Critical Thinking in 140c: How SM can make us Smarter

Posted on May 24, 2011 by


Many (including Malcolm Gladwell, or the latest to fall, the NYT’s Bill Keller) claim it’s impossible to use social media to drive deep, meaningful learning, especially for more complex topics. After all, how much can be said in a 140-character tweet?

Like many in the chat and blogging communities – on this topic? I’ll beg to differ.

For example, after a successful 10-month series in 2010 on Organization Culture (+7k page views), I’ve started a new deep dive on Critical Thinking in March, with a similar multi-month research agenda. And, while content in that new stream may expand this conversation, for now, I’d like to “take it up a level” and talk about how we use social media tools to drive the conversation – including tips and tools that facilitate collaborative research and learning.

For the WEDS 5/25 1pET #SMCHAT, let’s focus on techniques for “heavy lifting” using social media:

Q1. Framing. The long form, most commonly a blog post, is where we establish the main idea, or thesis, and set the context for evaluation; example.
Q2. Visualization. Are pictures (or tables) worth 1,000 tweets? For 140c, absolutely; example.
Q3. Q&A Discussion. Most rely on either blog comments or Twitter (chats and/or async) to discuss ideas. What approach is most effective? Can one approach support the other? example: tweetchat
Q4. Data. In addition to conversation, data can also be useful in establishing consensus. Will discuss role of polls (example) and other capture tools. Can link shorteners like help us manage the flow?
Q5. Synthesis. Many chats stop before the ‘takeaways’ step. What do we lose? example
Q6. Persistence. Where do all these good ideas and takeaways go? Hopefully, to a wiki, or someplace easily viewed; example.

Note: we went still deeper on Q5/Q6 the following week at SMCHAT in “Grabbing Twitter by the Tail: Tracking Top Tweets”

If there’s interest in Critical Thinking at the deeper level, we can definitely circle back on it. Just say so, and we’ll tee that up for later.

As always, we look forward to your input. See you at #SMCHAT!