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Twitter, Twitter, Twitter

I didn’t understand Twitter at first. It seemed, at best, to be a colossal waste of time. I already had several blogs, social networking profiles, flickr account, etc. What more did I need? And, why in the world do I need to tell people “what I’m doing now” in 140 characters? Since I created my account, I would periodically post “I’m in the airport”, or “going for lunch”. All very trivial. And I saw no point to it. But…then I started experiencing Twitter less as a broadcast tool with intermittent interaction (the way I largely see blogs), and more as a living network. For example, I’m in San Antonio, and I post on Twitter that my presentation – Rethinking Curriculum, Knowledge, and Learning – is available on Slideshare. Within five minutes, over 50 people had started viewing the slides. Hmm. The speed of information sharing, and the growing awareness of what key learning nodes in my network are up to (thinking, doing, feeling), changed my perspective. Last week, I posted a request with regard to Second Life. Within about two minutes, Jennifer Jones put me in touch with the very helpful Fleep, and…problem is solved. I had to overcome my blog perspective in order to see the affordances of Twitter. Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue.
So, I’m suddenly a Twitter fan (you can find me here).
A few Twitter resources to explore:

How Twitter makes it real: “I feel that I have a foretaste of what tomorrow’s network world will bring, when the boundaries have dissolved completely and we can experience the network directly”
More Twitter Types…and Twitter etiquette.

10 Comments

  1. Martin wrote:

    Hurrah another convert! Seriously, why do I feel pleased when someone ‘comes over’ to Twitter? Maybe because I know they’ll like it. It’s great having you in the Twittersphere George. Because Twitter occupies the land somewhere between blog and IM, people see it differently. Like you, the ‘living network’ was the thing that made me finally get it, rather than the micro-broadcasting mode, but it does seem to be so many different things for different folks.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  2. Interesting post… (as always).

    Also, if I am not mistaken, this is one of your first posts in a long time that uses a paragraphs.

    Maybe it is nitpicky, but I found a lot of your posts hard to read, just by the way they look in Google Reader.

    Hopefully you will press “enter” more often from now on!

    Kind regards,

    Hans de Zwart

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
  3. 5tein wrote:

    It took me a while to warm up to Twitter, and when I did it was based on an aspect that brings me to my only disagreement with your post; you stated, “Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue.”

    The only reason I use Twitter is because it is conversations AND monologues, albeit strictly apportioned or syncopated monologues. I Twitter because I want to communicate, or because I want to release spontaneous thoughts and ideas for the pure pleasure of the act of uttering them, even if they quickly evaporate into the ether (of course they don’t; Twitter stores them for me, which is better).

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  4. Chris L wrote:

    Why does no one ever listen (or believe me) when U use the analogy that Twitter is like an always-on hallway conversation at a conference, or a pub discussion with peers? It is like that because it is multiple conversations and asymmetrical, so some conversations are dialogues, some are monologues (apparent and otherwise)– you can just listen in, or you can join in, or you can hold forth.

    Of course other communities can (and do) use it very differently.

    Good to see you coming around :)

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  5. Nadine N wrote:

    I’m also new to twitter and like you, when I first signed up, I thought it was a huge waste of time. I recently attended the Illinois Computing Educators Conference where twitter was getting a lot of attention. Now that I’ve made a twitter a window to my PLN, I really appreciate it’s potential. My posts are pretty much the “I’m at the airport” kind – but from other folks I follow, I get a wealth of knowledge. Every day I follow up posts describing new tools, links to blog posts with significant content, and opportunities to join in on streamed video of workshops from around the country. Twitter is about to surpass reading blogs as the most important professional development activity that I engage in on a regular basis.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  6. Sue Waters wrote:

    The key with twitter is setting up the mechanisms and strategies to use it effectively. Making decisions early on as to how many people, and who you follow makes a difference.

    The conversation, networking and information I gained from twitter was more manageable when I only follow 100-200. Above 200 it takes a lot more conscious effort to want to listen to the conversations.

    Another strategy I use is TweetScan of variations of my names, which I feed via RSS into my Google Reader, so that if someone replies or asks me a question I can locate and easily reply at my leisure. It also picks up messages from people I don’t follow – which is handy way of limiting the number you follow because you can still maintain a conversation.

    Finally a desktop application helps. Used to like Snitter now found that Twhirl is considerably better (but was a bad mistake to set it to show messages not summary if more than 3 tweets – with frequent grabbing of tweets and tweet messages covering my desktop that was just sheer crazy).

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  7. lol! I was probably one of those 50 people who viewed, and consequently twittered about your presentation! Have had the same experience as you using twitter, quickly replacing the mundane with more useful tweets and following those connected to my area of interest.

    I’m busy and time is in short supply. Yet, I need to learn as much as possible to keep up with change. To this end, twitter works. Feel free to follow me if you’re interested in corporate-related e/mlearning news: http://twitter.com/kwork

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  8. I felt exactly the same George (see http://caroldaunt.wordpress.com/2007/11/30/to-twitter-or-not-to-twitter/)

    However, like you, have become a convert. I’m selective in who I follow and find I pick up a lot of good information & URLs from them. I also try to be a good professional Twitterer (Tweeter?) and don’t post too many ‘Going to the shops’ type messages.

    It’s interesting to note that Twitter has taken this ‘professional’ turn for many of us.

    PS: Found this post through your Twitter.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  9. Alan Levine wrote:

    I knew eventually you would climb the Twitter Life Cycle Curve and see the Kool-Aid pitcher at the plateau. You have inspired me to open a wiki where others can say they have gone from “This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard” to “I Cannot Stop”.

    Sign up today at
    http://cogdoghouse.wikispaces.com/TwitterCycle

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink
  10. Thank you so much for your post. I was introduced to twitter two weeks ago and also started to think, gee, it’s just someone telling me about their day. Who has the time. It didn’t make sense to me. A good way to communicate I suppose. Then I read an article on connectivism(http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm), and it all started to make sense, like you I started seeing twitter as a living network. Knowing that you received such great feedback and made new contacts to add to your network has truly taken it to the next level for me. I will try to twitter more and make sure the content is worthwhile :) Thanks again..

    Friday, March 21, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink