Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘tweet

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Barely a day goes by when at least one tweet storm appears in my Twitter timeline.

These are easy to recognise because each tweet has numbers like 1/, 2/, 3/, etc. The tweeter cannot keep to the 280-character limit and so a message (often a long one) spans several tweets.

The problem? They look spammy because they dominate my timeline and I have to scroll past them. I do not read them if the first tweet a) is not important enough, and b) does not contain a link to the rest of the thoughts.

My short response: Get a blog. Write in one. Link it to Twitter.

If blogging sounds old-school, write somewhere else and link to it. You can choose to feed the Facebook algorithm, add to the noise at LinkedIn, or recreate a spammy-looking post on Instagram. You know what, just get a blog and make it professional.

That is not to say that one should not tweet storm. But like a storm, rare downpours are palatable. Raining on everyone’s parade all the time is a wet blanket. 

Here is one thing I dislike about how local rags often write their headlines and tweets — their taglines are about one thing while their content is not.

Take the initial daily COVID-19 case reports, for instance. They often list the number of community and imported cases, but the articles do not actually tell you about the cases and are often reminders about safety measures [example].

Video source

Another example is the video above about a possible review of Secondary 5 for what is currently the Normal (Academic) stream. The review is timely given how the new PSLE will stratify students differently and how polytechnics have through-trains.

Hidden from the title of the video was the news that two arts institutes are combining to offer an arts-specialised degree. A journalist asked if this was a relevant move given how those in the arts were not doing well now. The Education Minister countered by pointing out that modern jobs required people with wide ranges of experiences and interdisciplinary outlooks.

This video had a “hidden” message in that it was not indicated in the title. That second message was equally important. However, lazy titling, a lack of video splicing, and indiscriminate sharing did not do the message justice.

Listening to TED talks will do nothing to develop or sharpen the skills listed in the tweet. Actually trying and practising those skills in authentic contexts might.

Easy answers and taglines are rarely solutions. At best, they are lazy. At worst, they mislead.

TEDxSingapore brain trust (2014).

I say this an a member of the TEDxSingapore brain trust since 2014. As a representative from the education sector, I hope they trust my brain on this.

The tweeted “shower thought” below led me to a few questions:

Was the tweet a statement about how “outside” children created tools that encouraged “inside” children?

Or was the statement more about how we create change whether we intend to or not?

Or better still, how about the fact that some of us are always playing and inventing?

Did you process the embedded image in the tweet above and laugh? You are probably part of the majority and get the joke about stereotypical mainstream schooling in Singapore. Read on.

Did you shrug your shoulders or go “meh”? You probably do not care or did not get the joke. Stop reading. Go away.

Did you see the plot holes and choose to plug them? I did and am doing this.

Real life is often funnier than fiction, so the image works. But it does not work all the time.

All schools here do not go full tilt during the first week. All parents do not send their kids for enrichment tuition. The rhetoric may be popular, but that does not make it right or truthful.

Kids in their first year of Primary or Secondary school often have orientation weeks or fortnights. After all, they are transitioning from one form of schooling to another.

They need to be prepared to be schooled. This means learning how not to ask questions and not to think imaginatively. So the last image of the child in pain is true, but the tag is not. It is painful to lose during schooling what employers will later demand.

My critique aside, it is also true that schools now focus more on non-academics like building character and integrating into communal culture. For example, my son has spent much of the first week outside of his school and the classroom to learn about the artwork in the CBD and to go kayaking with his teachers and peers.

A layperson who was schooled 10 to 15 years ago can create a tweet like the one above to draw laughs from others similarly schooled. While there is a little truth — take extra tuition, for example — that is more a function of kiasu parenting.

Only those in schooling and education can and should point out fallacies. I do so at the risk of sounding humourless and “not getting it”. I do get it; they do not. They need to be educated too.

It started with a tweet from @hsiao_yun.

I weighed in with this:

Why did we tweet? The original photo was supposed to feature Singapore, but the two men in the foreground were wearing cold weather gear.

Then @RoughGuides tweeted:

I have interacted with many individuals and organizations on Twitter. At least, I have tried. More often than not they do not reply. If they do, they drop canned messages, are ill-equipped, or forget to be social.

@RoughGuides’ tweet had the components of a well-crafted response to critical inputs. Here is a sentence-by-sentence deconstruction.

  • Acknowledgement: Hi there, well spotted on the photo.
  • Admission: This was our mistake!
  • Action: We’re looking into changing it now.
  • Appreciation: Thanks for nudging us!

It changed the main photo of the online resource shortly after tweeting. If only more Twitter entities acted like this.

Being on social media is not about bearing down in silence or ignoring sincere comments or questions. Far too many people and organizations using Twitter do this (@TwitterSG included!). I am ashamed to note that I know teachers and educators who do this too.

Learning on Twitter is about engaging others whether you are right or wrong*. It is about having honest and open conversations. It is about giving back. If we do these consistently, we would learn what it is really like to be social in social media. We would learn something about ourselves and want to be better.

*Addendum: The exception might be responding to trolls.

I would hesitate to call the graphic embedded in this tweet an infographic.

This is an actual infographic. There is a dynamic version of the static infographic.

But the first graphic, a timeline, does provide a nice summary of the changes in major social media platforms over the year.

Interestingly enough, the embedded image might be easier to see and read on the mobile platform. The catering or preference for mobile is a trend in itself. Long may that continue into 2015!

Consider this question:

Here are some of my answers:

Because things have always been done that way.

Because we know no other way.

Because we think we know better.

Because you have to sit for tests that we put in your life that do not have much to do with your life.

These are very weak answers.

The tweeted question is a Googleable one and others have tried answering it in other ways. There are mathematical answers and classical logic answers.

But all those answers miss the point of the question. The point is critical perspective-taking.

Is it possible to offer technical support in 140 characters? It might be.

Recently I had to find solutions to two technical issues.

I upgraded by iPad mini to iOS 8 (and left my iPhone on iOS 7 to keep it jailbroken). The upgrade prevented me from connecting to my VPN service.

I tried restarting the device and making sure that the input fields were correct. Here is what worked.

I had also activated two factor authentication (2FA) on my Google account a while ago. I did not realize that it would prevent the YouTube app in my Apple TV from working. After a quick search, I discovered a simple solution.

Offering these technical tips without hashtagging them almost seemed pointless. Twitter dashboard tells me my tweets get 30,000 views per day, but that does not mean I am offering anyone anything of value. So why did I do it?

I only realized why after the fact. I was responding to someone who claimed that 140 characters prevented effective communication.

The essence of solutions to problems can be shown in text, images, links, audio, or videos in tweets. Brevity is not opposed to clarity.

The brevity of tweets might lead to loss of context and rationale. But you can post multiple tweets and be succinct about it. You might also rely on long form like this blog to get the best of both worlds.

It is about finding a way with whatever cards you are dealt with.

I reviewed the tweets that I had collected as “favourites” over the last few years and found this:

Damned if you do or damned if you don’t? Which are you guilty of?

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