sarahkeenihan

Day 195. Recommendation

In february 2013 on February 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

frustration

Do you ever get frustrated trying to have multi-person conversations via email?

A little something like this perhaps:

One person has a good idea, emails a few thoughts to a group of colleagues. A second person replies. A third voice chimes in with something controversial and before you know it 15 people are hitting ‘reply all’, putting in their two bobs worth. Eventually, everyone’s forgotten how the thing began. And no-one can be bothered to find the original email, or check the veracity of previous comments.

The problem of multi-layered, multi-responder conversations is a something Twitter copes with well.

Here’s a theoretical example:

Person 1 has an idea, and tweets a first contribution using the hashtag #loveSaturdays (to denote a statement about enjoying the 6th day of the week).

Making cakes and licking the bowl #loveSaturdays

Person 2 notices the tweet, and adds their own idea:

Sleeping in, and having coffee and toast in bed at midday #loveSaturdays

Person 3 adds some spice:

Just woke up next to Shane Waren. Hello! #loveSaturdays

Bang! The conversation goes nuts and people around the world join in. Instead of a long stream and back-and-forths which are nigh on impossible to track unless you sit in front of the computer in real time, each contribution is:

    • Brief (only 140 characters) and hence to the point;
    • Trackable due to the use of the hashtag;
    • In temporal order thanks to the Twitter setup;
    • Associated on screen with the person who tweeted it – since Twitter posts appear under user avatars; and
    • In a public space, and hence accessible by anyone interested in finding it.

Here are a few conversation hashtags that I follow via Twitter, and which would be completely unmanageable in an email setting:

#protectresearch : political conversation around maintaining/improving public funding for science

#scio13 : science communication conversations around the ScienceOnline conference and related topics

#seemyscience : denoting photographs and commentary of the day to day practice of scientific research

Twitter. I recommend it.

[image thanks to SrLigYnnek on flickr]

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