At Christmas time I bought an iPhone, time for me to become a tech geek. In February I attended a workshop that was about using Twitter for professional development. The presenter assured me that it would be a good thing. I signed up for an account and started following a couple of people. Then nothing. It was just another thing and I didn’t have time.
Emails from people telling me how great Chris Hatfield’s pictures from space appeared in my inbox. After seeing some of these pictures and watching some videos of life in the ISS I was energized. I thought Twitter could be an excellent educational tool. If it allowed Chris Hatfield to meet the public where they lived and educate people about science and life in space, it could do the same for me. I went to check my account. (Note: I did not follow Chris Hatfield, instead I accessed the videos from YouTube and the Canadian Space Agency website, I found it easier).
What did I find?
Soooooo many links, sooooo much stuff, but not a lot of substance. Everyone is sharing everything, which is great, but no one seems to be thinking deeply about it. In The Flight from Conversation Turkle talks about the disconnectedness of ‘being connected’ I think this extends to the use of Twitter for professional development as well. There is information being shared but it is disconnected, there is no dialogue. “Check this out” is not the same as expressing thoughtful consideration on a topic.
There are good finds in this mix of stuff but finding the genuine antiques from the bulk barn junk takes time. Time I don’t have, the volume of posts is too overwhelming. Now I skim and only when I feel I have some time. More and more I am becoming convinced that no one is really reading anything anymore.
My questions for the world are (and I challenge you to convince me of in 140 characters or less):
Is being able to tweet/connected in this way an important part of literacy? If this information can be accessed through other means why is tweeting so important?
Twitter discourages real thought and connection. It is too difficult to express thoughts on an article in 140 characters. Not deep thought. Not analysis. Not the kind of thought that builds a conversation. Would it be better to go back to the ‘old’ way of writing your thoughts with a link on a blog post?
Turkle, S. (2012). The Flight From Conversation. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?_r=0