My dance with National Council of University Research Administrators-NCURA’s social web network.
I first looked at their Twitter feed and found that the majority of tweets (and I mean almost all) were pointing followers to their “YouTube Tuesday” sessions. The second most tweeted subject by NCURA was about conference dates and conference related things. OK- on the surface really good stuff, but not immediate texts and links that I am interested in. Now I dig a little deeper and look into their 456 Followers.
Note: this is where the idea of Connectivism gets real. I am taking a respectable organization’s twitter account and peering into their followers AND I am allowed to. I am not hacking, this is public knowledge. Wow! It is like looking into someone’s contact list.
Behind Door Number 1: Trustworthiness
I see that John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is following NCRUA, but decide that this Tweeter is focused more on health related topics and not general research related ideas, which is what I am searching for. So, although they are incredibly trustworthy, they do not meet my “follow” criteria.
Door Number 2: Lacking Tweets!
I click on another follower of NCURA’s tweets and see that this person has only tweeted 3 times, which again, does not meet my criteria. The tweeter I want to follow from this group will be an active twitter allowing me to learn something or attempt to build a professional connection.
Door Number 3: A winner! Trustworthy & Lots of Tweets that meet My Professional Needs
Next up is HarvardOSP or the Office for Sponsored Programs at Harvard University. At last, real potential. They only have posted 58 tweets, but it looks like this is a new account and is very active for September.
Furthermore, their content is exactly what I am looking to find : educational resources on the web, funding opportunities and critical issues in my field, news. I think this Tweeter would be a great one to do my next layer of connectivity research.
Door Number 4: Way off Topic
My next Tweeter to research was a woman with a very promising scientific profile. She also had 288 tweets. Awesome, or so I thought. When I dug further, many of the tweets were personal, some political and several had a lot to do with the Mars Curiosity rover, which is interesting , but not what I want to follow. So, she did not meet my criteria.
Door Number 5: Off Topic…again
Found a promising tweeter that is also followed by NCURA and HarvardSOP, so I thought, “Perfect!” a real person I can follow. Unfortunately, his postings were a lot about sensationalistic news items and fewer references to research development.
During my review of other resources/websites that I stumbled upon I found other golden nuggest of information and resources.
For some of these I know that I will have to sift through the (yes, I have to say it) the Connections, I will find valuable opportunities to learn and connect with others in a way that I did not realize.
This is so, so, so very cool. I cannot tell you how much this assignment has meant to me, to my professional life.
My overall observation? It takes a lot of digging to find gold.