Why hello again. It’s been about two weeks, and I can’t believe it is almost the middle of November. I have even started seeing Commonsgiving ads (next Wednesday Nov. 20, everyone).
Okay, let’s talk about Twitter.
Love it or hate it, I must admit that the kinds of networks and connections it allows for is quite amazing.
As a backstory, it is actually a part of my job to tweet. Yes, I actually get paid to be on Twitter (in part). When I first learned this, I couldn’t get over how cool it was. Since Twitter is part of my digital identity, and cultivating our digital identities is an important part of our goals as a team, I am encouraged to thoughtfully build it— which includes my Twitter network and presence.
Sundi also introduced me to Tweetdeck. Basically, it allows me to filter through hundreds of users whose tweets I may or may not want to see to instead show me in columns all the tweets of only those things I really care about— without having to search for them every time. (Not to mention, it also gets rid of all the “promoted” ads guised as regular tweets cluttering up my feed every two finger scrolls).
Despite all of this, I never really made good use of my Twitter account or Tweetdeck until this week. I just didn’t really think Twitter was for me, except for once-in-a-blue-moon, really-need-to-connect-with-someone kind of stuff.
Sundi and Daniel have talked about how useful Twitter can be for networks and communities, but I still didn’t see how those could connect to me. I am really interested in traditional Islamic literature, and I already knew from previous searching that the couple of philosophers and thinkers I absolutely admired were not on Twitter.
Because of that, I had kind of given up searching for any communities before I really even began.
Thankfully, that changed when I mentioned my new blog I had been working on to Sundi. When she encouraged me to share my posts with an audience perhaps through Twitter, I was initially pretty reluctant.
Who would want to read my stuff? Why would anyone care? Did I even want people to read it? Why put it out there?
After talking it over more, Sundi helped me see the notion of putting my work out there NOT as “fishing for an audience,” but rather sharing with those from whom I would want feedback to grow in my own writing.
In that moment I realized that I actually really did feel alone in my blog reflections and would really appreciate being in tune with the thoughts of those I respected and admired, like my professors and other scholars, and also of even just grad students or others who cared about similar topics or were reading the same works I was summarizing in my blog.
So…I went out and did some more thoughtful digging. I looked up related authors. I looked up web designers. I looked up journals and students. I searched hashtags.
I haven’t found the perfect niche just yet, but I did find a really good starting point, and I certainly found some chirps from communiTweets that intrigue me. I followed them and added a couple to my tweetdeck. It just took a little bit of research.
One is @RenovatioOnline , which is an active journal publication of Zaytuna College— a Muslim liberal arts college dedicated to the Islamic scholarly tradition and the other is @zeldman— a famous designer who tweets good design resources and reads frequently.
All of this is to say, I super underrated Twitter and I was wrong. I realize now that it can be an awesome, open, and useful tool for learning and growth for anyone in any kind of community, really. After some searching, I finally feel like I have connected with meaningful communities to me, and it’s really nice to not feel so alone online. I’ve found flocks. I hope you will too.
I’ll see ya again in two weeks.