Tweet for academic discourse

Everybody knows that I love social media and the access that it gives to news and views. When talking about Twitter many of my colleagues still snort with derision that they don’t care about what Lady Gaga had for breakfast. But Twitter (or micro-blogging in general) is about much more than that and this weekend I found another great example: The Sachs Thanksgiving Eve Twitter debate.

Amongst academic economists there is a debate raging about the deep determinants of economic growth and development. This year Acemoglu and Robinson’s book Why Nations Fail was read by everyone. They argue that inclusive economic and political institutions are the key to growth and development. In the process they also discount the geography explanations of the likes of Jared Diamond and Jeff Sachs.

Throughout the year there have been a number of reviews, commentaries and blog posts, but recently Sachs gave his review and then Acemoglu and Robinson responded. This lead to a big debate on Twitter on Thanksgiving eve. Tom Murphy of the Viewfromthecave blog made a Storify of the whole thing. Have a look at the story here.

It is worth it, even if you are not an economist nor interested in the drivers of development. It shows how Twitter can be used to share information and engage in conversation.

UPDATE: After writing this post I discovered nice Twitter resources on the Edutopia blog. Have a look at this Twitter in Education post. And Inside Higher Ed’s GradHacker blog has a good post on teaching with Twitter.

If you love Twitter as much as I do, please leave a comment on how you use the micro-blogging service. Or share some more resources.


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