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Twitter Friends

Twitter Friends

I am transcribing here my comment on Jen Wagner's post 140 Characters Does Not a Friend Make...

I have been coming back to this thread ever since its publication day. So much to digest here.

My first thoughts. I noticed I am not following everyone commenting here on my Twitter. Those I am following are writing thoughts totally consistent with my mental picture of who they are. That picture has been built through distributed sources -not just Twitter. Let me tell you that internally I am choosing to follow you all again. I need these minds around for my own selfish learning purposes. Hope my continuous learning intentions excuse my being so selfish.

Secondly, I think we are becoming aware of why we tweet or connect by going to the deep end of the pool. This is what we are asking our disconnected colleagues to do as well as our students -go experiment. It’s only fair to learn how to make our own skins thicker. Some people probably have uncomfortable moments online at earlier stages of adoption (stages we went through so quickly we hardly had time to feel uncomfortable). To learn technology, we must swim in it and perhaps -at times- choke on water. If we learn, we pave a better way for others by sharing these reflections.

We are becoming aware of what we wanted out of the tool with the evidence of the good and bad we have encountered so far. It’s interesting to think about the people we want to come into this world. Sometimes we talk about what we found so good only. Perhaps the first question we should ask attendees in a workshop is not ‘Have you ever used blogs and wikis?’ but something like this: ‘What would you like to achieve in your profession or classroom that you have never been able to do before? And then offer an account of our experiences with tools to achieve some of those ends. If someone told me they want to make friends with like-minded teachers, I don’t think I would recommend Twitter as a starting point.

Can we use Twitter purposefully? With a clear objective in mind? Probably. Some of you know I have been a tweet collector for a while. I have seen and ‘documented’ different uses and interesting examples of conversations. Twitter certainly can help for many diverse reasons already outlined in this thread. The point is that when we started, we simply had an open mind and not a collection of clear-cut educational purposes guiding us. We subscribed to people (because we had been reading their blogs) and by doing so, we got all this added value quite effortlessly. A posteriori. Now tell me, how do you feel when someone only tweets if they need something? What do you think of those unknown new followers who seem to be publicising their blogs? Trying to find a good use of Twitter, the right use of it or -worse even- the best, is a loss of time. Just ask yourself what you want from it first. In the end, tools will be assessed by a rubric based on the users’ needs.

Relationships, online or offline, are difficult to have. We are to interact in messy contexts, open up to meet new people in the network, expose ourselves to challenge our thoughts on our shift from traditional teachers to people modeling learning. We have to abandon the illusion of control and the few good friends. Mind you, I struggle at this every single day. This is going to remain so for quite some time. It is probably better to get used to it, rather than fuel hopes of arriving to an organised, straightforward way of doing things. Learning is messy by nature.

Thank you all for triggering of this conversation.


Re-reading this in May 2011 with my friends @jenwagner and @datruss.

The conversation goes on here in the comment thread:

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