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... part of the technology for communities project,
started off by the authors of [Digital Habitats], Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith.

Definition / description

Microblogging involves short individual posts that have been popularized by Twitter. {{#widget:YouTube|id=ddO9idmax0o}}

Microblogging for communities of practice

  • Use a "hashtag" during a synchronous event to share public notes, retrieving them on http://search.twitter.com (or more systematically with Microblogging aggregator tools).
  • Announce synchronous events or blog postings
  • Microblog readership may not correspond exactly to community membership.

Microblogging in combination

  • Microblogging usually exists in combination with other tools such as blogs, social bookmarks, email, and text messaging.
  • Microblogging has become a platform for many related activities such as polling

Tool Polarities

  • Together/apart, Synch/Asynch: Twitter postings are short, intended to be highly perishable, so it feels likes a mostly synchronous tool
  • Interaction/publication: Twitter posts are declarative so they can feel like an on-the-spot publishing tool, but their cumulative effect is to give the feeling of interaction with others in a kind of indirect way even though a twitter post can be directed at one individual
  • Individual/group: Twitter postings are written for anybody who "follows you" so they are usually written with a group in mind (although the tool makes you construct groups one individual at at time) so it's half-way between an individual and a group tool


Used with

There is an extensive ecology of tools that work with twitter:

Alternative platforms for access

Photo links

  • Various services exist to make it easy to link to photos uploaded to related websites.

User Practices

  • Group use is typical, but there are no "group norms" that have to be negotiated or that can be enforced
  • To collect questions in a face-to-face session, ask the participants to post them to Twitter with a hashtag, then organize them for response or later reference.
  • A Twitter stream with a hashtag can be projected on a screen at a conference, on a Webinar page, or accessed by people who can't attend physically.

Resources and Citations

Microblogging providers or instances