Live Tweeting–Is this always a good idea?

One of the requirements as a RRCHNM fellow is to live tweet once a semester the interesting things that happen around the Center.  Last semester this requirement was simple.  I was fortunate enough to live tweet the first year fellow trip to the National Mall during our time in Public Projects.  We ran up and down DC testing Histories of the National Mall and completed a scavenger hunt that drew attention to many of the historic sites in the area.  It was an interesting time, full of goofiness, excitement, and entertainment.  My live tweets came with images of the scavenger hunt and different types of media that made my live tweeting more of a pleasure for my followers.  It was easy to create tweets at least once every twenty minutes and from the amount of likes and retweets I received, I assume that my day of live tweeting went over well.

Similarly, the fellows and I added an extra day of tweeting at the 20th anniversary conference for RRCHNM.  While this event was a lot more professional than our scavenger hunt on the Mall, I was still able to tweet out all day long–even gaining followers across Open Source advocates and national museums.

It was a great experience!  However, by the time second semester came around I had a much more difficult time finding an outlet to live tweet.  While interesting things happened around the center this semester, the first year fellows were certainly more about business than testing or conference going.  Every week I waited for an interesting opportunity to tweet for the Center and my followers.  However, nothing extraordinarily interesting that I could draw out for an entire day ever came my way.  The good news is that we were working!  We just didn’t do anything my followers were interested in hearing about all day long. Plus, the portions that would have made for incredible days of live tweeting during my time in education had to be kept under wraps until the projects we were working on went live.

The last week of our fellowship I decided that it would be a good idea to live tweet our fellow sponsored DH Help desk that we and the second year fellows host every week. This help desk allows students to come to the Center and ask for help in their Clio Wired classes.  Since it was the end of the semester, a large percentage of PhD students had some sort of Clio Project due and we knew that our desk would be flooded with last minute questions on html, css, and mapping, I thought this would be the best chance to live tweet.

Well.  My live day of tweeting did not go the way I would have liked.  Unlike running up and down the National Mall and listening to a handful of panels chaired by the biggest names in our field–it was me, the fellows, and a bunch of confused PhD students.  In essence, no one but us gave a dang about what we were doing.  I think I even lost a Twitter follower or two by grasping at straws throughout the entire day with lame tweets.

While I feel like my live tweeting day crashed and burned like no other, I think this assignment taught me and the other fellows a lot about using social media to promote organizations and/or academic interests.  If you don’t have anything thoughtful to tweet, you probably just shouldn’t tweet.  There is a level of professionalism that must be upheld and we all follow that one person on Facebook or Twitter who fill our feeds up with nonsense and we resent them.  In order to remain respected, it’s best to leave live tweeting to some of the more important and enlightening events.

However, just in case you are interested in my by “Barney the Dinosaur-esque” tweets, here is the feed:


One thought on “Live Tweeting–Is this always a good idea?

  1. I agree with you, Stephanie. I think it’s difficult to gauge what is and is not appropriate for tweeting for academia, and this is the situation we run into. We don’t want to turn off our more professional followers with nonsense, but we also are human. It would just be a shame to break some future connection in academia because someone got annoyed by our tweets.

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