Saturday, 12 July 2008

Using Twitter for real business value...?

Twitter has been around a while now and has become an established social networking tool. As with all new concepts the way that people use them can often surprise the people who originally came up with the concept.

I have been thinking about how Twitter could be used to help support learning and development activity. I found a really interesting paper here (and also inserted below) by Dr Gabriela Grosseck and Carmen Holotescu (of the University of West Timisoara) that provides some background to Twitter along with a discussion about how Twitter could be used in an educational environment. It provides both advantages and disadvantages and is certainly worth a read. (On an aside note, having used the internet for 15 years it still amazes me how it provides access to so much information!).

Below is an extract detailing some of the potential uses for Twitter in an educational environment:

Conference or as part of a presentation or workshop. Twitter can provide a simple way for attendees at a conference to share thoughts about particular sessions and activities with others at the event and those unable to attend. Twitter works well for an undercurrent dialogues, being a way to organize, give quick updates, and rapidly point to resources.

For reference or research (almost the entire edublogosphere is connecting via Twitter). Higher education (especially) is using the technology to relay important information to students in a more timely manner.

Facilitating virtual classroom discussion by using @username. It directs the ‘tweet’ at the intended recipient whilst allowing every student to also see it.

Twitter facilitates a Personal Learning Network (PLN) in the edublogosphere. In this context students can ask questions of those they only know online [Belshaw, 2007].

Reference services (in libraries). People could "follow" a Twitter account to learn about library events, new books, or get responses to library user questions.

Here is the full paper:

Read this document on Scribd: Can we use Twitter for educational activities?

For me, here are some other ways that Twitter could be used in a corporate learning environment:
  • To help embed learning after a specific intervention: For example, people receive some quality training and then return to the work environment to apply it. To really help embed it they need support and would benefit from sharing experiences. Twitter can help people feed off each other whilst providing access to experts for advice and support.

  • To support a talent management community: Connecting a community of like minded individuals and faciliting a focused way of communicating with them.

  • Facilitating a learning culture: Encouraging people to share experiences with each other, offering tips and advice. You could choose to 'follow' the subject areas you are most interested in.

  • Supporting performance management: Providing the ability for Performance Managers to share ideas, request advice etc with/from each other. Particularly useful if they are geograhically dispersed.

In addition I can see lots of uses amongst project teams and sales/bid teams to help them communicate and stay in touch with each other and the rest of the organisation. The fact that it utilises SMS is a real advantage I think.

Please let me know how our organisations are using it or your thoughts on how Twitter (or other social networking sites) can be used to support a corporate learning environment.

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