Thursday, January 22, 2009
Thoughts on Twitter, Twenty Days in
I am now 20 days in Twittering, which, in this day of overnight revolution, is an eternity. Here are my thoughts:
• The tool is versatile... it's obviously evolved from what its creators intended. But this Frankenstein's monster is by no means threatening. What originally was used to post what you were currently doing has now become a sharing-place for websites, a forum for conversations, places for polls, ways to ask for help, and much more.
• That said, I'm not that good at Twittering yet. Probably the 140 character max is stretching me to be concise, but I'm also finding that I'm leeching more than I'm contributing (it's hard for me to justify "retweeting" when my handful of followers are already following my sources).
• That said, I'm finding much more through Twitter than I found from my blog and delicious feeds. Following those like Angela Maiers, @prodev, @etalbert and others who contribute dozens of handpicked resources a week streamlines my search process.
• If you are wondering what is going on with things like "retweeting" and those @ signs, this is an excellent primer.
• There are a lot of educators twittering. For a starting list, check out Twitter4Teachers. But from there, check who they are following, and expand your collection.
• The networking speed and capabilities are amazing. I don't feel like I'm contributing that much, and yet there are people out of the blue who somehow find me and start following. Interesting to think your thoughts have applicability in areas other than education.
• One of which is Charles Grassley, who is putting our other federal-level legislators to shame with his progressive use of Twitter. Kudos to him (and other senators) for using the medium.
• Want an example of a revolutionary tool? Just a few years back, people were marvelling at the speed the blogosphere revealed the Rathergate episode that would have taken the traditional media a long time to expose (if at all). Today... the blogosphere is slow compared to the twittersphere. Check out this summary of the breaking via Twitter of the downed Hudson River airplane.
• I'm thinking I was wrong. I originally thought of the tool as high potential for teachers via a Personal Learning Network, but not offering much for classrooms. Not true. And, not true. And again, not true:
Coupling this with mobile technology and a digital curriculum, and Twitter is a great tool for students and teachers alike. I'm moving it up in my "tools" discussions with educators.