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Amy Sample Ward

Hey Beth - I think it sounds like a blast! If it were me, I think I'd do one practice round as the beginning of the ice breaker where you pose a question to the group and the participants need to answer it with their partner but in 140 characters or less. Then move on to them developing their questions.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

Sue Waters

I really like the whole concept because I think it's important to show them how an online conversation works by showing them how that conversation would happen if they were talking f2f and then show them how putting that conversation online enriches the conversation.

I do similar when I introduce blogging to people - I think of a conversation that they can relate to. Then ask different people in the audience to each separately supply their input (ask some to express contrary viewpoints). Then I highlight the fact that f2f you will only get a few answers now if I put that same conversation online I get even more answers and the conversation is extended.

Thinking it will be harder to demonstrate that twitter conversation than blogging because twitter conversations are much more like f2f conversations. So I would also ask them to include some mundane tweets, some rant tweets and some questions plus get them to engage in regular conversations during the day with people in twitter (every day conversations -- like I do with American Idol).

LaDonna Coy

Hi Beth,

This looks like a terrific introduction to twitter .. without a twitter account or computer access. I think the Twitter form with the logo and boxes works and keeps to your point about concise and brief. Reporting the "Twitterfield" version of their question, I think will be fun and engaging.

I wonder if the the form might be scaled up a little larger to fill or nearly fill a sheet of paper and then have them put these on the wall like the online feed looks? Could even include a small "picture" aka drawing or avatar of themselves?

I totally love these kind of exercises - you've done it again!


LaDonna Coy

Okay, didn't see Sue's comment until now but it adds an interesting twist. If these were posted to the wall like they appear online, throughout the day they could add these sort of fun, informal tweets and at break times everyone can stroll down Tweet Street! it could give a real sense of what Twitter is like. Too fun. Looking forward to see how this turns out!

Maryann Devine

Sounds great, Beth! I like the idea of twittering the questions to your network, and LaDonna's idea of posting tweets on the wall.

Roy Blumenthal

Hiya Beth...

Answering this from your Twitter call.

My only proviso would be that you need to be aware of the time difference between you-in-Aus and your-network-in-different-time-zones. You don't wanna find yourself asking questions to sleeping buddies.

Another thought would be to have each of your participants creating their own Twitter accounts on the spot, and have everyone in the room follow everyone else.

You might find that burning questions might be tackled via the in-house instant Twitter network.

My own experience with training games is that the process is always much more important than the content. So be prepared for things to change, and for the unexpected. Whatever happens in that room is an example of either a pro or a con of social networks.

Blue skies

rebecca Krause-Hardie

Great ideas Beth!
I really think the idea of an easier quick ice breaker first would be helpful. Maybe something about themselves or why they love dogs or hate dogs...
Also I think the form is a good idea, though in practice I think the layout will be awkward - I'm thinking one square per character, so maybe boxes not so wide? and every 5th line bolded for example. ps can I come and play too? :>)

Jesse E-V

I think this looks like a great exercise. The 2 thoughts I had - time difference and creating some run of the mill tweets were covered above. I can't wait to see how it goes!

Sarah Stewart

Think it sounds a great idea. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Beth Kanter

@rebecca - want to create a new form for me? :-)

Sue Waters

LaDonna's thought of putting them on the wall isn't about idea and I had consider it. Assume you've read Leonard Low's Blogging Workshop Activity?. Well my girlfriend using it for blogging and gets lots of different colored sticky notes. To adapt to Twitter you just set up a twitter stream and make them post them with no order. Sitting here laughing at the thought of them running back and forward trying to post their tweet in 140 characters before someone responds or writes a mundane which takes the conversation off in another direction.

Sue Waters

Oops I think the html got stripped so here's the link again.

Beth Kanter

@suewaters .. I'm not sure if they all will have laptops and also not sure what the levels will be yet.

I was thinking of putting the questions on the wall -- so we had visual reference. I have to do an afternoon icebreaker - and maybe people write answers on the sticky notes and add them to questions on the wall?

Eugene Chan

Re: following

A separate but parallel process (connected to the blackboard idea from above).

Get a bunch of sheets with "@_______ is following you." Give five or more per person with some masking tape. They can go around and tape them to the back of people in the room.

(It's a skill to explain things in 140 char or less. I guess I haven't mastered it yet.)

That's all.

Beth Kanter

I'm reposting this from some email between me and Eugene because I didn't want to get lost.

@kanter:I follow you now -- What concept from Twitter would
the participants be learning?

Eugene's Answer:

It's a bit of FOAF as you mention.

It's also about discovery--like browsing through a bookshelf at a
bookstore and library because you were drawn by one book but then you
learned about another.

It's also about assymmmetry. Some people have more followers than
follow. Others (like spammers) are the opposite. Most are even, but it
still is completely equal.

Lastly, it's the "network" part of twitter as a social network.
Otherwise, it's just web-based IM.

It's too bad there isn't carbon paper with many sheets. You could write
"@kanter is following @eugevon" rip off one layer and stick it on
"@eugevon" and stick the other half on "@kanter".

Anyway, learning about other people is a pretty fun part of twitter.

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