Twitter and the FutureLibCon

Last Thursday afternoon, while part of my brain was preparing for the National Educational Technology Plan Public Forum that night, another part of my brain was thoroughly engaged in the Eric Dey keynote for the FutureLibCon series on social computing.


Eric was unable to complete the journey here in a way that would allow him to attend, but the co-presenters (Chris Chapman and Marc Stephens) had Eric’s slides and his notes, and built off of these to do a wonderful job of engaging the audience in a really dynamic conversation and learning experience. I ended up quoting some of the conversation from the FutLibCon during the NETP forum, because it was so incredibly relevant.

Before the presentation started, Marc had set up a second screen with a Twitter visualization tool that displayed tweets from a given hashtag with a variety on screen at the same time in boxy text bubbles, with randomly selected tweets growing big and then shrinking again. This was pretty engaging for at least some of the audience, having the back chat available on screen during the talk. With two speakers it meant that interesting questions that appeared in backchat could be addressed in realtime during the talk without requiring the person at the podium to be the one tracking the second screem. I have had no luck tracking down this particular tool, but while I was hunting, I did reacquaint myself with some old Twitter tool friends and find some new-to-me twitter visualization tools of varying utility.

The only tool I could find that would have worked for engaging a live audience with their own charm and cleverness is VisibleTweets. It only shows one tweet at a time, and has transitions between tweets. The problem for using it during a presentation is that the message is obscured during the animation and people have to actually pay attention to the animation to see what is being said, which distracts from the actual presentation. With the tool Marc used, you can occasionally take a quick glance, see what is happening, and return your attention to the presenter.

Twitter Visualizations: FutLibCon
Visible Tweets:

Twitter StreamGraphs is not useful as a support for a presentation, but is very useful in tracking discussion over time. In this image it is very clear that this was a short one-time event and not an ongoing conversation. It does a nice job of pulling out what the audience thought were the most important concepts: tools, 2nd life / virtual, Dewey, education / teacher, social / cooperation, change.

Twitter Visualizations: FutLibCon
Twitter StreamGraphs:

Social Collider “reveals cross-connections between conversations on Twitter.” Which explains in part why it is the only visualization tool shown here that supplies a visualization crossing several days for an event that was two hours long. This is probably the most lovely and least useful of the visualization tools I tried. It took a lot of finagling to get it to actually render an image, and the image kept having large chunks disappear. I am guessing that it might be more robust with a different browser or platform, since the ability to interact with it and drill in to see what words / people / concepts were connecting didn’t seem to work for me in Safari on a Macintosh.

Twitter Visualizations: FutLibCon
Social Collider:

People are doing some surprising things using Twitter as either a content source or a data source. This one is the latter – Tori’s Eye allows you to define a tag or a term, searches for that, and the frequency of the term determines the density of origami birds flying across the screen. Really. Not very productive, but I do love origami.

Twitter Visualizations: FutLibCon
Tori’s Eye:

Flowing Data: 17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe:

At long last I came up with the idea of searching instead of through Twitter visualization tools, looking for hashtag presentation tools. Aha!

Event Manager Blog: How to Visualize Twitter at Events:

Speaking about Presenting: 10 Tools for Presenting with Twitter:

I finally found the tool Marc had used – Wiffiti! I think the name is supposed to be a blend of wiki and graffiti, but it makes me think of WiFi, so part of me wants to call it why-feet-ee, and another part tries to say whiff-ee-tee. Still, this was pretty nice exactly for beingn incredibly slow about refreshing the selection of tweets. During the presentation, it typically took 6-15 minutes for a tweet to show up on screen, which frustrated the audience and impaired the sense of real time interaction.

Twitter Visualization: FutLibCon - Wifitti

However, once the events are over, for general utility and metrics, it all comes down to my number one favorite Twitter tool – What the Hashtag.

Twitter Visualization: FutLibCon - WTHashtag
What the Hashtag: FutLibCon:

WTH provides detailed metrics on who is using the hashtag, a distribution of frequency, other metrics, and best of all, a complete transcript of the relevant tweets in the correct time sequence, while most Twitter tools give the tweets in reverse chronological order as they would appear in Twitter itself. This makes the following possible – the transcript of the FutLibCon event as viewed via audience tweets.

