Sunday, 15 June 2008

Why I Still Love Twitter

Twitter has been up and down a lot lately, which has irritated a lot of people. Why should a social networking activity that basically amounts to answering a basic question-What are you doing?-become such a part of some people’s life?

Recently, Twitter has made been in the headlines for breaking the news of recent China’s earthquake, partnering with MySpace for its “data availability” project and even helping a student get out of jail.

In the past few months, Twitter has grown rapidly. According to Lee Odden’s Twitter usage poll , the most popular reasons for using Twitter were:
  1. Sharing links to items of interest to your network
  2. Networking for new contacts
  3. Reinforcing current network contacts
  4. Promoting specific content
  5. Re-distribution of content from blogs, web sites
  6. Twitter cat posts: flight delays, eating habits, who knows what and why
  7. Replacement for Facebook updates
  8. Influencing your network-leadership
  9. Group and project communications

At first, I was uncomfortable with the mix of formal and informal and personal and public. I also could not see what Twitter could do for me. Now that it is sometimes unavailable, this is what I miss-apart from the quick responses to any of my “tweet”:

* Technical Advice: I received some brilliant tips when I started using my IWB ;

*Specific advice offered when requested ;

*The opportunity to pick somebody else’s brains ;

*the 140 Character Limit: great to help you clarify your thoughts and get to the point ;

*Discussing issues that are important to you ;

*Finding out how an issue is dealt with in different countries: I find the differences between the different educational systems fascinating ;

*Getting links to suitable reading to keep you up to date with your areas of interest: This is personalised CPD of the highest quality

*Finding out about blogs and blog posts of interest to you: Helps with social networking locally as well as globally.

*Blogging Ideas..

Twitter can also be used with students. Some practice can be very daring and more suitable for post 16-particularly when it involves Twitter and mobile phones.
However, some simple projects like “Foxford Meteo” set up by James Padvis from Foxford School and Community Arts College in Coventry can turn out to be a real source of motivation for students.

Now the sticky point: How to introduce it to other people?

A number of short videos and blog posts will be useful:

However, it sounds so unrelated to our professional concerns that some of its uses will need to be highlighted formally-like in this blog post. I would encourage any colleagues to get started to see its real potential. Like many ICT tools, it is difficult to evaluate its usefulness until you start using it, but what is for sure is that there is a lot more to it than just talking about what you are up to…


José Picardo said...

This pretty much sums I why I use twitter too. Thanks Isabelle for such neat encapsulation.

As to how to spread the word- that's a hard one, some people just don't get it and think you're crazy when you try to explain what it is. Perhaps your links to the videos might help.

Anonymous said...

I also have loved twitter for all the reasons that you have given. I teach in a small rural school in Australia and this networking has allowed our students to experience powerful learning outcomes with the use of web2.0 For staff to gain the most benefit out of twitter, they need to have used some of the web2.0 tools in order to 'get' a lot of it.
I am contemplating letting my students join youth twitter next semester as they love social networking.

A.M.Sall said...

Great post, Isabelle. I use both Twitter and Plurk and I think for direct conversation/dialogue, Plurk is much better than Twitter. Have you tried it?

IC Jones said...

Thank you for your comments. I will have a look at Youth Twitter and Plurk...


Heidi Pence said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have recently been introduced to many of the web 2.0 tools and am looking at integrating them in really meaningful ways with my fellow staff and students. Thanks too for stopping by my blog, leaving a comment and being supportive. It is what this networking thing is all about. I look forward to coming back often and reading/listening to your thoughts.