Today is the start of EU Twitter Fight Club, in which I – as the (14) seed (of 23 players) – will endeavour to win deathless fame by being good at said New Social Media. The American organisers of the original #TFC14 finally noticed us last week and we’ve taken their lack of legal action as a blessing on our venture.
My previous take on TFC was that it offered something in the way of developing online community. In the weeks since then, as the build-up has, well, built up, I can still see that, even as I can also see the potential for much unhappiness (especially I get as far as Thursday, only to be knocked out by a hand-puppet with a tasting for gin).
Such sniping aside [you can beat the hand-puppet, Simon, you can], there’s another aspect that has emerged, which I’m keen to pursue, certainly as long as I’m in the competition.
Twitter is rubbish for many things, as my students will know, but it is great at brevity. So why not try to use that? As a colleague noted to me some time ago, keeping it short means you have to focus on what’s important, rather than on the academic dressing-up thatgoes around it.
TFC doesn’t seem to have many rules, except not being a twerp, and I know well enough that my humour isn’t going to swing matters, so I’m going to pay the ‘being useful’ line, not least since it’s served me well enough so far in my time on Twitter.
Given the pan-European nature of the competitors and the coming European elections, it’s also a good time to think about how to communicate public education messages on the European Union.
So my plan is this: to create brief, useful tweets about the EU, to help other users and (possibly) impress the judges/voters*. That might be key ideas in writing, or producing other media to clarify points. But whatever it is, keeping it brief.
I have no idea if it’ll come to anything, but if I can get through the first round then I’m prepared to apply some ex-post rationalisation to say this was important, and I’ll keep exploring. In the highly-unlikely event I can get to next week’s final rounds, then I’ll have to come up with more specific ideas for what these things might be, but we/I can cross that bridge when we/I get to it.
Doubtless, I’ll be back before too long with an update on this.
* – voting. Yes, very important. Because we Europeans care about democracy so much, the decision-making system for TFC is a bit involved. Judges make a choice between pairs of competitors, but the general public (including you) get to vote on it too, with your decision getting equal weight to the judges’. So if you want more posts about this, then remember to vote for me (somewhere here). And if I win the whole thing, then I’d have to retire from the competition and you’ll never about it again. Win-win, perhaps?