I picked this cartoon up from a Lucy Gray and Silvia Tolisano aka Langwitches in my Google Reader this morning – it not only made me laugh, but it also made me think!
In the last few weeks there has been much tweeting and blogging about Twitter – is it good for you or not?
I really like Twitter and tweeting, don’t get me wrong. I’m just wondering how much it is taking over my life, and how much it might be distracting me from other things that I should be doing.
Doug Belshaw really prompted this over the weekend with two very thought-provoking posts – The map is not the territory and Is Twitter bad for you?. (Read them if you haven’t already!)
The former, subtitled The changing face of the edublogosphere, made me consider how dizzy and confused I can sometimes become thanks to Twitter (and following URLs and recommendations) – as I wrote in my comment on the post, perhaps it’s out of my own ‘immaturity’ as a blogger and technochick (as I have been dubbed by colleagues!), and the wish to ensure I don’t miss out on the latest thing that my head starts to spin. I do need to be more selective and I guess with experience will come more wisdom.
That’s why I love EdTechRoundup meetings – lots of ideas backed up with uses in the classroom and also lots of debate about tools and their use. I lurk and listen quite a bit – and that to me is very important so I learn! That’s not to say I don’t contribute – I’m not completely clueless :o)
I lurk on Twitter too – but often I feel excluded from the conversations – sometimes because I only follow half the speakers, or because it’s over my head. Guess I could follow more people but that to me feels like collecting friends on Facebook just so I have lots of friends, or becoming a ‘groupie’. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I have received really great ideas via Tweets – someone tweeted www.placespotting.com a couple of weeks ago – think it was @injenuity – and this site has infuriated, entertained and educated my family ever since. 9 year old spent over half an hour searching rivers in Holland this morning in search of a particular bridge – the clue did not enlighten but he found it, bless him! And @willrich45 and @davestacey pointed me a blogpost showing how to use YahooPipes to put all received Twitter messages containing URLs into Google Reader. However, there sometimes seem to be far too many seemingly great ideas floating around- as a commenter on Doug’s blog said, 95% are irrelevant but 5% are gems. Recently I’ve been off work and had the luxury of time to check out all the recommendations, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t. And then there are the ones that everyone raves about – then never to be heard of again. What happened to @teachablemoment ? And @bookgroup ? Both started off with lots of activity but seem to have fizzled.
So is Twitter bad for me? My husband would say it was – but that’s more to do with mobile tweets than Twitter! And there lies a key issue – should I switch off my mobile tweets? During Edtechroundup last night we talked about this. Several people have switched off their mobile tweets – Doug commented that they were getting in the way of teaching. My inclination is to keep them switched on – I’ve been careful with from whom I receive mobile tweets and chosen people who aren’t too prolific in the tweet department. Even so, most that I receive are not directed at me – and some are like the cartoon man’s! My reason for keeping them on in term time is that Twitter is blocked at school so the only way I can even begin to use it with the pupils is to use my mobile. As I’ve blogged before, Year 6 answered a question posed by Ewan McIntosh via witter – and were fascinated by it. And there are times when I let out my frustrations on the Twitterverse via an ‘end-of-my-tether-sympathise-please’ message.
Then there’s Tom Barrett’s post Twitter- a teaching and learning tool. It’s a really comprehensive guide to Twitter’s many possibilities for learners (young and older) – it’s one of those posts you have to go back to and read several times to really grasp all of it! As I commented when Tom asked about the use of Twitter in the classroom, it’s hard to use when it’s blocked but I’m working on that one!
Interesting that he was cut off from the world of Twitter when he wrote it – as he said,
‘I am removed from the network I want to reflect upon and away from the classroom that it can impact. This perspective is welcome as it offers me clarity of thought, as I write, that I have not had for a long time.’
So, if I switched off mobile tweets, followed more people and was more selective with things I pursue, would that be OK?
I think Doug’s post about Twitter hits the nail on the head – there are times when I need to switch off from Twitter, email, Facebook as I can’t concentrate. Writing this, my mobile has Spiderpig-ed 24 times – and that’s from 3 people in an hour – and I’ve not finished yet! I haven’t checked my emails but I guess there are several of those too. His model of outward facing and inward facing modes of working seems so simple and sensible that I’m quite cross I didn’t come up with it!
So perhaps it’s a case of there being a time and place for everything and not allowing Twitter to encroach on everything I do, whilst still exploring the possibilities of using it creatively ;o)