Why being active on Twitter is like can be like playing brain games to increase awareness, perception and intelligence
Among the Social Media sites Twitter stands out as unique for its short 140 Tweets (micro blogs) and totally visual presentation. While other social media sites rush to incorporate video, music, groups, games, and other applications, Twitter execs keep plodding along ignoring possible competition and just being twitter. Twitter is all sight, no sound, no video, and as its screen based so smell or taste – just messages with 140 characters.
According to Wikipedia : “Intelligence (also called intellect ) is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.”
Recent scientific discoveries in neuroscience have shown that a healthy human brain can continue to grow, by adding more connections and even mass throughout one’s lifetime. People can actually gain intelligence. What makes the difference is how one uses one’s brain on an ongoing basis. Stimulated, challenged and learning brains grow.
Spending time interacting on Twitter on an ongoing basis can foster growth in many kinds of intelligence.
Spatial, Visual and Kinetic Intelligence
Twitter is the most immediately interactive of all the major social media sites. Whether a person uses Twitter straight from the web or via a cell phone or ipad or other reading device the stream continues to move along. Blink and one may miss important information or a link, a great joke –or a comment in a fascinating conversation between other members.
Much like forms of instant messaging and chat, people hold real time conversations on Twitter. However, as the stream keeps moving the Twitter member must make quick decisions as whether and what to reply. This means that the type of viewing Twitter requires is not passive, but active and engaged. This is the type of viewing most aware and best suitable for learning.
Messaging back brings in the tactile or kinetic component as the Twitterer must use a keyboard and mouse quickly to message or copy and ReTweet (RT) someone’s message as the stream keeps relentlessly rolling along with new messages. While doing this many Twitters, have a second Twitter screen open to keep an eye out for other messages pertinent to the conversation while quickly composing one’s own reply.
This quick back and forth finding, reviewing and responding to several visual sources of scrolling information promotes greater skill with spatial, visual and kinetic (the typing) information. In a way this visually mirrors actively participating in a sport where one must follow a moving target, ball or player, access the situation and then take action in response.
Every great artist knows the luxury of rules and limits. Constraints foster creativity, as one seeks to get around them or at least transform them through one’s choices.
The Twitter rule of 140 characters per Tweet fosters creativity. One’s best idea or comment must be condensed to 140 characters and if one is in a conversation this must happen quickly. Plus if the message has a chance of being RTed and going viral, the maximum it can be is 128 characters. This extra shortening leaves space for one’s own Twitter ID, such as mine, @judyrey, plus the letters RT and a space.
The 140 character rule has prompted many creative abbreviations and terms within the Twitter community. For instance, the hashtag (#) sign is used to congregate messages on a topic, such as #pray4 or the most popular one, #TCOT (Top Conservatives On Twitter). Using a site such as http://search.twitter.com or http://tweetchat.com one can follow the separate # conversation much like a chat room.
While Twitter also incorporates texting abbreviations, terms, apps and many hash tag abbreviations are subset of English unique to Twitter, which fosters language learning skills.
Interpersonal and Emotional Intelligence
Twitter is a social site that fosters relationships. Aside from the celebrities and gurus who are followed for obvious reasons, the people who have the most followers often follow back and busily interact and build relationships. Just as in any real village, people who are popular are helpful, interested in other people, fun and busily interacting with others.
In order to explain #TCOT above, I turned to the Twitter stream at about 2 AM EDT on a Sunday evening and asked, “ What does #TCOT actually stand for T C O T? Needed for an apolitical blog article on Twitter & how it can promote intelligence.”
Within a minute I had five replies. Twitter helps bring people together and fosters relationships.
What is interesting is that I have not had any or much of a relationship with these specific Twitter members prior to asking this question. Partially, this is due to the time I asked it. Yet a reply came in from another member I have conversed with asking that I tell her answer to what TCOT is as she has wondered also.
