Twibal drums

Do you think Twitter is a self-indulgent waste of time? You’re not alone.

But like most things in life, it all depends on your perspective.

David Hopkins asked his followers recently (via Twitter!)…

How would you describe Twitter to the uninitiated, in 140 characters or less?

My initial reply was…

Twitter is a personal message board…?

And of course it is.

Twitter is traditionally described as a “micro blog” that allows account holders to post short, sharp messages (or “tweets”) of up to 140 characters each.

But then David asked me a probing follow-up question…

Yes, it can be used as personal message board, but is that good for education when we have a VLE for that kind of activity?

To which I replied…

Ah, from an edu perspective: Twitter is a real-time peer-to-peer knowledge sharing forum…?

And there-in lies the point: Twitter can be whatever you want it to be.

Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing

I commented recently on Tony Karrer’s blog

If Twitter users want to be insular, narcissistic and boring, they certainly can be. On the other side of the coin, however, they can also be sharing, fun and interesting.

Personally, I find Twitter indispensable for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. I don’t bother tweeting that I’m having a cup of coffee on Bondi Beach – who cares! Instead, I tweet about the enlightening article I found on the web, or the informative video clip that I watched on YouTube, and I follow others in my industry who do the same.

It’s an international CoP hosted by the Twittersphere.

I even added a link to my favourite Hugh MacLeod cartoon:

It's not what the software does. It's what the user does.

Translation: It’s not what Twitter does, it’s what the tweeter does.


This is where I think twibes can prove useful.

I define a “twibe” as simply a group of tweeters who share a common interest.

For example, the members of the Gardening Twibe enjoy gardening, the members of the DepecheMode Twibe are fans of Depeche Mode, the members of… well, you get the idea.

Dual role

On the face of it, a twibe seems like just another redundant label. But a twibe can fulfil an important dual role:

  1. By joining a twibe, you are promoting yourself to the Twittersphere as a like-minded member of a particular community, and by implication, as a peer worth following; and conversely,
  2. By browsing the fellow members of your twibe, you can identify peers whom you may consider worth following yourself.

I would argue that both roles further Twitter as a peer-to-peer knowledge sharing forum.


So why not join a twibe today?

If e-learning is your thing, why not join:

And why not found a twibe? Perhaps:

  • Canadian_eLearning
  • mlearning
  • VirtualWorldsInEducation

Keep me in the loop!

2 thoughts on “Twibal drums

  1. I go back and forth on whether it’s a “It’s an international CoP hosted by the Twittersphere.”

    or a messaging platform, i.e., new form of IM, email, etc. Your comment, it depends on how you use it is right on.

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