Twitter Blocks

Twitter Blocks

Yet more reflections on Twitter. Since my last post, I’ve started to warm up again considerably to twitter. But why?

I also use Facebook. This is mainly for the statuses. I really enjoy the ever changing statuses of my friends. They’re limited in length and are often witty. I feel like I’m keeping “in touch” with minimal effort. I have them set up as an RSS feed to my google sidebar so whenever one changes, it just pops up momentarily at the bottom of my screen and then vanishes.

I felt that with both twitter and facebook going at the same time, I was becoming something of a split-personality. I could see friends on facebook whose twitter updates were automatically updating their facebook statuses – so I installed a facebook app that would do this for me. Now my facebook and twitter statuses would match.

So far so good.

Then, as with facebook about a year ago, many of my departmental colleagues seemed to be joining twitter and adding me as a friend. Suddenly it became much more interesting. I could have the same “status” experience when out and about with my mobile.

The final convincer was when I followed a link in one of Martin’s twitters to Twitter Blocks. They provide a pretty dynamic 3D visualisation of all your recent twitters and those you’ve received from your twitter contacts. The streams at right angles represent the twitter stream of that particular contact. You can hover your mouse over a “block” and all twitters from that person get highlighted with their picture, wherever in your stream or the streams of the others in your linked network that they appear. You can click on any block to read the message and then you can redisplay the visualisation with that person’s stream of twitters as the centre.

It shows you who each person is linked to and you can even kind of track relationships – people you follow and where they appear in other people’s streams.  The further the vertical distance between one block and the next, the longer the time difference is between twitters. Hard to describe, but just give it a go.  It changes each time and I’ve just taken a look at mine the morning. Overnight, most of my contacts were asleep so I’ve not got alot of twitters, however two of my twitterers is in the US so they was quite active.

About Gill

Having worked as a Research Fellow with the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, I have now semi-retired but retained my association with the OU as an Honorary Associate.
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