Friday Five: 2017’s best blog posts

It’s time for the annual look back at the year’s blog post and re-share the ones that gained the most interest.

Here are the top five, as judged by pageviews. Continue reading “Friday Five: 2017’s best blog posts”

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16 tweets that defined my 2016

Twitter's analytics dashboard offers a month-by-month view of activity.
Twitter’s analytics dashboard offers a month-by-month view of activity.

Thanks to Twitter’s analytics tools, users can take a look at their top tweets, top mentions, top followers and other vanityesque metrics (which, we’re told, can be dangerous if misused or misinterpreted). It’s a fun stroll down a virtual memory lane. It’s also instructive, as it provides some indication of what got traction in the ephemeral social mediasphere, and perhaps offers some clues as to why. Continue reading “16 tweets that defined my 2016”

Twitter at 10: I still #LoveTwitter

I #LoveTwitter so much, I even love the #failwhale
I #LoveTwitter so much, I even love the #failwhale (my 2009 Halloween costume)

Happy birthday, Twitter! The social media platform is 10 years old today, but Twitter kicked off the celebration early with this tweet and video on Sunday.

Over the past 24 hours, the love for Twitter has been pouring in from all across the globe in the form of tweets, articles and blog posts. I’m happy to see this, because Twitter has taken more than its fair share of grief over the past few months. Some people aren’t crazy about how Twitter has tweaked its timeline. Investors want to see more growth. And Twitter’s toying with the idea of expanding the character count from 140 to 10,000 has irked many users, including me.

I haven’t been with Twitter since the get-go. (Few people have.) But I signed up in September 2007 — so I’ve been on the platform for eight-plus of its 10 years. I’ve remained fairly active as a Twitter user, mainly because it remains my go-to learning network. It’s also been a way of connecting with many people I’ve never met in real life but feel like I know. Sometimes, those online connections lead to offline meetups, which is always great because I feel like I know some people — or something about those people — before I ever really meet them.

I think Lance Ulanoff best describes how I feel about Twitter in his Mashable article on the platform’s 10th anniversary:

My relationship with Twitter is best summarized as the kind you have with a sibling. I love it, deeply, but also question its choices. I can be vocal in both my admiration and my dissatisfaction. Yet, at the end of the day, we’re tied together.

 

On meeting some friends for the first time

The end of September marked my seven-year anniversary on Twitter. Perhaps not coincidentally, the anniversary occurred on the first day of the 2014 Aggregate Conference, which I was fortunate enough to attend at the invitation of a long-time social networking pal, Ron Bronson, who curated this wonderful little conference.

Ron and I go way back, in Internet years.

Not long after I started this blog in 2005, our digital paths crossed somewhere and we started sharing ideas online about higher ed, digital culture, books and our mutual love of music. (The higher ed blogging community was pretty small back then.) We shared ideas via comments on each other’s blogs. I’d read something on Ron’s blog that would spark my interest, and occasionally I would riff on his idea, if not outright pilfer it.

Eventually more of the discussion moved to Twitter and Facebook.  A few years ago, I had an idea to pull together a group of fellow music lovers from the higher ed sphere (there are many of us out there) to create a collaborative group for online music discussion. Ron was one of the first I contacted, even though we don’t always agree on what constitutes good music. But that’s part of the fun of it. I get to learn about new music from Ron, and maybe he even learns something from me in return.

Through the years and the digital ether, Ron and I became friends. But I’d never met Ron, person-to-person, until the Aggregate Conference last Sunday. I met a lot of other longtime social media friends that night and throughout the conference, too.

I’ve written before in this space about how Twitter is my go-to learning network. The people and organizations that I follow are founts of knowledge. We have some great discussions on that network and exchange ideas about all sorts of topics. I think Twitter has made me smarter, thanks to the people I’ve learned from there.

It’s also expanded my network of friends, many of whom I’ve never met in the flesh. That was the case with Ron and several others at the conference — too many to list here.

But there are still many more friends I haven’t yet met in the flesh whom I’ve gotten to know through Twitter. It’s a very cool thing. It’s also kind of weird. But sometimes, cool and weird work out.