As the information flowed in the stream as I publicly thanked those who replied, members who follow me and were present saw the interaction from my side and were introduced to the IDs of these Tweople.
No one in the Twitter village drives a really fancy vehicle, lives in a mansion, dresses well, or has any real world trappings that can impress someone. It’s impossible to show any of that in the stream. Everyone is reduced to using 140 characters, one avatar (which can be changed, but only one at a time), plus one bio page and URL link; that’s all, there is no visible gold, glitter or bling.
Tweets enter into the stream in an orderly fashion on a first come first served real time way. It is impossible to out shout, shove or bully anyone in the stream. Each tweet is just as loud and has the same space and visual importance as any other. Whatever one’s race, sex or creed, everyone gets a chance and is accorded the same space.
People who have a victim or nasty attitude soon either change their ways or discover that they have few followers and few people who are willing to engage in conversation with them. Their messages are not RTed.
Although there’s no body language and the only Twitter visual aids are each user’s avatar and whatever is used for a background on their Twitter Bio page, after a while people one follows become easier to read. It is a process that takes time. This can be a social learning lesson for those who tend to rush into relationships full steam. On Twitter it’s easy to spot obsessive behavior—even one’s own.
Everyone can easily see who follows who and how many people follow each member. Moreover, every single message tweeted is kept in a log of updates, which is also open to every other Twitter member. Thus, Twitter naturally fosters transparency.
Since the majority of conversations must occur in the stream as Twitter has limits for the number of direct messages allowed we witness each others behavior. The people who are successful on Twitter, who use it to foster relationships, including ones for business are opening doing their thing. Anyone can learn how to interact, spot phonies and users by watching and participating on Twitter.
Using lists means a person may have three or more streams moving simultaneously as one interacts in several conversations on different topics with different members of the Twitter village at the same time. It’s a visual and metal juggling act that top Twitters with many followers who follow back many have learned to do well.
In prior generations men and women hunted for game, watching for movement or searched for food to gather. Visually Twitter supplies some of our natural need or enjoyment for spying out discoveries or even prey.
Visual and Logical Intelligence
Thus just following the Twitter stream forces a person to concentrate, skim relevant information, and make quick appropriate choices as to what links to follow, bookmark for a later time (by using a favorites star) or ignore.
This is the type of information sorting teachers try to instill when explaining how to take outline notes – only on Twitter the information seems more relevant than classroom learning ever did. Increasing one’s recognition of what is important and what is less so is a way to directly increase functional intelligence.
Twitter for Learning
Like a book, Twitter lacks sound, and so mimics a streamed book current life in its stream of ongoing Tweets.
Many of the Tweets contain links to articles that range from fast breaking news to arcane knowledge. Information can be found on health, child-rearing, business, investing, the arts, religion, self help, books, and of courses how to use Twitter. At times Hanging out on Twitter can seem like a stroll through a library where links in Tweets are book titles.
Using Twitter to Increase Intelligence is Fun!
Studies in neuroscience continue to indicate the benefits of mental challenges, especially those that involve the perception of vision, socializing and social networks, hand eye coordination exercises, etc.
Twitter can be so much fun and so interesting that it has not been noticed as a brain enhancing tool. Brain enhancement was not the purpose or goal of Twitter’s founders, but Twitter definitely succeeds at it when a member uses it to interact and build community. Community is what sets Twitter apart from other brain enhancing programs on the web as on Twitter one is never alone.
Judy Rey Wasserman is the founder of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory at http://ungravenimage.com. Discover how this new way of painting using symbols for strokes can actually change your vision by adding visual memories we normally lack to your brain. This in turn has an amazing and freeing effect in relation to unwanted, negative and creative emotions. See more at http://artofseeingthedivine.com.
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Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]
Tags: brain, brain games, emotional intelligence, Follow, Followers, increase intelligence, intelligence, learning games, microblogging, social media, spatial intelligence, Tweet, Twitter, visual intelligence