I got on Twitter this weekend. Wild stuff. Check out this nice synopsis in Newsweek for how it works. Bill Ferriter over at The Tempered Radical was also playing around at the same time I was, and went googly-eyed (justifiably) for how such a simple Web 2.0 tool holds such possibilities, particularly for educators and their students.
I have to tell you, though: although I am fascinated, I am not yet sold. Twitter, like any technology, is not value-neutral: it requires buy-in to certain ways of thinking about the world, and I am still figuring out just what those are for Twitter specifically.
Can you create a meaningful relationship with another in typed bytes of 160 characters? Does Twitter only yield value with a constant presence on-line? How much further does Twitter divorce us from our fundamental physical sense of self, never mind our local communities and environment? Is it always good to “go global”? And of course there’s the Language Arts teacher in me, who wonders very much (amongst other things) at the linguistic implications of a technology that does not allow revision– only deleting. (Hm!)
The Economist is running a high-quality debate on some of these issues (the pro speaker is, interestingly, on Twitter) …but for my own information, I’ve decided to give Twitter a month. I’ll make some very detailed quantitative and qualitative observations, and post my conclusions at the end of February.