Still trying to explain Twitter



I’m only just becoming organically immersed in Twitter, but when asked to explain it, I’d rather point to the excellent slideshow Wesley Fryer included in his 13 September 08 post.  Wesley summarises the 3 learning outcomes of Twitter, as outlined by the South African creator of the slideshow, Maggie Verster:

  • Communicate using a micro-blogging system
  • Update your status
  • Create a learning network

Some people are still sceptical about the value of Twitter outside of banal chit-chat, but in light of Maggie’s outcomes, I think they should challenge themselves to give Twitter a second, more serious look.

The hardest part, for me, was to connect to a meaningful network, and that always requires initial hard work and staying power. A little like developing readership and comments for blogs. Once you do that, the rewards are apparent. Previously, I subscribed to a teacher librarian network, ‘oztl_net’, and that worked well for a time, but the advantages of Twitter are the global connection, the updated status which connects to the person in real time, the fantastic stream of links, the fluid conversation.

I’m interested to hear from others what Twitter means to them, or why they have avoided Twitter.


Filed under 21st century learning, debate, internet, networking, technology, Web 2.0

10 responses to “Still trying to explain Twitter

  1. dskmag

    Twitter is great. Instead of listening to the endless lowest common denominator drivel on breakfast radio, I can sit in the endless Sydney traffic jam and read how great the rest of the world is. I only wish they’d hurry up and create a HUD so I didn’t crash as often.

  2. Hi Dean, thanks for your comment, and I hope you still had a hand on the wheel while you were typing this. Had to look up HUD and still not sure what it is, but I’m presuming it’s more conducive to driving while reading tweets.
    I don’t miss the Sydney traffic. From Cabramatta to the city was hellish.
    How long did it take you to get into Twitter, and was it speeded up because of an existing community, or was it the way you formed your community?

  3. Whilst I don’t tweet as often as many of my contemporaries, I continue to enjoy the benefits of having people within reach who can respond to ideas I have, or stimulate my interest with their contributions to the stream.

    Recently I presented at VITTA and found a number of people in the audience were attending my session because they had followed me on Twitter. It’s a nice feeling to be regarded for your thoughts rather than your appearance, income or nationality. In some ways the Twitterverse is a great leveller. Sure there are cliques and inner sanctums just like in any other communities, but it is also a place where anyone can have their observations and ideas recognised, sometimes by luminaries but more often by those whose sensibilities are shaped by similar experiences, frustrations and challenges.

    It’s an interesting place to visit. For those who haven’t dipped their toe in the water, maybe it’s time…

  4. Paul, you’ve summed Twitter up so well. The levelling of Twitter also means, as you’ve said, that you get to communicate with people you’ve read but would otherwise not have the chance to converse with. It’s a surprising ‘place’. And it’s the place to come and thrash things out with peers. Actually, you’ve said it so well, you should take your comment out of the dungeon and into a blog post where others can see it.

  5. I have been on twitter since the end of September and I freely admit I was skeptical. I have since changed my mind. Twitter has been an amazing resource for me in terms of discovering the social media world. The blogs, sites, and other tools I have been exposed to have been invaluable in both my work and professional life.

    I agree that you need to truly make a commitment to be involved. It is the only way you can become part of a valuable network. I would urge those who are skeptical to try it for two weeks and really make an effort. Try to find people in your field or interests to follow. Contribute to the conversation and you will reap the rewards!

  6. It is nearly 12 months since I started using twitter. When i first started it made no sense at all but after much perserverence, has now given me a personal learning network that I know I can call on at any time to get advice, share resources or just keep in tune with what others are doing. It has kept me up to date with the latest in web2.0 uses for education and alerted me to many tools that have been useful in my classes. Alerts are given on PD, online sessions and conferences which I will join in, if the time is appropriate. Latest blog post updates give me a lot of interesting reading. I now have many valuable global contacts. It is can be good to lurk initially, then take the plunge and join in the conversations.

  7. These are all very good reasons, Anne. It’s the immediacy of the alerts which I find invaluable too. A great summary. Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Hi Tseko,

    Thank you for embedding my powerpoint. I am in the process of updating it…

    I had to fight to get our DoE to open up twitter and started a motivational post on why it should be allowed through our school firewalls: and am glad to report our Sita has given the go ahead!

  9. Well done, Maggie. Great victory!

  10. Pingback: Participatory learning a prerequisite to 21st century teaching? | Brave new world

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