Friday, February 22, 2008

Twitter, finally

I've read lots of posts like this one. I bet many have. I'm not rolling my eyes anymore. Here goes.

I finally broke down yesterday and jumped in to Twitter. I had held off for a variety of reasons, most related to not having enough time to do everything as it was. There was also this fear of getting involved in one more really addictive computer activity. And I really could not see what the value might possibly be.

I had set up an account months ago, and followed one person, David Warlick. I figured he was safe :) There the account sat, until yesterday. It was Mid-winter break. My wife was off doing extra work stuff. I had no excuse.

It was amazing getting started. Choosing people to "Follow", getting emails saying so and so is "Following" you, etc. Finally figuring out something worthy to say. Figuring out how to indicate an individual when you're replying to somebody in the chaos of a free for all conversation with hundreds, thousands of speakers. I'm currently following around 100, and being followed by about 50. Sounds kind of creepy at first.

If there was "Twitter for Dummies" on hand, it probably would have been helpful. Too late, I'm figuring it out on my own, like everybody else.

There are the conference folks talking: Shareski, Richardson, Levine, etc. There is the earth rhythm, as eastern N. America folks turn out the lights (except for Vicki Davis), folk out west keep going, and those in Asia start to wake up... The exchanges are funny, informative, meaningless, helpful, questioning - what a wide range.

So is it any good? Well, yes. It is amazing in a way that is hard to describe. I've seen some incredible work I flat out would have missed. Stuff I will use. Great ideas have been flying in front of my eyes constantly. And I've just been on for one day.

So there you go, my "I'm on Twitter" post. I kinda feel like one of the last edtech people in the world to jump in, and I'm sorry I held off so long. But it's good to be in there.


Doug Noon said...

I would say that I'd be the last edtech person to jump in, but I'm not an edtech person, so you'd have been safe to claim the distinction. But now you can't.

Seriously, I am curious - not so much about all the amazing things you are finding - but about all the other stuff, and how much time it occupies. You know, signal to noise, tradeoffs, opportunity cost. I know I could find this out myself, but I have a very definite problem with procrastination.

I hope you don't "forget" to blog now and then.

Anonymous said...

Welcome. I rarely speak about twitter to others. I still find it too weird or odd to articulate.

Doug makes valid points. Twitter is not for everyone. It can be a time waster/sucker but one has to determine if the time is worth it.

For me the best analogy I can give it's a virtual staff room. You get to hang out with folks who will share personal, funny, strange and yes even educational. The value of spending time in the staffroom is to build relationships. Take a look at any staffroom and you can see all kinds. But in this case you build your own staff room. You choose who you want to hang around with. There are times when you get too busy and have to avoid the staff room. But the investment into people's lives pays off. Anyway that's how I see it.

Developer said...

..thing is, you don't have to have it running all the time. And when it does, it's just a glance to see if it's something useful.

Twitter is an attention attractor. Consider the presentation, "Are you Published?" that Dean Shareski did yesterday. Somebody Twittered that it was on Ustream, and within minutes there is an audience from I don't know how many continents, watching and discussing -- back channeling.

I actually do not have it running all that much ;-)

Mrs. V. said...

Welcome-from one 3rd grade teacher to another:) I have read your blog, and now look forward to connecting via twitter! You'll find I am mostly a weekend and occasional late nighter- the only drawback for me is when I feel as though I have missed out on some great impromptu stream or chat that I would have never known was going on before twitter...but sometimes I actually get in on some of those, and it's great!

Anonymous said...

Mark, if you are on twitter, it is worth another "think" for me. I always appreciate how real you are on your blog.

Mark Ahlness said...

Thanks for the feedback, folks. I'm still finding out where Twitter fits in, a couple of weeks later. I'm an occasional user, for sure, for now.

But there are times when it is an incredible tool. I found myself very frustrated when I could not get an Internet connection while Wes Fryer was presenting at NCCE in Seattle the other day. There we were, via Skype video, having a conversation with Scott McLeod - who was in Mumbai at the time, I think. Now THAT was the kind of thing that you want to Twitt about...

Kathy, look out for Mr. Shareski when you get on. He's some Twitterer :)