When you get off the elevator on the second floor of the Rider Building you see a small plasma display hanging there that typically has a Twitter stream of ETS staff displayed on it. It is cool to see and I often notice people walking by and stopping to read what is visible. It gives an interesting view into some of the activity happening in and around our office.
If you've been to an education technology conference worth its weight then you have probably seen something similar -- someone has set up a Twitter account so people can be followed by the event and their back channel stuff can be displayed live as people move around the event. Good enough and a smart way to get a crowd sourced idea of what is happening at the moment.
I've wanted something that goes beyond just the standard Twitter stream to use at our annual TLT Symposium, but haven't wanted to take the time to build something that aggregates more of the social stuff together -- Tweets, pictures, links, etc. This weekend I stumbled across a new feature by the folks at Brightkite ... they call it The Wall. The Wall is a simple to setup tool that gives you a way to aggregate content posted to the Brightkite network into a very simple full screen view. It gives you the option of using the location of the event as the determining factor -- which is nice, b/c once you check in with Brightkite that you are in a certain place, all your updates are counted ... no need to use a hastag or anything else. You can also choose a search term which I admittedly didn't try out (but plan to) as well as person stream. Take a look below to see what I mean ...
Once it is setup, in my case, I choose to use a location -- State College, PA. When I launched my Wall I was surprised to see activity talking about the Blogs at Penn State from someone I know, but who isn't in my network. It was very cool. It even pulls in pictures posted to Brightkite from people checked in at that location. Have a look ...
This will be a great addition to the Twitter stuff at any event, but the
issue still exists of asking people to create a Brightkite account. I think you can join in via texting to the site ... check out the Wall for 16801 and give it a try. But, now think of how cool it could be in a class where you have much more more control over the networks that your students post to. A Wall featuring updates in one spot would be very attractive to help bind community. I'd be interested in hearing other ways this could work. I am very attracted to the mash up of location, community, and content ... I wonder if it works to drive additional context for a community?
Update: BTW, I have 15 invites for Brightkite. If you want one, just leave a comment.