retweet someone. There’s a term called “disemvoweling,” which means that you can delete some of the vowels in the tweet to shorten it but you are still able to have the same message or idea that the original user tweeted. On danah boyd’s Twitter she asked her followers what some rules of the rules are for retweeting. One user said, “Tweets of 130+ characters are too long to be retweeted.”  Another user said, “You can change whatever seems to not alter the original content.” And finally, some other users agreed that you can delete words that are unnecessary or too wordy or you can shorten words as long as they are “text message style.” On danah’s Twitter, she also asked her followers why and what they retweet. She found that people retweet to gain followers, to promote a cause, to entertain a specific audience, or to start a conversation. They’re retweeting things like time-sensitive material, breaking news, or anything that is fun and entertaining.

I haven’t been using Twitter for very long but I can tell you that things have probably changed over the past two years. Whenever I see one of my followers retweet someone it shows up on my feed like everyone else’s tweets do except at the bottom in small font it says “retweeted by @user.” This is nice because you no longer have to worry about going over that 140 character limit when you retweet someone.

Haha! I think this is funny. Nothing’s “official” until it’s put on a social media site.

I found a really interesting paper on how teens use and feel about social media. The full report can be downloaded from this page as well. A group of teens between 13 and 17 were surveyed and asked a handful of questions. The most interesting one I thought was ‘Does it (Social media) make them feel more connected or more isolated?’ Another question was ‘Better about themselves, or more depressed and lonely?’ I have seen studies before where they explored the emotional damage things like Facebook can do. Many teens felt bullied because of social media but bullying was not the only problem. A lot of people feel left out because of social media. You see all your peers posting pictures and hanging out and you aren’t with them you can feel bad about yourself. Which is why I thought this paper was interesting because it explores the more left out side rather than the bullied side.

I dont know if anyone has heard of this site before, but it’s a fantastic search engine for, well, exactly what it says – design inspiration. I know most of you here are PCEM majors, but it might be a useful tool to use at some point for any kind of visual research. It has a clean, beautiful layout with a simple search bar in the lovely Helvetica. You can search textures, colors, designers, and other key words,  and it will link to the work by the artist. It’s a sophisticated Pinterest if you will 🙂

After reading the article “Is the Backchannel Enabled? Using Twitter at Academic Conferences” I came to realize the range of people actively using twitter, and how that information can be used in an effective way.

One particular quote that was interesting to me was on the third page:

“Current endeavors to address those problems usually fall into two kinds of practice. The

first kind of change is represented by a trend named as “unconference”3. An unconference does

not follow the routine of organizing a traditional conference; it invites participants to negotiate

the content and structure of the conference according to their own interests (Crossett, Kraus &

Lawson, 2009).”

I think this is an effective change to the way we traditionally hold conferences. The audience usually has no say in what can be talked about or what time is amounted per question, but Twitter shows that these limitations are no longer an issue. People can tweet questions, concerns and comments while the educational event is taking place, which is not only beneficial to their understanding, but helps others understand by posting these concerns to a public platform. Also, by showing the visuals it became much more about the audience grasping the idea of how many Twitter users there were. Overall it seems to be an effective report, even though not all of it is crystal clear. (There could be stronger visuals for a more effective presentation perhaps?)