November 5, 2009
12:40 pm Wrenaissance: Next session: faculty-student conversation #futlibcon
12:40 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon at event, forgot my mac so tweeting slowly fr phone
12:48 pm Wrenaissance: What do think about when you hear “social networking” #futlibcon
12:50 pm Wrenaissance: Web as platform, collective intelligence, #futlibcon
12:50 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon Eric Dey is speaker, delayed. @marquea2 & chapman doing heroic job filling in
12:52 pm Wrenaissance: #futlibcon. Make sure the social media train doesn’t derail you.
12:53 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon bmacadam has gd idea – think of socmed in ed as matrix
12:54 pm Wrenaissance: John not Melville at good time charlie’s #futlibcon
12:58 pm britain: First year med students are not reading this. #futlibcon
12:58 pm Wrenaissance: Are Macs taking over the med school? #futlibcon
1:00 pm Wrenaissance: Dewey: sometimes play is a good way of teaching/learning #futlibcon
1:00 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon chapman says he didnt expect hissing ,)
1:01 pm Wrenaissance: Demo: family centered experience group team tool #futlibcon
1:03 pm Wrenaissance: Cooperation vs collaboration #futlibcon. Tool supports both
1:05 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon egbert 2009 article on cooperation collaboration 4 UMMS course
1:06 pm marqueA2: “Education is not prep for life, education is life itself” -John Dewey #futlibcon
1:08 pm Wrenaissance: Tools not always used as planned. Scratchpad yes; discussion tool no. #futlibcon
1:09 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon changes workflow, not pedagogy #socmed
1:09 pm Wrenaissance: #futlibcon. Med students adapt & use; next goal: change teaching
1:18 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon interesting, CC says “doctors dont wk that way” collab
1:21 pm Wrenaissance: Advanced medical therapeutics online class; geographic distrib dicussion + asynch modules. Bldg more collab. #futlibcon
1:22 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon @marquea2 like Dewey quote. Ed is life. Lrng is play =)
1:22 pm Wrenaissance: Goal: get students to be thinkers and learners not just absorbers of current knowledge. #futlibcon
1:22 pm britain: And away we go to Second Life. #futlibcon
1:24 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon @marquea2 says #sl is socmed cuz user generated content =)
1:25 pm Wrenaissance: #futlibcon @marquea2 speaking abt med ed in 2nd life
1:26 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon want 2 know what anim tool @marquea2 is using to put hashtag stream on screen
1:27 pm Wrenaissance: Histology lab: no more microscopes. Power, Ethernet and virtual scopes #futlibcon
1:29 pm Wrenaissance: 2nd life – wolverine island. 1st session boot camp. 2nd session play2train first responders. #futlibcon
1:29 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon Yay! @britain joined in. He txts faster than me. Watch fingers fly
1:30 pm Wrenaissance: 3rd session at the cave: virtual reality first responders in 3D #futlibcon
1:31 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon marvelous video of virtual disaster triage sim in #sl w/ our stdts
1:34 pm britain: I thought this would be a live demo in SL but I’m glad they just showed highlights. #futlibcon
1:35 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon thrilled that peer asked abt haptics in #sl – smart lady
1:35 pm Wrenaissance: Q: are there haptic systs that work w 2nd life? A: may be some in dev #futlibcon
1:37 pm Wrenaissance: Intrigued abt 2nd life? @pfanderson leads virtual brown bags on Fridays #futlibcon
1:40 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon bmacadam has neat thot – sim/#sl gd for ed of “inherently messy” tasks/domains
1:40 pm britain: @zaren a big group of us librarians are talking with some med school guys about Wolv Island and virtual first responder training! #futlibcon
1:45 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon gd ? Fr joehrli abt socmed integration in ed being best when goal specific
1:52 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon what are best ed tools to promote? Is it abt the tools?
1:53 pm Wrenaissance: A bad teacher with good tools is still a bad teacher. #futlibcon
1:53 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon or is it abt the teacher? Gd teacher can mk miracles w/o best tools
1:55 pm Wrenaissance: A good teacher with good tools is awesome. #futlibcon
1:59 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon @davereadscomics sd no accident gt8 innov came fr higher ed but outside mainstream
2:01 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon ❤ tht he sd most impt role of higher ed is intellectual playground
2:03 pm pfanderson: #futlibcon neat – CC says techs like tools, but not always ones stdts like
2:03 pm britain: One of students' favorite study tools: watching the lectures at higher speeds to process faster. #futlibcon
2:13 pm LRC_Phill: #futlibcon is the last slide from today's plenary available anywhere? Those questions seem hugely important but i didn't write them down
2:14 pm LRC_Phill: @pfanderson #futlibcon higher ed's main (core) purpose has always been teaching people how to play in 'grown up' spaces. (cont'd)
2:14 pm LRC_Phill: students in most jobs don't remember 90% of their chemistry I course, but they do know how to pull all nighters when a boss asks them to…
2:14 pm LRC_Phill: just like getting a final project done if some-one/thing else didn't come through!
4:57 pm pfanderson: @LRC_Phill What I notice is people who are successful in higher ed environments are those for whom HE activities ARE play! #futlibcon
9:15 pm litebulb11: Reflecting on my uber techie day… @a2b3 and #futlibcon 🙂

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3 responses to “Twitter and the FutureLibCon

  1. The name Wiffiti comes from the words Wireless and Graffiti. The reason it can sometimes be slow is either the Twitter API or your local IP connection. It should normally show live Tweets within seconds – certainly live text messages to the screen (subject to the carriers) are sent in realtime. Thanks for using Wiffiti!


    • Me, I am going to bet on the Twitter API. Certainly, they were showing up in Twitter in a timely fashion, but I’ve noticed before that the Twitter API is sometimes a little irregular. Thanks for the explanation!


  2. Pingback: links for 2009-11-09 | Glorified Monkey

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