02 April 2009

The Joys of Twittering



This is a twitter joke, for the twitter folk. If you don't get it, then you should begin twittering soon.

I have just started twittering but I am amazed by this new tool. I had heard that it helps get news out quicker than any other medium during disasters and now I see why. It is an instant network as opposed to a facebook-type network.

My tech-savvy friend Vahid disdains twitter as a source of incoherent and superficial noise. Much of it is, but you can ignore this if you choose and participate in its more interesting aspects. Here are just a few:

Crowdsourcing - Twitter has started leading this important trend. Similar processes include a recent nation-wide town hall meeting-style conference on YouTube in which people vote for the questions to ask the President. Decision-making is going horizontal and it is only a matter of time before this practice radically improves our political processes and structures.

Human-processed searches - Searching on twitter will produce human generated results from real people gathering the best information from their lives and from the Internet. Google is cool, but a twitter search guarantees fascinating, updated and personalized results.

Taking part in Discourse - Taking part in a discourse on a specific topic, like micro-finance, social action, public health or any other requires being in communication with those who are at the forefront of their field, acting on what we learn from them and contributing our two cents worth to building specific knowledge. Staying abreast of the solutions found to local problems and the processes used to arrive at those solutions keep one in the mix. Of course, blogs have filled this niche beautifully for several years now, and because as any blogger knows it isn't easy to get people to comment on your blog, I see twitter as an essential compliment to these. It is a more agile, faster and synthesized version of blogs that, when combined with them, raises their value considerably. Sites like twitterfall can be customized to your exact needs to follow and take part in any discourse you choose.

Micro-blogging - My blog tends to be kind of ... em deep. Yeah, but that doesn't mean that everything I want to share fits into this category. Twitter gives me a platform to share important thoughts and events that I don't want to make into full blog posts. They are quick, short and effective at getting your point across. They are easy to answer and re-post and really get you in closer contact with those who are moving and shaking in your fields of interest.

Teaching - Learning - As an educator I am amazed at some of the ideas of fellow teachers who are using twitter in the classroom, and the results they are getting. Any tool a teacher can use to enhance learning is very welcome, and this is proving to be one of the best. If you doubt what I am saying, check this resource out. I will be using these soon in my classrooms!

These five good reasons to check twitter out point to the fact that twitter is opening the future to us in a variety of ways. There are many more reasons to start twittering, like small business networking, that I am sure others have explained much better than I ever could. In sum, if you don't like the superficial noise on twitter, then don't follow those who generate it! There are thousands of other fish in the sea! If you want to know more, click here.

Scroll down a bit or click here to check out my twitter feed and don't be shy to get your feet wet!

3 comments:

Vahid said...

This is my reply to you:
http://www.seattlepi.com/dayart/20090409/cartoon20090409.jpg

More seriously, Twitter makes more sense when i read this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/technology/internet/14twitter.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&partner=rss

The instant interest group idea makes sense... I guess eventually i'll be pushed to try it. Problably when i have one of these cool new smartphones.

Vahid said...

OK, i hereby acknowldge publicly that i have added twitterfall to my shortlist of favorites (right next to my top 3 other links, that sit permanently on my firefox window). I am even feeling inclined to replying to some of those guys. MUST. RESIST.

Justin said...

Contributing to discourse development is much more satisfying than just wathing it scroll along on your screen, don't you think?

It's fun too because you want to keep your followers satisfied by sharing something interesting related to your blog, so it gets you (micro) blogging much more often!