To tweet or not to tweet

addictive twitter by carrotcreative on flickr.com

addictive twitter by carrotcreative on flickr.com

I have views on something I have never used.   There are a plethora of blog posts out there (eg pockets of change and once a teacher) that extol the virtues of this new social networking phenomenon.  For those still in the dark about what Twitter is, check out this talk from Evan Williams, the co-founder.

I am finding it hard to convince myself to take the plunge into the world of tweets.  I am partly unconvinced of its uses, and partly afraid of what it might unleash.  I cannot imagine why I would want to tell the world – in 140 characters or less – what I am doing at any given moment, or why I would want to know what anyone else is doing.  Why oh why would I choose to follow someone?  I don’t care that someone I have never met is about to go to a meeting, or get on a plane, or turn in for the night.  It seems a tad voyeuristic to me.  This is from someone who has so far resisted facebook or myspace.  Countless people have tried in vain to convince me to use it.  Yes, I can appreciate some advantages, especially for those of us living apart from many family and friends, but it boils down to this:  I am already in touch with the people I want to keep in touch with.  I don’t want to hear from someone I used to sit behind in primary school, or the person who lived in the dorm room down the hall at university.  If I did, they would already be in my contacts list.  I don’t have the time to see all the people I want to see in the flesh, let alone devote more time to folks online.  And Twitter seems to compound this issue.

Despite this post that describes several ingenious ways to use Twitter in the classroom, I remain skeptical.

And then I read this article which explains how Twitter was used to attempt to locate and save lives during a skiing tragedy… so maybe there is something in it … maybe in the new era of web 2.0, natural selection will favour those with the most followers on Twitter, friends on facebook or contacts on skype.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “To tweet or not to tweet

  1. precisionqueenb

    Like you, I remain skeptical as well.

  2. Nadine,
    Twitter is hard to wrap your head around until you start using it. If you can commit to it for 3 weeks, I really do think you’ll be convinced of its usefulness. It’s not necessarily that you’re telling people when you’re getting on a plane or eating dinner, but that you’re discussing with educators on the other side of the planet what kind of assessment might work best for that video project you’re having your kids complete. Or, you’re finding another class that can give feedback to your students on the wiki they’ve created. Or, you’re finding someone who is an expert on biochemical engineering who is willing to be Skyped into your classroom as a special guest.

    I can say without hesitation that Twitter has been the single most important resource in my professional development in the last year. I have learned more through my network than anywhere else. Period.

  3. dickinsonn

    @Adrienne
    You make a compelling argument…. and you are not the first to try to convince me. I think I am at the stage where I simply cannot take on board anything extra right now. I know I should give it a go, and see if it works for me, and keep an open mind. Perhaps I should also be realistic in setting aside time for this to happen – once the G12 students have left and I am not swamped, for instance. I appreciate the feedback 🙂
    Nadine

  4. pekina

    I agree with you Nadine, it is a lot to take in – there are so many ways of connecting with others, which do we choose. I guess it is all about purpose. If the technology serves a useful purpose to enhance whatever it is you are doing – educational or otherwise – then it is useful. The technology becomes invisible. However if we are simply joining the bandwagon to keep up with the latest software or program then we need to think twice. There is a lot of chatter that seems nothing more than noise…….so when it hits saturation point and you cannot possibly read, link, blog, twitter, facebook, e-mail, text, tubely (got invited to that one today???) then give yourself permission to log off. My mantra is to maintain the balance. Less is more. Silence is truly golden!

  5. wycombewinaway

    Twitter to me seems to be a worldwide version of the reality show big brother. If their are educational values in Twitter they would be difficult to find between the goodnights and i’m cooking pasta entries.

  6. contej

    I’m, with you here Nadine,
    I haven’t been able to understand the fascination that some people can have with sites such as Facebook. A friend showed me his facebook and i wasn’t grabbed by it at all. I really don’t care if someone has gone to the beach and I wouldn’t expect them to care what I do. I just don’t get it.

  7. contej

    Twitter disseminates information.
    http://digihub.smh.com.au/node/336

  8. I’ve used Twitter off an on for a bit now, and it’s going to end up in my junk drawer.

    It’s cute, it’s quick, and it’s distracting. It’s true Twitter disseminates information. So does the chirp of a cricket on a summer’s eve.

    Life’s finite–you makes your picks and take your chances.

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