I wrote this in response to a post by a fellow #edcmooc'er, Nigel Thomas. I originally wrote a reply on his blog, and then realised more than half an hour had passed and I'd written and re-written about five paragraphs. So it was obviously something that I wanted to get down myself! Here is the original post from Nigel and my rambling reply.
I would like to know what your favourite use of Twitter is, and invite you to add this in the comments below.
I think they are superb tools. Imagine 25 years ago saying you could (in theory) connect with anyone else in the world instantly and at no cost, you would be amazed. They are all blank canvases, and so how they are used is a reflection of the people using them. Or indeed the social groups & crowd behaviour that people fall into (eg "if my friends are all tweeting what they ate for dinner maybe I should do too?"). So maybe Twitter makes you squirm because it feels like you're hanging out with people who need to let the rest of the world know when they have found a parking space or stubbed their toe?
It will be interesting to see where these social media platforms are in 10, 50, or 100 years time. Or what will have replaced it? Instead of physically tweeting or posting a status update, you might just mentally do it. All that time you take trying to express yourself in a certain way, language, or form, will be gone - that vague, cloudy thought you have swirling around your head will just pop out clear as you like. All those silly misunderstandings & memory lapses - "I thought you meant this?", "I meant to say that", "I couldn't find the word to express it", "That's not what I was thinking at all!", "What was that thing called again?!?" - will be gone. Everyone will know what each other is really thinking, we will all be happier, and we can spend our time actually solving problems rather than trying simply to articulate them. Well, OK, not really, but isn't that what technology is doing for us now anyway? From GPS & calculators, to pacemakers & x-rays. Saving labour, human error, and helping us see what we'd previously been guessing at (and could you include "a Google search" in that list?). But maybe that's where the fine line between utopia and dystopia lies? (this was mentioned in the EDCMOOC course introduction video remember?) And perhaps how we use Twitter now is a sign of how we might use technology in the future - to better or belittle ourselves? There are some good stories here
Finally, just a different perspective. Have a think where any of your good ideas have ever come from? From Twitter or Facebook? Or is it actually lying in the bath, scribbling on the back of a napkin, or doing the ironing? To some degree, no matter how much technology develops, I don't think there will ever be any substitute for idly gazing off into the distance now and then and thinking about nothing in particular.
Pictures courtesy of Roger Hargreaves and Mr Men
- 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom