I admit it. I’m coming late to the Twitter party.
While I’ve had an account and played around with the microblogging service for a couple of years, for the most part I’ve only watched how others have been using it.
But following NECC San Antonio last month I decided to give Twitter a real, honest try (probably the third or fourth restart for me) and am discovering both positives and negatives to the time spent tweeting.
First there’s the addictive nature of participating in multiple conversations, not to mention the thought monologues, both mundane and interesting (into which category do I put the stream of consciousness about the Chicago Cubs? :-)
I’m calling that a plus for now. But Will, who has much more direct experience than I do, is thinking the 140 thought bursts may be detracting from writing longer, more thoughtful blog posts.
At least fifty commenters jumped into the discussion, many of them undoubtably attracted by a tweet linking to the entry.
On the other side of the coin there’s the seemingly endless technical problems – server overloads, system outages, strange behavior – which makes the site somewhat unreliable.
In that last category is yesterday’s burp in which my list of following and followers got chopped by a random 3/4. A day later, everything seems to be back in place.
So, despite the glitches, I’m beginning to understand Twitter as a tool for discussion and a link to the members of a community, blogging crossed with IM.
Coming more slowly is how this tool could be used in teaching and learning, a topic of regular buzz among educators online.
However, Sylvia seems to think that may be the wrong approach and instead we should look at how people use Twitter as a metaphor for learning itself.
The “feeling” of Twitter may actually be what many educators hope to encourage in an inquiry-driven, project-based classroom. The thrill of getting an unexpected answer to your exact question. The ability to choose when to jump in and when to hang back. The excitement of an intellectual gauntlet thrown down and picked up.
Ok, so I guess I have more to learn from Twitter. And especially from the people I follow on that network.