ias13 Twitter assignments

Intro to the Twitter Assignments

Blogging is when people publish their ideas for a (mostly) unknown audience in posts of any length. Twittering (or micro-blogging) is when people publish their ideas in a much shorter format to a (mostly) known audience. The Twitter tweet (the name of each post) is 140 characters long. Just as with blogging, one cannot fully grasp the medium without engaging with it. So, we are going to engage it over the course of the semester by using it, first, as a way to engage our readings outside of class and, second, as a way of furthering our awareness of public discussions of topics related to information architecture. These connections will lead us to learning more about our topic from more diverse means than we could have ever thought. It will also provide us with the opportunity to interview someone associated with our research topic (a requirement of the assignment).

So, to get this project under way, we are going to complete the following:

  • create a Twitter account that is not anonymous and has as short a username as possible (short usernames save precious characters; just as with Facebook, Twitter values authenticity; you will not gain followers and people will not let you follow them without authenticity; if you already have a Twitter account with an pseudonym for your username be sure your real name is associated with the account)
  • create a professional bio that locates you as a researcher writing an article about your topic and a grad student
  • make your account open for anyone to follow; having a locked account essentially tells your audience that you would rather not know who they are and results in them not requesting the your follow approval (if you are concerned about spam and/or who is following, in the Settings enable the option to get an email whenever you have a new follower; this will allow you to see when someone follows and to Block them if necessary)
  • add a link to your research blog
  • add a photo of yourself or something that you feel represents you or your project in some way
  • follow @billwolff, Writing Arts professor @jcourtzy, and everyone in the class
  • Any tweet that is about class in any way should include the #inarchs13 hashtag.

Part 1: Live-Tweeting Readings

(This portion of the assignment is stolen and modified from Mark Sample at George Mason University, who stole it from Zach Whalen at the University of Mary Washington.)

Reading is often perceived as a solitary experience but in our networked society it need not be. In order to help us all engage with the texts outside of class, and create a collective experience of our reading, I would like you to “live tweet” as you read, posting to Twitter whatever comes to your mind as you read the texts. By “whatever comes to your mind” I mean things that are about the text itself. Try to limit tweets like, “This article is boring. #yawn,” as such tweets will make to look foolish and show little thought about the text itself. You should @reply to other class members frequently so that we can begin discussions about the texts outside of the classroom and then continue those discussions when we meet in the classroom. Add the #inarchs13 hashtag to all readings “live tweets.”

There is no required number of tweets to tweet as you read, but it is expected that each text should garner many tweets. The more you tweet your readings and work the more engaged the class can and will become in a dialogue outside the class. Do, however, be sure to make it clear which reading you’re tweeting about. This can be done in the content of the tweet or by using a hashtag for an author’s name (such as #tufte), and so on. This is important because we want to be sure we know which text you’re tweeting about.

You may also consider referencing the authors in your tweets. For example, Edward Tufte is on Twitter @edwardtufte. Mentioning him in tweets about his book could result in a response. Search for our authors to see if they are on Twitter and if so, mention them if you want.

Begin live-tweeting readings and work starting with readings for week 2 and continuing throughout the semester.

A note on tweeting in class: I am a big proponent of students tweeting during class, but only if the class size is large enough to support some students tweeting class discussions and others engaging in the discussion. Because there are (at the time of writing) only 6 students in this section of Information Architecture, I’d like you to keep tweeting during class to an absolute minimum so the in-class discussion has everyone’s full attention.

Part 2: Information Architecture Mondays (#iamondays)

Starting the Monday of the second week of class (January 28) I’d like each student to tweet links to 5 different articles, blog posts, or other writings, that in some way discuss, cover, illustrate, or further the ideas we are talking about in class. The whole article down not have to be on the subject of information architecture; rather, the article can have a visual that enhances the article and illustrates, say, mapping. These tweets should contain the hashtags #inarchs13 and #iamondays.

There are several goals for this part of the Twitter assignment:

  • to show the immediacy of the topics were are discussing in class
  • to engage with the class ideas outside of class
  • to provide material for that week’s blog post (see the blogging assignment)

To find your articles, do not merely search “information architecture.” Think about the topics that are discussed in the readings and search for them. Or, you may do some research on the author and link to something else they have written. Don’t shy away from scholarly articles, as well, which you can find on Google Scholar. The more nuanced and engaging the text you link to the most useful and effective it will be for class.

You might also consider setting of a Google Email Alert for one of several topics that interest you so you can be alerted when something is published.

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