If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Twitter Attempts

I want to be able to twitter. No, really I do. I started trying a few weeks ago and then quickly gave up as this grant has consumed everything in its path. But I've been thinking it should actually be easier to twitter than to blog when I'm busy. So I'm trying again. I think I'll post my twitter account on the sidebar if you want to try following along.

Let me explain why I want to like to twitter (or tweet....I'm still not sure about the grammar ramifications of all of this). I'm all about the details. My love of the mundane details of life is why I started this blog and it is why I named it dirt and rocks. I have always gotten lost in the details. I find I take them far more seriously than most people around me. I can't remember names and dates (historical, that is) but I can remember every grimy detail of my last committee meeting. I often become the "walking memory" of whatever group I'm in.

When I write fiction there is little-to-no big action--just the day-to-day stuff that slowly builds into characters and something that resembles a plot. Where other people's private journals are filled with emotional highs and lows mine are filled with straightforward accounts of how I spent my day. Worse yet, I actually enjoy going back and reading them. Reading the small details brings back the emotions and connects me to the sensory experience in a way that describing them doesn't. The memory feels more genuine than one that is evoked by interpretation.

Part of my research is focused on the moment-to-moment of individual lives (especially how individuals live their lives in relation to others). I'm a huge fan of ecological momentary assessments, which is a technique for collecting survey data in the moment. Similar to daily diaries, I have my participants walk around with PDAs that go off randomly. They then fille out a survey and tell me what they are doing at that moment. Sounds kind of like Twitter, don't you think?


Psycgirl said...

Wait. Wait.
Instead of my participants doing their online daily surveys I could have them TWITTER! (or tweet?)
You are a genius. Pure genius :)

MsPrufrock said...

I thought Twitter was ridiculous at first, but I really do love it now I must say. I do like reading about the minutiae of peoples' lives, and if they don't like reading about mine they can unfollow me.

Following you now! Er, on Twitter that is.

meldoesgradschool said...

I had never considered how similar having participants fill out surveys either at random or more event-driven times is to tweeting (or twittering - I don't know the grammatical rules either... so confusing)! But that's such a great thought... I've worked on research dealing with psychological energy (so perceptions more than actual) and we used palm pilots and horrible software (that's a year of my life I won't be getting back any time soon), but I've been moving towards thinking and researching the creation of people's personal narratives - a sort of combination of I-O, Occupational Health, and Clinical interventions - how they form and what role they might take in resiliency (intervention) research. We just submitted a grant that's tangentially related to it to NIH for the same... luckily I had the mini-college grant and the professor had the giant scary one! But good luck... you've definitely given me a lot to think about with the Twitter/daily diary study comparison... cool idea and thanks!