Tweeting as a personal backchannel

I tried something “new” this past week and I’m surprised I didn’t think of doing it sooner.

I sat in on one of the many workshops we run for our Instructor cadre. Because I have an interest in the coaching function I decided it might prove interesting.

Because I already had Twitter open, instead of using something like Evernote directly, i thought, ‘why not make use of Twitter?’ I could jot down a few notes and add a hashtag and keep going.

While not a quantum shift, it is a potentially disruptive innovation in note-taking. In the same way that conference note-taking has become a public-facing backchannel, my approach opened up a generic topic to outside query or sharing. I liked the fact that I was immediately forced into a concise summary mode with 140 characters and because I have the RSS feed for my Twitter account saving to my Google Reader, the tweets are auto-archived. If I had also added the @myEN tag, I could have also saved critical tweets to Evernote (something I do when I save critical Tweets in my regular feed)

The one challenge with using Twitter is, of course, the hashtags. Because they are unregulated, you have to take come care with selecting one for your own use. One risk you also run is the relatively new technique of hashtag spamming. Some popular tags (e.g. #lrnchat) are now flooded with spam, rendering them largely unusable.

The final consideration in this technique is the material being discussed. A personal backchannel is good but consider whether or not you’re potentially disclosing information that should remain behind company doors. If that’s the case, tools like Yammer may be more appropriate than Twitter.

As with any other backchannel, it’s only worthwhile if you actually do something with the information. In my case Ie put together an internal summary for my colleague who was facilitating.

I’d be interested to hear of anyone else has tried this approach and what they thought.

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CSTD Workshop – Tom Gram

(Tom Gram is a Sr. Consultant with Global Knowledge Canada)

Tom’s session was designed to shed some new light on the concept of “practice makes perfect” and bringing along the concept of the “expert” and what role that individual can play in supporting increased proficiency. The root research into expertise was conducted by Anders Ericsson (The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance).
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CSTD Day 2 Keynote – Steven Berlin Johnson

I didn’t take a lot of notes for this talk because it was a little more of a history lesson on the nature of innovation and how it has evolved over the last few centuries. Content was drawn largely from his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The natural history of Innovation”.

One of the early threads of his discussion was the evolution of one entity into another wholly unexpected one because of a user-driven innovation (e.g. Lloyd’s of London evolving from coffee house popular with 18th century ship captains to Insurance conglomerate).
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CSTD Day 1 Workshop – Harold Jarche

(Harold Jarche is Chairman of the Internet Time Alliance)

The focus of Harold’s session is on Social Learning and what this concept means to the world of Learning & Development. I’ve already had the opportunity to attend one of his PKM workshops, and I’m already a bit of a practitioner, but he’s always worth seeing. Having said that, Harold’s approach is somewhat eclectic and draws from a variety of disciplines and sources. If you don’t pay attention to what’s going on it might be easy to lose the thread of the discussion. That’s not a criticism, per se, just an observation.
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CSTD Day 1 Workshop – Gary Woodill

I tweeted a lot from this session so I’ll have to do some digging to sort out some of the finer details after the fact, but I’ll add these thoughts in long form here. For context purposes, Gary Woodill is a veteran of the industry, and an author, speaker, researcher, and blogger.

Gary opened his talk by touching on some key points with respect to our access to information and how we deal with the sheer volume. I see this topic as being closely tied to what Harold Jarche talked about in his PKM workshop so I was keen to hear what Gary had to say.
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CSTD Day 3 Keynote – Etienne Wenger-Trayner

Etienne Wenger-Trainer literally wrote the book on Communities of Practice. He describes himself as a marriage counselor for CoP.

These communities exist across sectors even though we may not be aware of them. Knowledge is social and it represents a fundamental human property. In an ideal world, knowledge is the property of a community because knowledge is rarely created in a vacuum.
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