The EDA Town & Gown Twitter Project – 100 Days of Glory
June 10th, 2009 by Peggy Aycinena
Raise your hand if you think Twitter’s really silly. Now raise your hand if you used to think Twitter was silly, but you’ve since changed your mind. That second group? That’s my group.
After registering for Twitter at John Blyer’s urging, way back in March, I didn’t think about it again until faced with the opportunity to Twitter about Chris Edward’s panel from the Exhibition Hall at DATE in April. What a hoot, and even better – what an easy way to make succinct notes that could be later recycled to produce content for EDA Weekly. After DATE, however, I didn’t think about Twitter again.
That was until the “XXX is now following you on Twitter!” messages started arriving in my email, which completely confused me. Why would anyone be following me on Twitter when I hadn’t posted anything of substance, hadn’t posted anything at all for weeks? It turns out that people on Twitter hunt for other people they know on Twitter and “follow” them in order to expand their own network. “Following” isn’t about me, it’s about them.
Meanwhile, I heard from Georgia Marzalek about somebody who posts whole recipes on Twitter, instructions in 140 characters or less sufficient to produce an entire dish. Meanwhile as well, I heard a comment from an EDA industry type that seemed distinctly dismissive of the EDA academic types, an unfortunate, ill-advised comment that rankled.
So, I added my lack of Tweets to the idea that lots of info could be packed into an itty bitty space, and combined that with the impression that the people connected to me on Twitter were mostly from EDA, plus my conviction that the academics and industry types together have created this industry, and voila!
The EDA Town & Gown Twitter Project
… was born. Why not commit 100 Days of Glory to profile 200 luminaries from EDA, half from industry and half of from academia? It took 140 seconds to decide to do it, and 140 minutes to prepare to launch it. Now 10 days and 2800 characters later, I’m completely enchanted by the effort. Like Twitter itself, The EDA T&G Twitter Project is a hoot and a holler.
Each day I pick two names from the treasure trove of people who have created, and continue to create, the stuff that makes this industry tick. I research their backgrounds, accomplishments, titles, and publications and create a 140-character bio. I try not to overlook any major data point on the luminary’s career trajectory and attempt to highlight, undoubtedly inaccurately at times, the most important of those points.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
* Try as I might to have established a consistent shorthand at the outset of the project, my shorthand is evolving with each passing day. The most recent bios are not composed in an identical manner to the earlier entries.
* You’d be surprised how much info can be shoehorned into 140 characters. Yeah, a lot of stuff is left out, but if you compare my Bio Tweets to the full-blown bios, you’ll see my entries are pretty content heavy. You may need to already know something about the person being profiled, but the info is definitely there and decipherable.
* From the outset, I decided not to rank the contributors profiled in The EDA T&G Twitter Project. Someone profiled in June, for instance, is not more important than someone profiled in July. It’s a random selection process, period.
* It’s actually hard sometimes to find a full online profile of some of the people I’m researching. If they made the jump from academia to industry, or vice versa, well into their career, the arc of their professional history can be suprisingly difficult to track.
* I’m pretty sure most of the people profiled will be folks with PhD’s, people who have authentically added to the technology itself. That’s not to imply, of course, that Marketing, Sales, HR, Accounting, Finance, Reception, and PR aren’t also important, but in general the unique aspects of EDA have come from those who have done doctoral-level work. I may run out of PhD’s to profile before the 100 Days of Glory are up, and if that happens I’ll turn to other household names in EDA and happily profile them as well.
* The EDA T&G Twitter Project requires a daily commitment to production. Now that I’m fully into the project, I look forward each day to the task. I see it as an opportunity, not an obligation.
Meanwhile, I owe a debt to my kids in all of this. The oldest only responds to email or voice mail. The middle one responds only to posts on Facebook. The youngest, however, only responds to text messages. He’s the one who’s taught me to abandon grammar, spelling, and convention if I really want to cram information and nuance into 140 characters or less. Truly inspirational stuff for the author of The EDA T&G Twitter Project: