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I am glad to read some of my course-mates’ posts about overwhelming enlightenment they experience. I can only report eagerness to understand and adopt ways and ideas of social media. Social Media’s technical skills are developed much faster than recognition of usefulness and moral benefits.

There are some exceptions: I do appreciate Google Reader, begin to adopt Delicious, LOVE reading my colleagues’ posts, and listen to lectures; somehow I fill connected to this network.

On another hand I can’t stand following people on the tweeter. Just does not make sense to check directionless internet digging, performed by dozens of people when I have great quality reading, four books, which are started and scream for extra time. ( If there are science teachers, what do you think about “Full history of everything” by Bill Bryson and if you are history teacher about “On killing” by Dave Grossman.

Every time tweeter gets opened, two or three hours are lost, producing very fresh but shallow and often contradictory information. This time should be subtracted (stolen) from planning, reading, hunting, fishing, sleeping… (that’s, pretty much it). I know it sounds like whining, but that’s how I feel.

Although,  idea that I can ask and get consultation or advice in real time shows potential.

I have read my post and recognized that everything except tweeter made perfect sense. May be, I am not that lost after all…`

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14 Comments

  1. Hi Stepan.

    Thanks for the post and you are certainly not lost. It can all be rather overwhelming. At the end of the day you will find things that work for you and things that do not. It sounds like Reader and Delicious work which is great. Twitter is perhaps not something you will use long-term. Then again maybe you will when you have the time and space to follow who you choose. For me I follow a specific set of people that I know augment my network. In addition timely feedback and connecting at conferences is pretty important for me. At any rate that is what works for me.

    Thanks again for sharing,
    Iain

  2. Stephan,

    Twitter takes a while to figure out. I would encourage you to hang in there. I can say Twitter has been the most important source of professional development for me over the last two years.

    Dan

  3. I know what you mean about Twitter. I do agree with Iain’s comment that if you are selective about what and whom you read in Twitter it can be quite useful. I usually don’t have time for it. My former SD uses Yammer as a way for its teachers to have conversations amongst each other. I found this quite useful, probably because I positioned it conveniently on my computer and because I contributed to the discussion a lot. (shhhhh….they still haven’t kicked me off….)

  4. I can empathize with your Twitter frustration. It’s one of those tools that doesn’t immediately present its greatest value. I do not attempt to keep track of every post (or musing) of every person I follow. If I did, nothing else would get done in my day. I post when I think I have something useful to contribute. I respond when I think I can help someone. I don’t fret when I skip over hundreds of posts that I missed. The real value of Twitter, for me, is the ability to reach 2000 teachers with a single Tweet. This helps when I have a question. It connects me to teachers with whom I can collaborate on special projects for the classroom. It’s a powerful sounding board for new ideas. I now pop into Twitter for a minute or two here and there when I get a chance. I set up lists for the few “sages” who regularly post flashes of brilliance. Even with this limited participation, I see it as one of the most powerful social learning tools I use. You may want to give it a little more time to grow on you. If not, you are using other powerful tools that seem to be serving you well.

  5. Interesting thoughts and certainly have experienced this “lost” time myself, taken from reading, planning, and other “real life” things. Someone I read suggested setting an egg timer (old fashioned kind) and then only checking Tweet Deck for that long and no more. Haven’t tried yet since I’m not sure that I’d have the self discpline to stop 😉

  6. Hang in there with Twitter. It took me time to adapt to it, but I find it quite valuable, especially when using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage the chaos a bit. I use those tools and have a column that just searches for things tweeted with the #edtech hashtag at the end. Start with following a small group if possible and expand as you feel comfortable. It really can be overwhelming at first, so don’t feel like you are alone in that arena!

  7. Much of what one finds on the Twitter feed may be directionless and we all certainly have too much to read as it is. Never-the-less I will advocate following the stream. best practice is a brief comment left with the link to help a follower decide if the link is topical. People lead me to ideas I was not considering and I think that is valuable.

    Beyond that, my Twitter Network responds to my questions with helpful advice. It is a professional conversation. I admire how quickly it gained purpose.

  8. 16:40, well a little more – because i paused to take some notes…
    that’s how much time your one tweet zapped from me man…

    was it worth it?
    heck yes. a ted i hadn’t seen yet – about something i’m extremely passionate about… changing the world.. through tribes.

    the cool thing is i went into it with confidence…
    #1 is was a ted link, haven’t been let down there yet
    #2 Alec suggested we read your blogs/tweets, haven’t been let down there yet

    Iain has it – it’s all in who you follow.
    then it’s not directionless internet digging, and certainly not a performance.

    if you want it to – it can become a huge filter (time saver) by people you trust as well as some of the most rewarding/amazing conversations 24/7.

    your last comment Steptul – that maybe you’re not that lost after all… the connections i’ve made through twitter is where i found i’m not crazy, well – at least i found others as crazy as me, but i found i’m certainly not lost.

    i’m jealous you’re taking a face-to-face with Alec. breathe it all in, notice everything. you’re in a good place.. be ready to move to your next tribal stage.

