Conference ICL2009 September 23 -25, 2009 Villach, Austria2(6)
networks, wherein the same metrics can be applied. Assuming we could connect socialnetworks with artefacts networks, preserving the context and semantic relations between usersand artefacts, we could obtain
(AANs) . AANs providecomprising information about the linking between users and artefacts and thus supply deeperunderstanding of how communities use artefacts for object-centered sociality. Furthermore itis from research interest to analyse the dynamics of both social and artefact networks, in orderto understand how communities emerge, evolve and break up.In this paper the following research question is addressed: “
How can we track and visualise the dynamics of written communication within a community?”
The main focus is thecentre of attention of the investigated community. We developed an application to persist andanalyse communication from the microblogging service Twitter
and present a prototypicalvisualisation of the dynamics in communities.
Microblogging and PLEs
In this section we introduce the concept of microblogging and show use cases for itsapplication in various domains. Besides this, informal learning in PLEs and mashups arediscussed.
Templeton  characterizes microblogging as “
a small-scale form of blogging, generallymade up of short, succinct messages, used by both consumers and businesses to share news, post status updates and carry on conversations
” and Owyang  describes the differencebetween blogs and microblogs as follows: “
[...] long form blog posts like this seem so muchslower and plodding compared to how quickly information can come and go in Twitter. [...] Information within Microblogging communities [...] encourage rapid word of mouth – of both positive and negative content
”. In a nutshell, microblogging offers a platform for the fastexchange of thoughts, ideas and artefacts.Twitter is the most commonly used service for microblogging and gained a lot of attention in the last three years (e.g. during the inauguration of President Obama). WithTwitter the user is allowed to send messages with a maximum of 140 characters. Thesemessages, so-called tweets, can be public or private, can be directed to one or more Twitterusers (identified by the @ sign) and can deal with certain topics (identified by the # sign). Byusing a hashtag in tweets it is easy to aggregate all tweets dealing with the same topic (e.g. aconference, brand, course or political party). Java et al.  discern four main types for usingmicroblogging services: I) Daily Chatter, II) Conversations, III) Sharing information and IV)Reporting news. Templeton  uses three categories to itemise the possible usage types of microblogging: a) Microsharing, b) Micromessaging and c) Micrologging. There are manifoldreasons why and use-cases for a service “
we didn’t know we needed until we had it
” , thatis supposed to be “
”  and addictive.
2.2 Microblogging in the context of PLE mashups
Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) denote systems that help learners to control andmanage their learning in an individual way. Typically the supported learning processes arerather informal and unstructured. Informal learning is characterized as a process that does notfollow a specified curriculum but rather happens by accident, sporadically and naturallyduring daily interactions and shared relationships. Or as Holford et al.  put it: Informallearning is defined as “
Learning resulting from daily life activities related to work, family or leisure. It is not structured (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support)
http://twitter.com/ (last viewed on 2009-08-19)
ICL 2009 Proceedings - Page 784