the relationship between tweet and blog

As an early adopter of both blogging and Twitter, I feel that these two mediums complement each other quite well, especially in terms of self-promotion, although it’s been clear that my tweeting has often led to a complete disregard and neglect of my blog. See “Is Twitter a Blog Breaker or a Blog Builder” for more on this, though the key argument is well-stated by Nancy Baym:

Twitter is about banter. That banter is the best part. I’ve written this blog for a few years and I’ve talked to lots of bloggers. Getting people to post comments is hard. Getting conversation going is harder. The majority of things I write here get no response at all. On Twitter I don’t get responses to everything I say, but I sure get a lot more fast feedback than I do here. It’s also a lot easier to make a quick response to someone else — much more so than commenting on a blog post, especially if, like me, you read your blogs through an RSS reader. That back and forth makes me want to keep participating in Twitter. In comparison, blogging feels like a solitary endevour.

Still without Twitter I wouldn’t really get the chance to see some of the longer thoughts published. I’m awful at checking my RSS feeds and, by nature, am a very impatient person. That’s why I like the speed of Twitter and it’s tiny urls and re-tweeting. Here are some of my latest finds–all great blog posts about teaching with Twitter and how social networks are changing our language:

Devon’s response to the Time magazine article on Twitter

Bill’s look at using Twitter in the graduate classroom

USA Today’s examination on the art of writing on Facebook and Twitter

This last one is great for me to use in my own teaching of writing b/c it points out how “Funny, clever and sassy updates and tweets stand out because they are the exception.” So far I haven’t pushed my students to be creative in their posts, but I will be asking for more quality over quantity in the Fall. Even though it’s informal writing, I want them to use it to keep the attention of their audience [fellow students and me] in addition to their own reflections and quick note-taking.

When I write up new evaluation standards, I’ll post them here.


light as air


As I type this I’m waiting for the Fed Ex truck to arrive with my new lil mac. Unfortunately, I won’t be opening the box and getting straight to work/play. Yesterday’s Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference announced many changes and upgrades as well as reduced prices. I immediately turned to my Twitter network and asked: “so if i just ordered a mac AIR and it’s on its way via Fed Ex, can i exchange it for the more powerful one at a cheaper price? #apple”

Here are some of the helpful replies I received:

So with all that great advice, I’m waiting to get the box, seeing which version they sent me, then calling the closest Mac store in Roseville, MN and seeing if I can bring it in for an exchange!

Thanks tweeple!


love Federer

I’ve never picked up a racket, but somehow got in to watching tennis when I was young. I had the teenage crush on Andre Agassi and then fell for this young Swiss, Roger.

I couldn’t be more happy for him as now he’s finally won the French Open and joins Pete Sampras on a record 14 grand-slam titles.



musical heroes

Somehow think I’m co-opting the term “hero” for what is actual fandom, but who cares!

The Pet Shop Boys are heroes of mine because they continue to impress me with intellectual lyrics and catchy melodies. Their latest album, Yes, is the first once since Very that I HAVE to play over and over again, which makes me quite excited about their upcoming USA tour. And there in lies the rub–the blessed boys have chosen tour dates and cities that are most inconvenient to the start of an academic year, but I’m somehow going to make it work!

I’ve seen them 5 times already, all with my PSB partner in crime, Joe G, and we’re not going to let work schedules and real life responsibility get in our way now! LOL.

Here’s their brief interview and full performance of “Love, ETC” on the Graham Norton show.


more teaching with Twitter

A supplement to my post from earlier this week, with the full write up available here.

This is great to have now b/c my summer ENG 101 course starts on Monday and after watching this video students will be able to see how, while it can get “messy”, using Twitter during our short semester will allow for more dialogue and exchange of resources, not to mention improve their writing, e.g. vocabulary and diction.


Twitter in Time


Without these guys, I’d not have much to talk about these days.

As someone I’m following on Twitter said today, “wow…Time magazine actually *gets* Twitter. how odd.” But they do get it, and this statement from Steven Johnson’s essay “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” says it all: “In short, the most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it’s doing to us. It’s what we’re doing to it.”

