A Multidimensional Thread

1.  (Almost) Quantitative Discourse Analysis. Two days, five participants, four article links, three attached images, three hashtags, and at least 11 educational researchers and theoretical frameworks. 
That’s one way of assessing (describing, documenting) the Twitter conversation that @bali_maha, @catherinecronin, @suzankoseoglu, @sarspri, and  had between February 15 and February 17, 2015, a conversation that has been Storified and can be found below.

Or I could read it another way:

2. (Informal) Quantitative Content Analysis. Two dissertations, one laundry and LGBT reference each, one religiously motivated pancake dinner, and one desperate graduate student who locked herself in the attic.

Ok. Interesting. Or this way:

3.  Casual Autoethnography (or possibly just a reflective pause).  Over the last two days, I took part in a complex, multi-branching, multidimensional Twitter thread with three women I know (via Twitter or Google Hangouts) and one who I have just met.

I learned from the content of what we explored in the thread.  We touched on aspects of collaboration/cooperation, virtual identity, social learning, Schon’s reflection (strategic or otherwise), active and experiential learning, open education, the role of blogging, assumptional frameworks, and role of instructors in developing pre-service teachers’ teaching philosophies.

But I often learn while on Twitter, so what makes this different?

We were real people talking about scholarship in a virtual space.  Sounds obvious, but I’ve talked about Twitter personas before and I feel like we were exactly what I want to be on Twitter.  We not only talked about frameworks but we did it while bringing in the artifacts of our individual worlds.  There were acknowledgements of our time zones, evening plans, deadlines, and to-do lists.  By bringing in our own artifacts, it made the shared experience feel more real, warm, congenial, and it validated my ongoing hypothesis that I can be a scholar and a woman and a mother and a friend all at the same time.  In fact being all those other things makes me a more approachable and therefore better scholar.

Also, we were working different topics (identity, social learning, etc) in different branches but at the same time.  I find this is common on Twitter, particularly when conversational energy goes up even if only two people are involved.  This conversational energy does not collapse well into a single timeline.  If you read the Storify below and you are unfamiliar with the ways of Twitter, I bet you might comment on the chaos of the chain. “How can you keep track?” you might ask. “How could this possibly be better than reading or sitting in a classroom?”  But when you are living it, it feels more like sitting in a surround sound chamber.  This conversation had a beautiful noise and if you held your head just right you could feel it hum.  And it wasn’t confusing at all because it felt alive, just like real life.

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