creativity · play · Social · writing

Play ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ On Twitter

My coworkers and I were just talking about Choose Your Own Adventure books the other day. I hated them, but most people liked them a lot. Now, someone has created a version of CYOA on Twitter.

As  one author points out,

“I am pleased to see interesting uses of Twitter to tell a narrative in a way I might actually consume.”

These are a little more dark than the kid’s versions, but still interesting.

Eden notes that he’s not by any means the first person to try and conduct a CYOA story via Twitter, but he’s the first person we’ve seen try and do it in a fully self-contained way – most use tweets to link to external URLs to continue the story or make choices. The downside of this is that each link cuts down on the amount of the story that can be told in a single tweet. It also ends up with users being redirected all over the place, so the chances of finishing it are probably slimmer.

We’re not going to ruin the story for you, but if you have a few minutes to spare and fancy trying to get through the story without meeting a grisly ending, then you can do so at the starting point above.

try it out via Play ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ On Twitter.

I agree this is a great use of the platform to tell stories in an interactive, fun way, and play of people’s nostalgia for the book series.

architecture · creativity · culture · environment · work

Twitter to Install 19th Century Log Cabins in its SF Headquarters | Inhabitat

Do you think better in a small, cozy place, or something a little more rustic than modern offices? Twitter now has got its employees covered in that department.

Employees at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters will soon have a chance to tap their creativity inside repurposed 19th century log cabins. The tech company has made a plan to install two homesteader cabins salvaged from historic ranches in Montana. The cabins will be installed within an open area in the headquarters, and serve as a creativity-inducing dining area.

The cabins, which are nicknamed Stanford and Belt to honor the Montana towns they were sourced from, will join other salvaged materials in the Twitter offices. Twitter’s logos throughout the office are made from reused California license plates, and the reception desk is made from salvaged bowling alley planks.

Like other tech companies in Silicon Valley, Twitter’s office is chock full of gimmicky but enjoyable features to inspire its employees. The refurbished office includes a yoga studio, rooftop garden, arcade and culinary treats like a cupcake shop, all clad in salvaged wood. The cabins are expected to be installed in the coming weeks.

more via Twitter to Install 19th Century Log Cabins in its SF Headquarters | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building, or from its source CBS.

Going into a novel space, or even a space that feels special, can really boost creativity and/or help people focus on a project. It can also help to have some place quiet and private to concentrate and really dive in to something, whether it’s a log cabin at work or just a small “phone booth” style room.

What small, perhaps quirky, space do you use for yourself to get work done? Let us know about it in the comments below.

behavior · emotion · happiness

Moods on Twitter Follow Biological Rhythms, Study Finds – NYTimes.com

social media
Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

It’s Friday, and I’m looking forward to the weekend, and apparently so is the rest of the online world. A team of sociologists measured the amount of “happy” tweets people put out around the world, and found it matched previously known patterns of happiness trends:

Drawing on messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries, researchers discovered that the emotional tone of people’s messages followed a similar pattern not only through the day but also through the week and the changing seasons. The new analysis suggests that our moods are driven in part by a shared underlying biological rhythm that transcends culture and environment.

The report, by sociologists at Cornell University and appearing in the journal Science, is the first cross-cultural study of daily mood rhythms in the average person using such text analysis. Previous studies have also mined the mountains of data pouring into social media sites, chat rooms, blogs and elsewhere on the Internet, but looked at collective moods over broader periods of time, in different time zones or during holidays.

via Moods on Twitter Follow Biological Rhythms, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

Studying emotions through Twitter and other social media can always be a little tricky (for example, most algorithms don’t get sarcasm). But, that aside, I am very intrigued to see the results that market researchers and sociologists are finding using social media, and seeing how much our “real” lives are accurately reflected in our online worlds as well.

education · learning · school

Using Modern Technology to Teach Old Lessons

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I saw technology in the classroom change even during my twenty-plus years as a student, from slide projectors to overhead projectors with the write-on plastic to laptops with a projector plugged into a USB port. My elementary class was probably one of the last for which it was still okay to turn in a hand-written paper; I think by 6th grade it was expected you had to type it out, either at home or on one of the school’s four-colored Apple computers. As school evolves, so does technology. While some are skeptical of change, others embrace it:

Los Angeles history teacher Enrique Legaspi… went to a workshop that discussed ways to use Twitter in teaching and now his students—even the shy ones—at Hollenbeck Middle School in East L.A. are speaking up more.

In the video [below], you can watch Legaspi teach a World War I lesson, and hear him explain how Twitter has revolutionized discussions, helped him know more about his shy students, and modify his instruction to meet their needs.

more via Twitter in the Classroom: Watch This Teacher Engage Shy Students in Learning History – Education – GOOD.

I’m still ambivalent towards using technology for technology’s sake, especially when it comes to school and learning. However, I also understand how hard it can be to engage kids in learning, and I’m open to using different tools, even if it’s Twitter. I’m curious what other experience teachers and educators have had with using technology.

*Edit:* This experiment is also interesting in light of recent surveys that say Gen Y students don’t actually use Twitter all that much: http://t.co/eEOohph via @jeffbullas.

anthropology · behavior · community · emotion · happiness · Social

The State of Happiness in Washington State

Well, I was having a good day…but enough about me, what’s going on in with the rest of the world? Pretty miserable stuff, actually: Libyan rebels, Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown, the government shut down barely avoided…well, how are individual states doing? Now we know! A map on alexdavies.net used Twitter to determine just how happy each of our fifty nifty states are. Illinois seems darned happy. Washingtonians are – apparently only kinda sorta happy. From the Seattle PI:

On a scale of one to 42 — where one is ecstatically mirthful — Washington state has a happiness index of 21. In other words, it could go either way.

A map from alexdavies.net uses Twitter keywords to pinpoint just how positive or negative states are.

So, if lots of people are using words like “love” and “amazing” when they tweet, their states might get a better ranking.

Oddly enough, sad words for Washington include “Phillies” and “presale,” according to the site. “Starcraft” and “gentleman” also show up as negative words.

Read more at alexdavies.net.