If you take a look at the report I posted yesterday to my Twitter Research page, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many different ways students used it to get answers, take notes, talk to one another, get to know me as more than a teacher-bot, etc. I witnessed many conversations between students asking for additional peer reviews & help with converting files from DOCX to PDF. They turned to Twitter rather than email or the D2L discussion forums, and I can only speculate that with ever-growing awareness and use of Twitter, my students will continue to create uses and make meaning, in 140-characters or less.


Carolyn Ellis + autoethnography

A true hero of mine, and former prof, Carolyn Ellis, has been on my mind lately b/c I’m re-working the third chapter of my dissertation. This is going to be the longest one b/c of its defining of methods and then the data itself. I’ve been moving a lot of information around but I believe I’ve finally found a logical way to discuss both digital writing research (or virtual ethnography) and autoethnography:

I feel being a digital writing researcher complements autoethnographic studies since both push the primary investigator to find new ways of understanding. As the edited collection Digital Writing Research contends, “Because of the complexity of researching in digitized spaces…researchers should ‘embrace working across methodological interfaces’, pursuing multiple methodologies while continually engaging in critical, reflexive practices” (McKee and DeVoss 17). “Doing digital research is not merely a matter of shipping old methods and methodologies to a new research locale” (Porter, “Foreword” xvi), which echoes Ellis’s definition of autoethnographic approaches as ones that “do no follow a rigid list of rule-based procedures” (16). The interdisciplinary nature of the Internet engages scholars in innovative ways, and learning to both approach research subjects and collect data requires new techniques.

I will share more about my use of a wiki to collect my interactive interview data as I polish up the profiles of my participants this week and next, but for now I wanted to link to Jeffrey Keefer’s live blog post about Carolyn’s latest book, Revision. I haven’t finished reading all of it, but the opening chapters have been quite helpful to turn to the past 2 weeks. It’s reminded me of being in her classroom at USF and how the best [in terms of emotionality and story] writing I did in my PhD program was in her course, rather than the many literature and rhetoric courses I took!



Being that it’s June 1st and I’ve neglected my blog for too long, I’ve decided to attempt completing NaBloPoMo this month. The theme is “heroes,” which should tie in with my dissertation writing about Hurricane Katrina survivor bloggers, right?

To get the ball rolling I thought I would share a story that’s got a few people I know outraged. This story “Will Smith to play Katrina hero John Keller in Sony Pictures release” ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune the other day and I immediately got a phone call from my friend Rudy who was also on the roof of the American Can Co. apt building during Hurricane Katrina. Like the author of the letter to the editor I’m pasting in below, Rudy is vehemently against the hero-ization of this John Keller. He didn’t save anyone & Will Smith, Hollywood and the world need to know that!

Katrina story turns a tragedy into a cartoon
Saturday, May 30, 2009

Perhaps you have heard of a recent memoir whose central premise was two lovers who kissed through a concentration camp fence, later exposed as a complete fabrication, with actual Holocaust survivors understandably furious.

Ultimately, John Keller, the “hero” of American Can Co., will be exposed as such a character. I wish you would stop perpetuating his story.
For starters: There was no 11 feet of water in the American Can. At its deepest point, in the deepest part of the street outside, the water was perhaps 6 feet deep. Water was only ankle deep at best in the lobby. Which isn’t to say it didn’t suck. But when you exaggerate, all can be called into question. Why not throw in some snakes and alligators?

Mr. Keller claims he saved “244” folks. If you did the research you would find there were maybe 400 people stuck in the building — and that seems generous — which would mean this guy personally saved two-thirds of them. His only impressive feat is getting his yarn so far up the Hollywood food chain.

I was at American Can. I couldn’t have picked this man from a lineup without looking at his picture in the paper. Why? Because while he may have been assisting a handful of people in some wing of the building, the rest of us were doing the same with whoever was within our radius.

I don’t want the horror of my Katrina experience turned into a cartoon. The cartoon of “Col. Keller, the One-Man Calvary, Saves the Day!”

There were many quiet and humble heroes from those times, unlike the boastful and self-aggrandizing Mr. Keller.

Brett Evans
New Orleans