First of all, I am going to just state that I have not used Twitter. Having said that, I do know what the tool is and have seen it used. I must admit that I am somewhat mystified as to why this tool is so popular with everyone.
These were the confused and mystified thoughts as I read a couple of posts on the Betchablog. In their post, they wrote, “My first thought about Twitter was the same as most people’s first thoughts about blogging… “Why?” Why on earth would anyone be at all interested in what I am doing right now? Who would care? The idea of taking the time to write a short sentence stating my current activity or thoughts, and sending them to who-knows-where just seemed to be totally bizarre to me. Not only that, but it seemed so inconvenient to have to go to the Twitter website just to do this… I simply couldn’t see what the attraction was.”
This was/is exactly what I think about Twitter. Now, the author did become a fan of twitter after having used it and listed their reasons and now there is wiffiti; a sort of cross between a wiki and a twitter. However, I still do not understand what the fuss is. Who has the time to do this? I don’t get to my computer enough during the school day to keep a Twitter going effectively. I have a hard enough time keeping my personal blog and my classblog going let alone get home to my wife after planning, etc to have some quality time. Having other educators commenting on your thoughts of the moment and sharing their thoughts is appealing. In our classrooms all day, it is sometimes hard to have conversations with other teachers that really reaches deep into the core of teaching and learning. So, having a group of educators at your fingertips you can follow and converse with is appealing. However, I believe that it is missing the meaningfulness of actual interactions that are longer than the instant, quick response twittering enables. Don’t we want to develop deeper understandings of what it means to educate and be an educator? Can we have those types of conversations in the small amount twittering allows us? Or are we moving more into what seems to be the domain of media where everything needs to be in quick soundbytes of information? Don’t we want to teach our students to reflect and develop deeper understandings? Can these be done using twitter? Me personally, I would rather spend the time trying to interact with other educators through e-mail, wiki’s or blogs.
The other thing I wonder about Twitter is how do we bring in the other educators who have just as much expertise and information to share but don’t want to be bombarded with constant messages. It’s too distracting. Sometimes I wonder if what we do as educational technologists is not so much bring ideas and learning together but increasingly seperate ourselves from those who don’t have as much skill with technology thus creating this division. I don’t think Twitter as a tool as to bring the two groups together.
Anyway, that’s my thought. I would love to be convinced otherwise. Maybe somebody out there can convince me.