Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Twitter - The New Web 2.0 Chatroom

As I was sitting here hanging out in Twitter, one of my favorite spots on the web, it occurred to me that Twitter has become the new chatroom. But, what I also realized was how much better than a chatroom Twitter has become. In the old days of chat (5-10 years ago, after the realization that AOL members rooms and AOL was not for me) I used to frequent a Yahoo chatroom about and for web designers and offer help and advice to those that wandered in. There were other regulars (regs) that would hang out there that we would chat with and get to know, some on a more personal level than others. For me, it was a chance to develop my personal learning network (pln), learn more about web design and graphic design, show off some of my skills, teach others what I know, and to relax and unwind while still maintaining some intellect. For others, it was a place to spam their wares or business, have things done for them, or to look for companionship. We would have the spammers and the porn bots that would come in and invade our chats, but there were ways of dealing with them - usually either through our chat client or by placing them on ignore (into the iggybin).

I liked the fact that it was topic based and that unless you were into web design or graphic design, unless you were a bot or a spammer, the topic stayed around the interest of web design. Occasionally, when I had questions I could not answer about my Macs, I would venture into the MacIntosh room, and always found the regs in the room very helpful. But looking back, it was room hopping and just didn't feel very much like "home".

With Twitter, I can choose who to follow under a multitude of interests and topics, I can follow different (hashtag) conversations, share tweets I find of interest with others that follow my feeds (through retweets), join regularly scheduled weekly chats of my interests, and have the luxury of not having spammers or bot posts show up in my time line feeds. Instead, the spam feeds are kept private to mentions and I can click a button to delete their post, block the sender, and report them as a spammer all in one click of the mouse. My followers never need know of their post unless I choose to share it with them. And with 140 characters to a post, it forces people to think more intelligibly before they post, and we don't end up with those just wandering in saying, "Hai frnd". I really like how I am not limited to a single topic in Twitter, and do not feel like I am wandering from room to room if I want to follow another topic of interest other than web design or STEM teachers. I also don't have to worry about others coming into the chatroom with the obnoxiously large red font crying for help or the "perdy" rainbow font wanting to be your "frnd" as they used to in the old days of Yahoo chatrooms.

I am still able to learn from others, and share my knowledge with others, as I was able to in a regular chatroom, still able to offer help and advice, and able to do all the things I loved about being a reg in a chatroom, only now I can follow the feeds long after I have gone to bed or while I'm busy in school during the day. If anything, I've found that I have learned more in the short time that I have been active on Twitter than the years I have spent hanging out in chatrooms. My PLN has grown by leaps and bounds ever so much more than it has in the chatrooms, and I am finally accepted as an intelligent, funny, interesting, talented woman rather than some geeky chic, Kinetic's girlfriend, or the room's FM (freak magnet).


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