Fast Company

The Latest in Learning Fast: edu-Twittering

A decade ago the hot app on everyone's desktop was PointCast, a personalized headline service of content emblazoned across your screensaver through a pre-RSS feed. No typing required, no link to click through. While on the phone or talking with a colleague at your desk you could glean the day's hot news or gather learning-bites you subscribed to receive. Downtime be damned.

Before overloading corporate servers and attention spans, it catalyzed an international conversation about new ways to deliver information and help people learn. A little push, a little pull.

Twit ahead to today, and hyper-connected status updates fill the tiny spaces in our days like expanding foam sealant.

Why not augment the question, "What Are You Doing?" with "What Are You Learning?" or even "What Can Others Learn From?"

Imagine the potential for discovery if the people who you follow through Twitter or any social-network status updates rounded out their contributions with something educational. Learning would zing wild and flow free.

Here's how you can help.

1. Add news-to-use. If you micromessage personal feelings ala "... is feeling lazy tonight," add something for the rest of us like, "Pizza at BestPitza on Sole Rd saved the night." Even 1000 miles away, I might tuck away the tip and think to myself, "Lazy and clever" rather than "Lazy and wasting my time."
2. Provoke us. Howard Rheingold recently wrote, " Excessive texting may signal mental illness." I enjoyed seeing what Howard's reads, and the article itself reframed my thinking about IM.
3. Promote something special. Two films on my go-see list came from recommendations by people who I rarely talk with about movies. "Saw Making Trouble tonight. Good film, well done."
4. Inspire us. An amazing friend uses her lines for gems like, " choosing conviction over convenience." Reminds me to sit up a bit straighter and do the hard work.
5. Ask for advice. I recently saw this plea for assistance. "looking for a great job. mine's a dud. if you know something I should pursue, tell me quickly."

Let's just avoid calling it twLearning.

I challenge everyone who reads this to try edu-twittering for a week. Tell us here you're on board. We'll learn together what happens.


Marcia L. Conner >>

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  • Madalyn Sklar

    Great post, Maria. I couldn't agree with you more. I love "What Are You Learning?" or "What Can Others Learn From?" Thanks for your insight.

  • Marcia Conner

    10 months later it seems this edutwittering focus has finally caught on. If you have room, consider tagging your tweets intended to be education, informative, or just plain learning-oriented #edu. It will help all of us search through the masses for the learning gems.

    Marcia Conner > > www.twitter/marciamarcia

  • David Lamp

    Marcia struck a resonant chord with me on this--just "looking" isn't half as valuable as "learning" if we are to create the teams we need to live far from the edge of equilibrium. I'm in...

    Dave Lamp