Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finally: I am Twittering (and Why This Could Be Important for You)

First time I heard about Twitter was during during my first Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, back in April 2007. At that time, I had such a steep learning curve that I wasn't able to understand at all what this was all about. And I did not know anybody how twittered (except all these bright and intelligent geeks at the conference). At the Nexus for Change Meeting in Bowling Green Ohio, March 2008, I met Nancy White who told me that she was twittering all the time. Now, Nancy is my ultimate heroe when it comes to virtual collaboration. So, I thought, there must be something about it. I subscribed to the service but for 9 months, Nancy was the only person I knew who had a twitter account. It was a bit for me like only two fax machines existed in the world - and I could only send faxes to Nancy and nobody else.

My colleague Pascal came to my rescue and introduced Twitter to our network. Within two weeks, I had more than 20 people to follow on their tweeds (Twitter feeds). For those who haven't heard about it: Twitter is a microblog system that allows you to send up to 140 character messages to those people who have subscribed to your tweeds (feeds). You can send it via Internet using your computer or your mobile.

Now, most people think that Twitter is something that the world doesn't need at all. Telling all your friends what you are eating right now is maybe not really of interest to them (or maybe it is). However, I see a lot of applications of Twitter in the practice of organization development and for campaigning for a cause. Take, for example the president-elect. Barack Obama used Twitter to update the wider public but in particular his campaign team.

I believe the real power of this application could be in organizations to connect communities if practice and project teams. Change managers can inform people in their organizations very quickly on the status of their change projects. Pressure groups can converge decentralized information on any topic to an editorial team - or just to the rest of their. Plenty of other opportunities...

Check my tweeds.

1 comment:

  1. Holger, the value hit me squarely between the eyes in two sets of circumstances.

    1. Connect to the network you are interested in and you will learn a lot. I have a lot of "edubloggers" in my twitter network who are amazingly brilliant and have an attitude of sharing what they know AND sharing the questions they are wondering about. This two sided practice in a network environment creates heaps of learning and connection

    2. Breaking news, especially disasters -- the first news lately is coming on twitter. I was better able to track the recent Santa Barbara (California/USA) fires (where my brother lives) on Twitter than I could through any mainstream news outlet. Amazing

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