Notes from a Laptop

April 14, 2008

Twitter

Filed under: General comment,Web 2.0 — Lindajay @ 4:52 pm

After attending a recent conference, which had a lot to say about web 2.0, I decided to investigate Twitter and find out what other web 2.0 tools I might employ as a TL.

Twitter is an application which enables you to make quick and sometimes quirky links with a whole range of different people, worldwide, as often as you want. By signing in at: http://twitter.com, you are able to make comments or ask questions within a small post of 140 characters. These are then responded to by people in your network (followers) whom you have selected yourself.

What I found

  • Getting started is both challenging and easy at the same time.
  • Begin with people you know who use Twitter (‘following’ them) or search for a known person.
  • This allows you to peruse their followers and locate people with similar interests/needs.
  • Use other groups to find Twitterers (e.g. listservs such as OZTL_NET) – this helps you to link with people who have obvious connections already. Thus your network develops.
  • Check out the followers of others by visiting their web site links (in their Twitter information).
  • Ask questions – this leads to responses to help you learn how-to Twitter.

The value of Twitter

There are many devotees of Twitter. It is an easy way to get a quick answer to a question – if your network is big enough. In her comprehensive post, Are you Twittering?, Sue Waters provides extensive details on what Twitter has to offer, and indeed how to get started.

My own early experience with Twitter was that it was a fast way to get information from lots of different people and locations. Within a very short time, (through a Twitterer with lots of connections – thanks, Sue), I had lots of input to a query I raised. I have also found lots of educators’ web sites with great examples of best practice with students using Web 2.0, which I may never have found otherwise.

The other side of the coin is revealed in a post by Scott Karp titled Why I stopped using Twitter. He found “Twitter to be mesmerizing, which partly reflects the brilliance of the design and partly that I was following really interesting, insight, enjoyable people, whose random musings were worth following”… but time consuming. And it can be.

So, is it worth signing up?

I think yes, providing you have a purpose, a network, or an idea of what you want it to do for you.

Perhaps, we need to consider ways in which to harness the tool rather than the tool controlling us. At the same time then, we can enjoy the harmless and often frivolous chatter that might come our way – if only reminds us there are real people, just like you and I,  behind all those 140 character posts!

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