Posts Tagged ‘twitter’
This week I blocked several Twitter “followers”. This was not part of my almost daily culling of followers who mistake me for someone else. I was blocking Twitter bots.
The developers of Twitter bots are getting smarter. The bot profiles now have photos of people, short descriptions of themselves to add to the human illusion, and several tweets that look like they were written by people.
But at least two other characteristics make them stand out as bots:
- The URLs in their profiles all lead to the same site that offers more followers in exchange for money.
- The bot tweets are a form of gibberish that only make sense if you are brain-damaged.
I block these bots and the wrong sort of followers because I do not play the numbers game. I also know that I am on several Twitter lists and that others may attempt to follow who I follow or follow who follows me. Birds of a feather, right?
You are only as good as the company you keep. I not only preen my feathers, I also check the flock for imposters.
Every now and then I get tweets like the one below.
I rarely reply to tweets like that. If I do, I tell them nicely that I secured @ashley in 2006 when Twitter was born.
In this tweet’s case, I would also point out that Twitter is not a habit for me. Smoking is a habit and it is addictive and harmful.
Twitter is another channel where I share, teach, and learn professionally but informally. I would not label this a habit when it is more of a lifestyle.
I am halfway through conducting a series of talks on Creative Commons for the PGDE cohort of student teachers in NIE.
I am almost enjoying the practice of lecturing, a strategy that I thought I had long abandoned.
I have to remind myself that didactic teaching has its moments provided it is used sparingly and only if you are a charismatic storyteller.
I do not consider myself to be in that last category even if a few enjoy listening to me. But I am an experimenter and risk-taker. I have tried to create more interactive lectures, “participates” instead of “talks”.
Of the three backchannels I have used, Facebook has been the most successful if you go by the number of responses. Most participants are not on Twitter or do not know how to use hashtags.
LinoIt is in the middle and the quality of responses there is better. One sticky on LinoIt reads: Much prefer linoit/twitter as a platform than facebook. Less intrusive.
What did I learn? Provide more than one backchannel. But when you do that, it gets harder to monitor and respond. Future implementation? I might consider using just Facebook and LinoIt (for choice) or LinoIt alone (to provide a neutral platform).
The five-question online quiz I included at the end offered a bonus I did not plan on. It was a way of taking attendance! I know that at least 50, 139, and 210 student teachers attended sessions 1, 2 and 3 respectively. I know who attended and how many times they attempted the quiz.
Could participants use some other name in the quiz? Yes, but only if they wanted to get singled out or have their integrity questioned as teachers-to-be. They would also lose a chance to win a small prize for getting all the answers right and quickly.
Some might say that lecturing as a dying art. They should try designing and implementing an interactive lecture.
Others might just point out that lectures should just die. Or be put to death. (Not good storytelling though, because that is different.)
In this day and age and with the new expectations of learners, boring face-to-face lectures are on death row. Making them interactive just gives them a last meal to make them feel good one last time.
by Robert Croma
Simply put, educational tweeting is about the quality leading to quantity, not the other way around.
I am adding this thought to the one I had earlier about MOEsg seemingly playing the numbers game in the edu Twittersphere. I still think that exercise sends the wrong message.
The number of Twitter followers can misleading.
Some follow or follow back because that seems to be the thing to do to increase follower count, never mind whether there is any relevance or a clear connection between the two parties.
Some “followers” are marketers, bots, or fake accounts. These leverage on your account to get your existing followers to follow them.
Followers are not necessarily active contributors. They are not necessarily even lurkers (active listeners) particularly if they belong to the two categories above.
There are also followers that set up test or alternative accounts, during workshops for example, who follow but then abandon those accounts. The accounts become dead or inactive.
You can tell how many are active when you have a community event like #edsg every Tuesday, 8-9pm Singapore time. You can also tell if you use a tool like Fake Follower Check to determine how many are dead weights.
BTW, despite my attempts to filter and block, I still have 3% fake followers. That said, I have a high percentage of active followers.
In playing the marketing numbers game, it helps to say that you have a high follower count in Twitter or friend/like count in Facebook. But that does not mean they are listening or contributing.
You need an extremely high number of followers to get small portion of legitimate followers to do something unselfishly.
In the case of educational tweeting you need a core mass of passionate individuals to maintain or grow the community that interacts, develops, and helps. You get that core by interacting with them, developing them, or simply helping out from time to time.
I have learnt that educational tweeting is about educating first. It is about simultaneously nurturing and learning. It is about interaction, not mere dissemination. It is about being passionate, sharing, and reflecting. It is about having a voice and making a difference.
So I remain unrattled by those who choose to play the game differently. I choose to honour the code of education (not schooling, lecturing, or marketing). I keep calm and tweet on.
I was not sure what to make of this tweet from the official MOE Twitter account. In case it goes missing, the tweet is:
Stand to win a $50 Kinokuniya voucher just by following us @MOEsg & RT this! http://on.fb.me/Tjefda #MOEContest
The skeptic in me would point out that:
- this is a corporate strategy, not an educational one
- this is an attempt to buy followers
- the followers may not be there for the right reasons
- followers might leave if the contest ceases or the content is unappealing
- it sends the wrong message
- the strategy is not sustainable
The realist in me would say that:
- if you have the dough, go with the flow
- this is one of several strategies (it better be a hook that is tied to a longer line!)
- it will provide an immediate boost to the number of followers
- they could build on the initial mass
For @cel_nie, we simply share and try to keep it real. We have seen a slow but steady increase in followers as we do this. Were we tempted to dangle cash carrots? Yes. Did we? No.
For @ashley, I actually block followers. With such a popular handle, I experience a lot of noise and get the wrong followers. I block about 50 unique people a day. This reduces my follower count by about 1500 a month.
Both strategies do not rely on gimmicks and focus on quality over quantity.
No matter what anyone tells you, educational twittering is not about the numbers game. It is about educating first.
I was privvy to this revealing conversation on Twitter thanks to @tucksoon tagging the last update with #edsg.
My one-liner consensus on Twitter: Too much Noise, Too much Drama.—
Jeremy Goh (@TheJeremyGoh) August 20, 2012
I am sure that @TheJeremyGoh is not the only one with the bad experiences or misperceptions of Twitter.
That is why PLNs around Twitter do not just happen. Not only must there be a community of sufficient critical mass, there must be good professional development and modelling to build community.
I tweeted this a few days ago:
Have four external "talks" to give over the next few months. Going to try to turn them into "listens" & "chats"!—
Ashley Tan (@ashley) July 27, 2012
I had to tell the folks who asked me to give talks why I try not to lecture. I prefer to tell stories that the audience can relate to.
I am also serious about turning passive listening into more active commenting, questioning, and critiquing. I want a one-way talk to become many-way listens and chats. Twitter backchannels are key to doing this.
I am going to try this despite the talks being held in venues that I am not familiar with and have no control of. One of those sessions is not even in the same country!
Actually, it might be because the talks are held elsewhere that I do this. It will be a test of technical, mindset, and cultural readiness for “chats” and “listens”.
Other than that, I will be mindful of five things every presenter needs to know about people.