Using Twitter at the AAPT Meeting
I feel like I am still recovering from the recent Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Why? Probably because the meeting was local. This means that instead of flying somewhere and spending 2 days at the conference, I got up early and drove in for four days. It was fun, but a long meeting.
Now for some twitter. Every year, I am surprised at how little twitter is used at this meeting. It seems like it is just me and a handful of people even employed the power of twitter – but let’s check.
Apparently, it is not so easy to search older stuff on Twitter. Fortunately, the AAPT meeting wasn’t so long ago. There are several analysis tools out there – I kind of like Tweet Archivist. It’s still not everything I could want and more, but it will get the job done. If you run a search for #AAPTWM13, Tweet Archivist will show the goods. Here are the top people that tweeted. Is “tweeted” even a word?
The graph might be too small to see, but a couple of important points. This only lists 116 tweets with the #aaptwm13 hash tag. That doesn’t seem like too many. Oh, who was the top tweeter? Was it @AAPTHQ? No. Was it Deepak Iyer (
@distractions @distractons) – no, but he was close and put up a good fight. The top #AAPTWM13 tweeter was @rjallain whoever that guy is.
Ok, I admit it. I sort of cheated. First, halfway through the conference I realized I was one of the top tweeters. This prompted me to tweet just a little bit more so I could blog about it. Second, I just posted my analysis of the accelerating elevator and included the #AAPTWM13 with the link on twitter. I think I can make the claim that even though it was was after the meeting, it was still related. It was, wasn’t it?
There is some other cool data you can get from twitter, but an analysis would work better with more data. Of course, that won’t stop me from doing it anyway. Tweet Archivist gives a nice plot of #AAPTWM13 tweets as a function of time, but it shows it in a manner that you can’t see too many details. Let me make my own plot. If you search for something in Tweet Archivist, you can also download the data. In this case, the download actually gives even more results. 283 tweets instead of just 116. Even then, I don’t think this is all the data. It has the first tweet on January 7th. I’m sure someone was tweeting about the AAPT meeting before that. I guess I need to make my own version of the top tweeters.
From this, it looks like Aathish Bhatia @aatishb was the winner for top twitterer. Really, there should be some type of award – right?
I think the main point is that Twitter isn’t used much during these meetings.
Should Twitter Be Used by AAPT Participants?
I really don’t know the answer to this question. I like to use twitter and I think it would be nice if more people used it also. I can think of the following benefits:
- Greater connectivity. It is easier to initiate contact with people via twitter. You don’t have to stand awkwardly next to someone waiting for them to end their conversation with someone else. In twitter, you can have multiple conversations at once and over a longer time.
- Multiple sessions. Can you be in more than one place at a time? No. However, you can still find out what is going on in other sessions if people tweet them.
- Background conversation. Even if you are in the same talk as another tweeter, you can still have a background discussion without interrupting the talk. Sure, maybe this is a little too high on the multitasking level, but I kind of like it even though it might actually make me less efficient.
- Outreach to the world. There are many people that couldn’t or wouldn’t attend the AAPT meeting. Guess what. They can still see what’s going on based on the tweets. I know that when I can’t attend a meeting, I really enjoy watching the twitter stream.
It could be even better. What if every AAPT talk had some type of link to either the slides, extra links or even just the abstract. That way if you want to make a comment, you could include the URL. This is what I did with my talk. I made a link bundle – bit.ly/allain1 that had all the blog posts related to my talk.
Some Twitter Resources
I was sure someone had an extensive blog post about Twitter and faculty. Here are some I found – but I think there might be more.
- Twitter: the welcome wagon for new faculty – Quantum Progress.
- Building your professional network with twitter, google reader and a few other tools. – Quantum Progress.
- GPD vs AAPT – SuperFly Physics. I had forgotten about Andy’s post from this summer when I recently wrote my version.
- Why twiddle with twitter? – Science Geek Girl.
- Physics Teacher 2.Uh-Oh – Action-Reaction.
There. That should help.