Liked ‘Our’ positionality? by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)
Bringing a sociomaterial sensibility built on actor-network theory to this study positions me in a particular way. This eschews the notion of a pre-existent reality ‘out-there’ waiting for the knowing subject to discover and explain it. Nor is reality constructed by the distant researcher through a set of discursive practices. Instead, reality is performative, brought into being as a result of the relationships which form and reform when actors, both human and nonhuman, intra-act. As a researcher of and with teachers using Twitter then, I am entangled with a heterogenous mix of educators, software platforms, digital devices, terms of service, time zones, screens, hashtags and notifications. What emerges from the study depends on the knowledge practices which are brought to bear, but these do not solely involve a researcher, research participants and standard qualitative methods, but also an eclectic mix of other nonhuman actors. Together their relational performances constitute ‘methods assemblage’ (Law, 2004), where different realities become enacted depending on the actors which participate. One implication might be that this should not be statement of my positionality, but of ours.
Bookmarked Interviewing the nonhumans by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)
Twitter’s algorithms might indeed make following a hashtag easier for us, but what is it doing for Twitter? When tens of people like an educational tweet for example, how did that happen, what are the consequences and for whom?
Here is a list of heuristics taken from ‘Researching a Posthuman World’ by Catherine Adams and Terrie Lynne Thompson

Gathering anecdotes

Describe how the object or thing appeared, showed up, or was given in professional practice. What happened?

Following the actors

Consider the main practice you are interested in. What micro-practices are at work?
Who-what is acting? What are they doing? Who-what is excluded?
How have particular assemblages come together? What is related to what and how? What work do they do?> > Choose an object of interest. What is the sociality/materiality around it?

Listening for the invitational quality of things

What is a technology inviting (or encouraging, inciting, or even insisting) its user to do?
What is a technology discouraging?

Studying breakdowns, accidents and anomalies

What happens if an object breaks or is unexpectedly missing? What practices then become more visible?

Applying the Laws of Media

This heuristic draws on the tetrad of McLuhan and McLuhan (1988) and poses the questions they proposed.

What does a technology/medium enhance?
What does it render obsolete?
What does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
What does it become when pressed to an extreme?

Unravelling translations

How have particular gatherings come to be and how do they maintain their connections?
What unintended realities come into being as everyday practices unfold?
What is entrenched? Who-what is excluded?

Can you remember the route by which you came to use Twitter to support your professional learning?

In a recent response to Ian Guest, I spoke about a beginning to getting onto Twitter. After reading Ian’s reply, I realised I may have been ignoring the wild goose chase …

Replied The path to Twitter is paved with … by IaninSheffield (Marginal Notes)
Can you remember the route by which you came to use Twitter to support your professional learning?
Ian, your post (and visual) raised many questions. I think my own experience of Twitter was somewhat multi-pronged. There was quite a bit of inadvertent nudging, during a course on thinking, while I also had a few friends on it. I have documented a part of my story here, as well as created a short video documenting it:

I really wonder if it is ever one thing, rather than an assemblage of parts. This has me thinking about blogging as well and how the take up of Twitter might compare with the early days of educational blogging? Would there be similarities? Do these things change? Would someone starting out on their path now be different to yourself starting out in 2009? How does it differ from a wider discussion of connected education? Always so many questions.

Quoted

I do find Twitter and social media and all those communities and tribes that I belong to as really quite interesting because they sort of exist outside of this temporal nature of where I work; where my contract is and so forth. They’re connections that y’know if change five jobs, I’ve still got these connections. And many of the people that I know have changed jobs several times, but it’s the connections that have remained – Aaron Davis

Quoted in Ian Guest’s post​ on Connecting, a part of his research into Professional development in 140 characters​.

Replied Groups, communities, collectives or …? by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)
Twitter is classified by Stephen Downes as a Group, based on the fact that power is centralised and held by the platform, rather than being in the hands of the participants. Membership is closed by dint of the requirement to create an account and there are rules which members are obliged to follow. In addition to the criteria he uses to disti...
This is an interesting discussion Ian. I wonder if you have read Teaching Crowds by Jon Dron and Terry Anderson. I have summarised it here. However I think that this graphic captures it:

A representation of the ideas presented in Teaching Crowds
Graphic taken from a presentation at GAFE Summit, 2016

What intrigues me about labeling Twitter as a ‘group’ ignores the many features built into the platform and the affordances they allow. For example, the focus on hashtags allows for the formation of ‘Communities of Interest’, while lists can be used to develop ‘Circles’. Maybe Downes’ reference to ‘sameness’ is assocaited with the idea of ‘templated self’.

A self or identity that is produced through various participation architectures, the act of producing a virtual or digital representation of self by filling out a user interface with personal information.

It has definitely left me wondering.

Replied Pingbacks: hiding in plain sight
I’ve never really thought about Pingbacks on blog posts; they just appear. On my own blogs, most of the pingbacks are in fact internal referencing as I link from one post to another. But maybe they’re not as mundane as they might at first appear and in fact they work much harder than I first thought? When someone reads a blog post and is subsequently minded to write their own post, either referencing or extending the ideas in the original, they are extending knowledge. Were it not for the pingback, the link between the two posts would be one way only, from the body of the new post back to the original. The pingback is initiated automatically from within the original post platform and consequently makes this a two-way exchange by providing that link to the new post. This extending of the knowledge web offers opportunities, but I wonder to what extent people use it? I know that if I write a post which attracts a pingback, I usually follow it up to check out the post and the author. The outcome might be that I learn something new about what I originally thought, or that I find a new blog to follow, or a new person with whom to connect. The interesting part is that it’s an algorithm or script that’s doing that. A nonhuman. My learning is once more being affected and enabled by a nonhuman actor.
Pingbacks seem to be a part of the WordPress architecture. For other platforms, you can use trackbacks. One use case is the #Indieweb and the potential to comment from your own space. Chris Aldrich even demonstrates how you can use such an infrastructure to reply to Twitter.