One of the smaller pieces of feedback I received questioned my use of the term “evangelicals,” in the context of a type of Twitter user that might be particularly interesting to include in my research. I’d neglected to define the term however, rendering it somewhat meaningless; so in this brief post let me now attempt to remedy that.
Based solely on my observations during my time on Twitter, I’ve noticed that people seem to regard the platform in a number of different ways. The following classification then, is purely my own interpretation of the attitudes people appear to exhibit.
These are the people who regularly trumpet the virtues of Twitter. They need no encouragement and are lavish in their praise, both on the Twitter platform and elsewhere. They are clear about the benefits they have found from being on Twitter and attempt to proselytise others.
Also clear about the gains they have enjoyed, this group will respond to prompts asking about their inclinations. When asked why they’re on Twitter the advocates provide detailed answers and have clearly reflected on how it has helped them. If someone is running a session in which they post a shout-out for how Twitter is helping people in their practice for example, the advocates will be quick to respond.
These people are on Twitter, know they get something from it, but probably would not go so far as to claim it as professional learning. They might pick up an odd resource here or there, or enjoy dialogue occasionally, but would never classify that as significant in their development.
Are either not on Twitter at all and view it with disdain, or do participate, but for nothing related to their professional life.
I also wondered whether there might be another group who actively campaign against Twitter, seeing it as a waste of time … or worse. A dangerous place governed by commercial ventures, where trolling is rife and data on your personal life will be harvested for financial gain.
Where might you place yourself within this classification? Perhaps there are groups I’ve missed? I suspect my own behaviour and attitude have shifted around over the years, though I don’t think (since joining Twitter) I’d consider my self an atheist any longer. Have I been converted?