Deep Thoughts

Tweet Jamming: The Fun Inherent in Asynchronicity

On May 9, 2019, I participated in my first “Tweet Jam”. What glorious chaos! The topic was the upcoming Identiverse conference, and the goal was to get people thinking about the topics that will be touched on during the week of the conference itself.

What is Tweet Jamming?

Tweet jamming is a structured and yet free-flowing conversation on Twitter with all responses scrolling by at different times. This means you never actually knew what response was going to pop up on your screen at any given moment. Each response had the potential to spin off into a random direction (we ended with zombies) or dive deeper into the technical details. It was a glorious chaos that, fortunately, anyone can go back and review to find some gems in the conversation. Just search “#identiverse” on Twitter and head back to May 9, 2019.

Favorite Topics

One of the themes I particularly interested in included considering identity-related technologies in a fully global context. How do people access services online in Africa? In Asia? It’s a very different paradigm. Any technology that’s going to be truly successful needs to take those different use cases into account. Case in point: my colleagues in Africa tell me that it is most common to access the Internet via mobile phones. People often turn off mobile phones, however, to conserve power in an unreliable power grid situation, and they may share a single phone with multiple family members. A student may well use his parent’s phone to do research for school, while the parent uses it to pay bills or purchase services. Will self-sovereign identity models take that scenario into account? What about biometrics? WebAuthn?

Question 5 has become fascinating to me, if only in retrospect. (My answer at the time was ‘No. And, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”‘),

I’ll be going back to study this thread. Does what the other jammers said match the logic behind San Francisco‘s move to ban law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology? Maybe that government, at least, is here to help.

Wrap Up

The Tweet Jam was thought provoking, fun, and definitely an interesting tool to get people thinking about the topics for a conference. This is a technique worth applying to other conferences where the expected attendees have a strong presence on Twitter. I wonder if one could do something similar on Instagram…

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