Just had to get that off my chest. I don’t hate Twitter, or think that it should never be used. I just don’t find it very relevant to my life. And I have good reasons for that. Other people have good reasons why it is the best online tool in their digital life. And they find pretty cool uses for it.
For example, they find Twitter a great source of news and information. For me, I am still an avid blog reader, now addicted to Google Reader. At least half of the Tweets I get from friends are “awesome blog post here: ______” or – even worse – a re-tweet (RT) of someone else pointing out a cool blog post. But since I use Google Reader, I have already read that blog post, or another one on the same subject, about 90% of the time. I know everyone says blogs have died or will die – but then what would most people tweet about? Really – I just don’t see Twitter being anything without regular, old blogs.
Speaking of which – what is up with all of the RT’s? It seems like some people don’t do anything but RT someone else pointing to a cool blog post somewhere. But where is the original content, or even some commentary, or even a haiku of original material? Only two people that I follow on Twitter actually Tweet original content on a consistent basis: the local weather guy, and George Siemens. Oh, if only more people could Tweet like George.
Well, okay – there are more than two. But the others that have original content all do the other thing that makes Twitter irrelevant to me – they sync their Tweets with their FaceBook status. Why would I read what you are doing for dinner on Twitter or a smart phone or whatever when I can go to a much more interesting place like FaceBook and play some games and argue about conspiracy theories all at the same time? Yes, I know some people think FaceBook games are pretty pointless, but I guess I am different. I call someone a friend because I am interested in getting to know them. If I am not interested, I don’t accept the request. But accepting that request means that yes, I am interested in knowing what 80’s song you are, or how you feel about Obamacare, or what not. That is how I treat friends – I care about the real news and the trivial in their life. Too many misanthropes out there gripping about FaceBook, in my opinion.
Anyway – I should stop to explain my history with Twitter. I started following Twitter day 1 when Odeo originally announced they were starting it. I didn’t request a Beta account then – I thought it looked boring. In fact, if you are one of the five people that have been reading this blog for a while, you probably remember when we raved about Jaiku at first. Jaiku was a cool Twitter competitor that had little mood icons, groups, and much cooler badges than Twitter in the early days. But Google bought Jaiku and killed them as a serious competitor. But I still remember when everyone asked “Twitter or Jaiku?”
Speaking of Jaiku, there are many other sites that do Twitter much better than Twitter does. I mean – seriously – why do I have to take up a chunk of my 140 characters to insert a link or a link to a pic or whatever? It is 2009 – when is Twitter going to catch up with where email was in 1989 and allow attachments, like other micro-blog services do so well? Just wondering.
There is some hope for me using Twitter. The local weather guy Tweeting updates is one of them – finally some good content that I haven’t already read on FaceBook or five other blogs. That will keep me coming back to Twitter each day. A few magazines have caught on to that too, as well as celebrity writers/bloggers like David Pogue.
Well, Pogue made me want to petition for the banishment of RT’s from Twitter all together, but that is another story :)
But should we abandon Twitter, just because I find it boring? Never! That is one huge problem I see in Ed Tech circles: someone doesn’t like something, so they trash others that use it, and try to convince as many as they can that it is bad to use. Many people use Twitter for some cool things in online education. I keep my Twitter account around because I like to see how people use it, even though I probably never will in the classes I teach. I get the bigger picture, and I think Twitter has a place in the bigger picture.
RT’s on the other hand….
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.