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Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 15 years, 1 month ago

Now that we’ve spent some time discussing media systems that are partially connected and incomplete, we’re going to start experimenting one that is radically connective: Twitter. Twitter is essentially a blogging platform. Its basic prompt is the question, “What are you doing?” People all around the world are constantly posting what they’re doing on Twitter. It's something like your status on Facebook but with a peculiar feature: you’re only allowed to post entries that are 140 characters long.


Why this particular length? Well, Twitter was designed to work through cell phone text messaging. You can not only update Twitter from your phone, but you can "follow" people on Twitter and they can follow you. Updates come to your phone (or online) instantly. You get real time updates from your peers and others you are interested in knowing what they are doing.


What’s the purpose of this assignment? Along with just playing with (in Moulthrop's sense) an important, emergent social media tool, I'm interested for all of us to use an interconnected, mixed media system and to see if it changes the culture or society of the class in any appreciable way.


The Assignment

  1. Register for Twitter by 31 October at 5pm.
  2. Follow me, the class account, and the other members of the class (who will be identifiable by those who are following the class account).
    • On any individual’s page, you can choose to follow that person. The option is right beneath his, her, or its picture/image. Click on that button. You can then choose if you want to receive device updates from that individual.
    • Optional (the others are required): Find some other interesting people to follow: barackobama, marshallmcluhan, hotdogsladies (Web humorist and blogger, Merlin Mann). You can also follow different services to get updates from them, like CNN or PMOG.
  3. Post at least ONCE per day from 31 October until 30 November. (To make this perhaps even easier, you might consider using the Twitter application on Facebook.)
  4. If possible connect your cell phone to Twitter (see here) to get real-time updates or to post on the go. While you don't need to have phone updates on for the whole time, I do expect you to use them for 5-10 of the people you follow from November 4-6.
    • It is important to note: Text messaging fees will apply to posting to or receiving updates from Twitter on your phone. I don’t want anyone going to any great expense for this assignment. If you don’t have unlimited text messaging, I’ll expect you to still use Twitter from your phone for 3 days (from November 4-6). You do not need to receive updates on your phone from everyone in the class, but you should follow 5-10 people for this time.
  5. At the end of the Twitter assignment, you will write me a quick 1-2 page evaluation of this assignment. Moreover, what do you see Twitter teaching us about community, our class, and--of course--media?
  6. This evaluation and the whole of the Twitter assignment will be graded on the same basis as summaries: in other words, if you make an honest effort to play along, you will get full credit. Your written response is due December 2 in class.


Other interesting ways to use Twitter.

  1. There are a number of desktop applications. A popular one for Mac OS X is Twitterific. Twitterific is also available as a free application for iPhone or iPod Touch. Another good desktop application (and the one that I use as it is cross-platform) is Twhirl. Installing Twhirl will require you to also install Adobe's AIR platform. It's lightweight and free.
  2. You can sync your Twitter updates to your Facebook status and vice versa. Just install the Twitter application on Facebook.
  3. The Twitter election feed is a real-time update of what people are "tweeting" insofar as it's related to particular words that have been identified as being related to the election. It's a bit addicting to watch.
  4. Use your cell phone camera in conjunction with Twitpic.
  5. I’ve been known to send out extra credit opportunities in Twitter messages.


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