Only Looking at the Tip of an Iceberg

I thought I "knew" the edtech network before I started this Twitter project ... or least I felt confident explaining it to others at conferences and on EdTechWeekly. However, 7 days into the data mining of the 3,500 or so reciprocal following / followed by relationships with Twitter user edtechtalk, I realize that I have purposefully (but largely subconsciously) filtered my understanding based on what I thought I knew about the network. In other words, I followed the activities of those I knew about, framed my understanding based on those I knew, and rarely went outside a small subnetwork within the larger edtech network.

Over the past week, I have collected nearly a thousand tweets within 1/2 hour increments at purposefully chosen time periods (trying to get a mix of times of day over the days of the week / weekend). I am doing this all "by hand" (or "cut and paste" from the public timeline) versus aggregating data as others have done using the Twitter API as others have done. For one thing, I don't know HOW to use the api, but also because I wanted to take my time reading each post to understand the nature of the communication and interaction. I have used Excel to help me ID @, RT @, http://, # and the like to help me see whether posts are "broadcasts" to the world or a finer grained communication to others about specific topics. By looking at various snapshots in time during the week, I have picked up subtle differences in tone / mood / content depending on the time of day / day of week (night time chatter about TV shows; day time chatter about conference backchannels, TGIF, etc). This time of year, some folks tweet about being at home caring for sick children or worrying that their children MAY be sick. There is also chatter about the latest world events (holidays, #balloonboy). Obviously, at different times of day different groups are awake, so there are subtle differences based on geographic locations (conferences happening in a given place). And ... differences by intent of author. Seems a lot of the "corporate / self-promoter" posters (you know who you are) RT A LOT with a lot of links to their stuff and others stuff.In contrast, there is a lot of home grown reflection by teachers out there in the trenches telling the world what they are seeing and what is working in their classrooms. The conference stuff is interesting, too ... a mix between self-promotion (here is what I am doing today) and sharing (here is where I am today and here is how you can follow along). Also, there are those who are followed by a lot and chose to only follow a few ... while some seem to be self-promoters that doesn't seem to be the only motivation ... I'm guessing information overload plays a role. Like me, it seems some tend to narrow the stream to help control the fire hose of information.

More to come, but these are some initial observations about a entity I thought I knew, but was only looking at the tip of the iceberg ...