  9. Hi Stepan,
    I am happy that you are liking/loving some of these tools. If you don’t ever come to like Twitter, that’s OK. I am, however, very glad you are taking the time to learn it.

    Have you tried using Tweetdeck? It’s a tool that you can download to help you follow Twitter easier. It is available at http://tweetdeck.com . It may, or may not help.

    Thanks for the post!

  10. Several years back (2005) I was teaching my students how to use delicious. It was a “hot off the presses” technology and I wasn’t quite sure it was useful, but, being an Educational Technology program, I knew we had to at least explore the possibilities. When introducing new technology to students, I like to use a spaghetti analogy – you’ll know it’s ready when you throw it up on the wall and sticks. In 2005, delicious fell right of the virtual wall into the ethernet. A few years later I picked it back up – once I realized the potential of *sharing* the links among my network, the usefulness suddenly clicked and it’s now a tool that never leaves my virtual toolbox.

    Now, flash forward to 2007 when Twitter hit the scene. Being a good educational technologist, I signed up to see what it was all about. It quickly fell off the wall – it wasn’t ready yet. Then in 2009 while having a discussion in class one of my students (@saraebest) gave me the explanation I needed to “get” twitter. She said – It’s like listening to the radio while you’re in the car — sometimes you tune in, sometimes the music just goes through you and you don’t pay close attention, other times you switch channels (hashtags) – the minute you give up trying to read and take in everything, that’s when twitter makes sense. She was right! Now, it’s another one of those tools that doesn’t leave my toolbox.

    I wish you the best of luck as you figure out what tools will be by your side!

  11. I would have to agree with you that Twitter is very difficult one to justify. The buy in will take a long time even though @courosa has given you a huge advantage by recommending good sources to “follow”. You will have to learn to filter your tweets. There are ways to narrow down your line to what really matters. Using tools such as “Twitter Readers” like Tweetdeck or Seesmic will help. Consider creating lists so you can group information and weed out the extra stuff automatically.

    It took me a year before I really understood twitter. Once you do start to build a network that suites your interest the power of twitter can be realized. Now I use twitter everyday. I found out about your blog from a tweet!

    Research just drops into my lap with tweets about interesting books to read or interesting people who have already done what I need to do.

    Your reaction is a common one but stick with it and hopefully twitter will be a benefit.

  12. Hi Stepan,

    I can certainly see where you’re coming from. Twitter can be overwhelming. I can share that last year, while preparing for my doctoral exam and thesis proposal, I deliberately opted to turn it off.

    I think it’s great that you’re giving it a try. We all have our favorite tools and you’ll find what works best for you.

    My suggestion would be to find a handful of people who would really be a “useful addition” to your PLN. You don’t need 1000. There are some fabulous people out there and they will inspire you and challenge you in many ways.

    A good way to do this is through http://tweepml.org where you can browse Twitter users groups (educators, learning technologies…) You can read people’s profiles and posts and decide if you’d like to follow them. In addition, you can have a peak at their own network and see who’s interesting. It does take a while but it’s very rewarding.

    Why do I find Twitter is a good tool to support learning? Because as Randy Garrison stated with regard to the role of communities of inquiry, you can only progress alone for a while. Meaningful learning implies that you can share your ideas and validate them and in order to do so, you need to interact with people, not just be a “passive” (no offense there!) reader.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading you!

  13. Although I can’t comment on the science books that you mentioned, I also love to read books and prefer to spend time doing this than using Twitter. Have you spent any time reading the book reviews on Amazon? Although this technically may not count as a Web 2.0 tool, I find it one of the best way to keep up to date on the new books that have been published and find out what my peers have to say about them.

  14. Hi Stepan,

    You’re right about Tweeter in the sense that it focuses too much on ‘what is on now’, and it’s difficult to track back past postings unless you have saved them somewhere else. On the other hand, it plays perfectly well with the just-in-time professional development. You get to know what webinar/s are taking place right now or in a couple of hours. Great for busy people. Yeah, you kinda play ‘catch me if you can’ game with Twitter- and that’s the fun part.

    When choosing whch tool to use in the classroom, remember it not about the tool/s per se but how they can be used to deliver/support student learning.


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