The Twitter Trial: Part II

I previously outlined a plan to trial the use of Twitter @MangInforg for a month []. In The Twitter Trial: Part II I start to analyse the data collected during the trial and reflect on the experience.

In May 2014 I spent a total of 7 hours 11 minutes on Twitter during the Twitter trial; this included posting tweets, reading tweets, searching for friends and colleagues, choosing who to follow, finding out about who was following me and planning what to Tweet.  My tweets during the Twitter trial included 13 original tweets (including links to this blog and original comments), and 23 retweets and links to published information.

From reading tweets I found out about a conference (which was useful) but I also discovered photographs of colleagues socializing (which I really did not need to see!).  A number of colleagues tweeted whilst at conferences, however, the tweets often did not make sense or were irrelevant and out of context to those who were not attending the same event.

In many cases, the tweets of colleagues present a holistic view of them as human beings.  Tweets often refer to both work and social activities, providing professional information and personal insights.  This raises fundamental questions of, what is the purpose of using social media?  and who is the intended audience?  For example, an academic colleague posted information relevant for students followed by information about their private lives and political beliefs.  Although this holistic use of Twitter reflects the individual personalities of academics, in some cases personal information was tweeted that an academic would probably not share with students in other settings.

The tweets I read from individuals during the Twitter trial were mostly personal, interspersed with some professional information. On the one hand, I did not want to see a picture of someone eating a cake or read about their gardening dilemmas.  On the other hand, in a face-to-face setting I concede that the same people may show me pictures and talk about their garden as part of socialization; polite conversation prior to discussing a work issue.

The purpose of @MangInforg is to communicate information about information management.  As the Twitter trial progressed, there were instances when I had information to tweet about a different subject but did not do so because it was not relevant to @MangInforg.

It is important to be clear about the purpose of a Twitter account, who the intended audience is, and how much information you want to disclose to a public audience.

Finally, was the 7 hours spent on the Twitter Trial worth it? In terms of the information I gained, no. In terms of the information I provided for others to read, possibly though further analysis is needed, which will then be discussed in a future blog post.

Further Reading: social media is discussed in Chapter 14.

Please use the following to reference this blog post in your own work:
Cox, S. A., (2014), ‘The Twitter Trial: Part II’, 6 June 2014,, [Date accessed: dd:mm:yy]

© 2014 Sharon A Cox