Random Thoughts

Twitter a different conversation

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Twitter.comLast week while at the Second Life ISTE social hour someone brought up Twitter and “I don’t get it.”

So I took it upon myself to try and explain what makes Twitter so….should I say addicting.

I tried…and failed horribly, but it has had me thinking these past couple days, what is it about Twitter that makes it so interesting.

Twitter is kind of a mash up of blogging and instant messaging I’ve decided. It has the conversation feel of a blog conversation as people post links, talk about what they are working on in their schools, or personal lives, and allows for a asyncroness conversation to take place. It has the feel of IMing because you choose your friends, post in short 140 character bursts and the use of symbols such as @ and D are used to continue a conversation with one or more people.

I have found Twitter useful on many occasions when I’m looking for help or am stuck on a project. Earlier this year my Twitter network helped me through my troubles with Moodle. Yesterday I send a twit help for presentation topics for the k12online conference (presentations are do June 18th). My Twitter network kicked into action and within 20 minutes I had 4 great ideas of things I could present on. If I would have blogged about it I would have had to wait for people to check their RSS feeds and respond, if they had time, and offer suggestions. I could have IMed people but Twitter let me ask my 60 friends with one message. Those that wanted to respond did, those that couldn’t help go one their marry way.

Twitter is another conversation…different, interesting, and I think allows you to get to know people on a different level. I learn about son and daughter baseball games, who likes to BBQ, and who has playground duty this week. Of course I keep my twit friends up to day on Mariner scores. šŸ™‚

I understand that Twitter is not for everyone. But I am finding it increasingly helpful. I don’t have a twitter badge on my blog because I feel as though it’s a separate conversation that doesn’t really add to my blog in any way.

Because of this asyncroness man- to-one conversation that Twitter allows there are some very interesting ways to use it. I am looking forward to using it in our upcoming Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai, and am thinking of a way that we might be able to use it as a technology department next year. We are 8 people across 6 schools on two campuses 2 hours apart. It might be interesting to see if something like Twitter would allow us to stay in contact, help each other out, and improve our communication.

With being able to use it on your cell phone I can picture some uses for it in the classroom as well. With kids able to answer questions via a text that appears on a teachers twitter account. You would have the name of the student, their answer and be able to give them personal feedback with a direct twit.

These networks that allows many-to-one communication are going to continue to grow in popularity I reckon, as we continue to want to stay connected and want different conversation vehicles. Anyway you slice it many-to-one communication can work in the classroom. After all isn’t that what a teacher does on a daily bases?

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Twitter could be used help create a class journal. Something that is quickly updated every 15 minutes to a half hour or so (and then fed into a more comprehensive blogging tool like tumblr).

    I think it would be cool in a 1 to 1 environment to have students (or conference goers) take notes through twitter, and to post those moments when they tune out. It would be cool to analyze the data patterns, and see what they’re getting out of the presentation.

  2. I wasn’t really ready to find Twitter worth the effort, but you gave me something to think about. This could be an alternative to response systems, one students already have on them.

  3. I have used Twitter, made friends, acquired some followers, the whole trip… and I STILL don’t get it. I can’t see why anyone would be interested in the fact that I have just eaten a ham on rye or that I’m struggling to finish a document by close of play today (which I am, by the way – so I’d best get back to it!).

    I can’t think of anything earth-shattering and stand-alone to say in 140 characters!

  4. For me twitter is all about relationship. It’s funny that a bunch of folks in SL (which is a program many other folks don’t “get” were talking about twitter, which alot of other folks don’t “get” either.

    The irony is fantastic.


  5. As a future teacher I think Twitter could develop into something for the classroom, but I wonder about the 140 character limit. That is only a couple of sentences, and yes I do suppose that this could be very good, especially when students have questions. A student could post the question and then the reply could be seen by all of the students, because as we all know most of the time more than one student has that same question, but they are too afraid to ask. I am not exactly sure if that is how it works, but I am definitely going to look into this some more. You could even just keep the students updated on what is coming up in class, what they can work on when they have completed activities, etc. so the whole class doesn’t feel rushed or interrupted when completing assignments or projects. It would be perfect for a computer classroom, but could also be helpful to parents of students. The parents could ask questions or see throughout the day what the students are up to if the teacher keeps the twitter updated. Twitter could become the most up-to-date way to know what is going on, because it is short, sweet, and to the point!

  6. Pingback: What is Twitter Anyway? « REMC News

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