NECC ’09: Twitter and its discontents?

I thought NECC was a twitterfest, as did the folks at Think Like a Teacher, until one of my PLN friends showed me how to use the Twitter search API to count the number of posts that used the #necc and #necc09 hashtags. Counting the responses even after the conference ended, there were about 200 users of Twitter and about 1500 tagged messages. I posted over a hundred, and I believe you and a few others posted a lot as well, which means that a lot of users posted only one or two.

Of course, there may have been a lot that went untagged; I know I posted at least as many untagged messages as tagged during the conference, because I went from about 800 tweets to 1200 over the course of Sunday to Thursday. Even so, the statistical evidence suggests that the Twitterers weren’t as much of an influence as we thought we were.

With over 18,000 attendees, 1500 messages (only 1,300 if you count only messages logged on the official days of the conference) isn’t that many.  Given that only 200 users generated those comments, and that perhaps 20 users generated 80% of them, it suggests that Twitter has a long way to go.

On the other hand, I encountered a young man in the halls, and he said that Educators were the only people who knew how to use Twitter ‘correctly’.  He didn’t really explain what he meant by that, but it was clear that he was impressed by the way that we logged sessions and conferences, and talked to one another constantly. This may be one of the turning points for this technology, where we demonstrate a new communication medium — talking loudly in a conference hall while giving the speakers and panelists our complete attention.

One comment

  1. I was one of those who only posted a couple of tweets because it was the first time I really saw the purpose of Twitter thanks to someone sitting next to me who opened my eyes. Those few tweets represent a whole mind-shift for me! and I’ll never be the same, especially as I start trying to scale the mountain of information necc –and especially the tweets –built.

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