A few evenings ago, Connor Boyack and I were returning from a blogger briefing at the Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, when we began talking about the upcoming LDS General Conference. He mentioned that for the last couple of General Conferences he had tweeted his thoughts on twitter. I had just about given up on twitter in favor of facebook, but his idea piqued my interest. For the next couple of days I tweeted my thoughts as I listened to various talks from the April 2009 Conference.
And I was hooked. Twitter has now found its firm niche in my internet toolbag.
It used to be that I wrote notes in a notebook. That was helpful, but I never looked at those notes again. More recently, I've typed my notes into a document on my laptop. That at least helps me concentrate, but it seems not to have generated as many insights as actually tweeting my thoughts.
I must admit that I didn't control very well the other variables in my experiment. For one, my my wife and I went to the Provo, Utah LDS Temple a couple of days ago as a means of preparation for a more spiritually insightful conference (which, by the way, has worked marvelously). And the fact that I've been greatly looking forward to using twitter to collect and express my thoughts beneath the #ldsconf hash-tag umbrella has had an effect on the outcome.
But here are the things I like about twitter.
- When I merely take notes, I more often just rehash (sometimes almost verbatim) what Church leaders speak about. However, when I use twitter, it's much more likely that I (a) put it in my own words, and (b) explain what I've learned from it.
- There is something much more gratifying about sharing my thoughts with a wide audience in much the same way that I can with my family around the dinner table between and after sessions.
- When I tweet, I know that several others are tweeting about the same thing. Therefore, I have to think more deeply in order to be able to contribute something unique to the conversation.
- It's much easier to go back over my #ldsconf notes and find out (a) what I learned and (b) what the favorite things that I learned are.