Two posts from my blog list today converge on Twitter. I've managed to avoid Twitter involvement so far, though a few times I've come close to joining the 140-bit conversation. Usually, I'm greeted with the sinking whale. While it seems like a fun (and, possibly addictive) tool for casual dialogue, I'm not convinced of its usefulness in the teaching arena. I prefer the blogosphere, which also requires writing for skim-and-scan reading, but nevertheless, produces a more reflective and thoughtful product over time.
Will Richardson at Weblogg-ed is questioning the value of his time spent Twittering:
And I can’t help feeling like it’s just making all of us, myself included, lazy. We’ve lamented this before, this “fact” that the whole community is blogging less since Twitter, engaging less deeply, it seems. Reading less. Maybe it’s just me (again) or maybe it’s my long term attachment to this blogging thing and my not so major attachment to texting, but it feels like the “conversation” is evolving (or would that be devlolving) into pieces instead of wholes, that the connections and the threads are unraveling, almost literally. That while, on some level, the Twitterverse feels even more connected, in reality it’s breaking some of the connectedness.
I don't know that 'lazy' is the correct word, for it takes a great deal of effort to follow all the conversations that are interesting to us. But I understand what he means about 'engaging less deeply,' and 'devolving conversations.' As social beings, we are driven to 'hear' the conversations around us. It helps us to figure out where we stand in reference to the crowd. At some point, however, we have to disengage from the fragmented thoughts of others, to reflect on what we've learned, or it all becomes meaningless noise.
Most of Richardson's commenters defend their Twitter commitment, showing just how entrenched this social platform has become. Many tools have arisen to accommodate the succinct nature of Twitter, including Thsrs, which Instructify describes as a thesaurus that returns only synonyms that have less letters! The idea is that shorter words will help us say more when texting and Twittering. Ughhh; this is disturbing to an English teacher. Well, language does change according to use, so this was bound to happen.
Interestingly, the latest trend in text messaging is to forego abbreviating for spelling everything out. I've been told that it makes the texter look smarter, and it shows just how fast those thumbs can move! Also, the older crowd is on to the abbreviations, and tries to copy them, which looks a bit ridiculous.
Vowels have staged a comeback--long live the vowel!