I think it’s time for me to join Twitter. I’m not sure why, but I have yet to participate in this social networking site. I joined Facebook about 2 years ago. I was kind of behind-the-times when I did that too. Honestly, I think I just didn’t want more stuff to do. Maybe I feel the same way about Twitter. Won’t it just be one more thing to keep track of?
After this week’s readings, though, I think choosing to not join Twitter, or the overall blogging world, might not be an option anymore. Just like so many things, it just might be a part of being “digitally literate.” The weblog, such as this one I am keeping this semester, is a means of sharing personal ideas and personal interests. Beyond that, blogs are fast becoming a means of distributing information. Stephen Downes says, “Through the interlocked network of weblogs, information can spread like wildfire” (2003). What one person shares on a blog, another person picks up on and shares some with others. Twitter works the same way, only much more concise. With just a few words, a person can send out a “tweet” and the thought is in fast distribution.
What caught my attention most this week, especially about Twitter, is that it is a tool for learning. Twitter, or any microblogging tool, can provide a venue for expression and further discussion in the midst of a large group of people attending the same conference. In the past, individuals at an event may not have had much direct influence on the content. Now, though, there are tools available for near-constant interaction. Maybe Twitter is not an option.
Aside from the educational uses of microblogging, I am also considering the use of weblogs for educational purposes. In this era of texting and tweeting, I wonder if we are all getting rather lazy in our written expressions. Spelling often takes a backseat to the need for short and quick text messages. Maybe requiring students to keep a blog would be a way to encourage more reflective written expression. I have a feeling that my own children would enjoy having their own blogs – somehow this seems much better than writing on paper with a pen. I might have to explore that more. I informally surveyed a group of high school students I teach at our local home school co-op. Some of them seemed rather intimidated with the thought of keeping their own blog. I was surprised. But, it’s something to keep in mind. Blogging might not be for everyone.
Regardless of how I use the blogging tools, it does seem that they are a reality in our world. The reality of blogging demands that I give it some attention. There, I did it….I just joined Twitter. Now, what do I do?? That might take some time for me to figure out J.
Downes, Stephen (2003, May). More than Personal: The Impact of Weblogs (includes comprehensive listing of Blogging software, tools, and resources). http://www.downes.ca/post/31449