Note: This post was originally written for Howard Rheingold’s Intro to Mind Amplifiers course.
As I reflect on my infotention skills, I immediately think of my Twitter activities. As I mentioned in the forums, I purposely did not include my social media activities in my Netvibes dashboard because 1) I didn’t want Facebook interfering with my work feeds and 2) the Netvibes Twitter widget cannot handle my Twitter usage.
I use Twitter all-day and everyday. It’s a way for me to participate in various communities and discussions that are pertinent to my research and teaching, and I use Twitter to engage with other colleagues in my discipline. Below is a screen capture of five of many columns I usually have open in TweetDeck. This Twitter client allows me to manage many different information streams or, as I like to call them, knowledge cannons because Twitter almost hurls information at you.
In essence, I have two infotention dashboards: my Netvibes dashboard and my TweetDeck dashboard. The most prominent feature I like about Twitter is the ability to enact a narrative and engage in conversation and discussions almost instantly. In addition, I participate in weekly Twitter chats (#phdchat and #fycchat), and I use TweetChat, a client allowing you to focus on one hashtag, to focus my attention on that weekly chat while keeping TweetDeck open.
However, navigating Twitter requires a knowledge or familiarity with 21st century literacies. I have found Howard’s Twitter Literacy piece brilliant when it comes to understanding Twitter, and I have often used his piece in my courses to introduce students to Twitter. While it is true that the way in which information is hurled at us is amplified in the digital age, I think that Twitter increases the amplification because information is streamed in real-time and updated constantly. It can be overwhelming, but it can also be relaxing (at least for me!) as I let the information wash over me.
I have screened captured and annotated my current TweetDeck view; it appears below.