Twitter is an intensely personal experience, yet a communal one, at the same time. However, those two dimensions never meet. Our individual tweets create the value of the whole, yet we only benefit individually from the information we receive or dispense, the relationships we build. The opportunities for co-creative play in the tweetstream, benefiting the collective, have been hardly realized.
That made me curious of what could become possible if we tweeted together, right after contemplating a question that mattered to us. I crafted a question expressing my passion, which worked as an attractor and inspired participation in spite the very short, 1-day notice. 8 Twitter users gathered in the “no place” of cyberspace on July 23, 2009, to embark on a co-tweeting experiment introduced with some minimalist instructions here.
The question that we put in the focus of our contemplation was this:
and affect positive change in consciousness and society?
This blogpost is the first installment of a report in 4 parts dealing with: A. what happened, B. what is the emergent story, C. what we learned from the experiment, and D. how we would improve the design of the next one.
So what has really happened in our contemplative twitterspace, on July 23?
First, the facts
The event’s participants included amysue102, cleeengel, duncanwork, davidhodgson, halamakarem, Mushin, PatrickMcN, and technoshaman. There were an unknown number of people outside the participants who have forwarded our tweets.
Prior to and after the event, there were two dozens people who messaged me about their time conflict and wanting to participate if we do another one in the future. According to twitteranalyzer.com, my tweets were viewed, the same day, 9961 times. That number doesn’t include how many times the tweets of the other players were read.
The whole time of our experiment was divided into the 4 rounds of 15 minutes, named as follows.
1. Contemplate the question
The 8 of us of contemplating the following question in our privacy, were doing that in 8 different locations in Belgium, Germany, Lebanon, and US.
2. Tweet about what you discovered in your contemplation
The 8 participants entered 37 tweets in 15 minutes. The whole set of them is included in the attached file: clustered list of co-tw1.doc
The pace of the event was rather calm than feverish. The average 5 tweets per person in 15 minutes reflects a much slower than possible rhythm of sending 140-character messages. I guess it has to do with the fact that some of us managed to remain in contemplative awareness of our breath and environment (e.g.: the voice of the birds singing outside) even while reading and writing tweets.
3. Read the tweets of others
This was a time for us to practice the contemplative in-take of the tweets written by all the other participants, and discovering patterns that connect the dots.
4. Synthesis tweets
In the last round the 8 participants entered 14 synthesis/evaluation tweets an 11 re-tweets. They are listed here: list of co-tw2 tweets.doc
Early follow up and post-event involvement
The follow up messages, posted as comments to the blog announcing the event, can be read here.
Amy Lenzo blogged about it in her own blog.
Mushin collected all the tweets and posted them in a Google document he set up for this purpose. His collection of the first series of tweets is here. The second series is here. Unlike my collection, in which I’ve chosen emphasize the overall gestalt, Mushin’s included the Twitter name of each tweet’s author.
Not only that, but in his collection each tweet has a live “Reply” link, so if you have a Twitter account and want to enter our stream, just click on it and share what that tweet evokes. If you a tweet strikes a particularly resonant chord in your heart and want to contribute to spreading it, you can “re-tweet” it by placing “RT” in front of the author’s name, as in this example: RT @Nurul54 …. .
In either case, please add to the end of your (re-)tweet the #cotw3 tag so that anybody can find those post-event tweets in one place, by clicking on the tag. If you do want to enter the stream by using the “Reply” link, do it ASAP because Twitter doesn’t store the tweets long and when they get out from the stream, the link will go dead.