What am I doing on Twitter?

Among the quotations I've hoarded over the years is this one:

A culture of 'read it, print it, punch two holes in it, file it and call it learning'

I can't attribute it to whoever said or wrote it but the quotation springs to mind every time I hear the words "Facebook" or "Twitter" — or see interesting posts on blogs which dozens of people, sometimes hundreds, have "liked" but none have "commented" on, at least not on the original blog. Now, don't we have a culture of "like it (or tweet/retweet it) and call it learning"?

At the risk of sounding like the grumpy old man I am quite possibly becoming, I particularly dislike Twitter. Perhaps Chatter would actually be a better name for it. When birds twitter, their song is meaningful; when monkeys chatter in the jungle they're as often as not just making as much otherwise meaningless noise as possible in order to become the dominant male.

I've previously abandoned Twitter but now, with some reluctance, I've opened a new account. On it, my intention is to tweet one thing a day that I think might be useful to language teachers (and one thing only). It's already got off to a bad start: I missed Day 2 (!) but we'll see.

Partly it's a question of trying it out over a period of time (the best, possibly the only way, to learn to use a new piece of technology and to discover its potential, as well as to overcome a prejudice against it, which as you can see I freely admit to).

One of the biggest advantages of 21st century technology is that it allows us to share things with other people (including our learners) and thus help them and it ought also to allow us  to comment on them and discuss them, which blogs do, but (says Doug Johnson) Twitter does discussion only very badly.

If you follow me on Twitter,  you'll see how long I can keep it up. You'll get no tweets about what I'm having for breakfast, promise!

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  1. Couple of useful things for anyone starting out with Twitter:

    Twitter Help Centre

    Mashable's Twitter Guidebook

    With any new tool I do that: have a good read of the Help section, and any FAQs.

    Checking them out on places like Mashable and YouTube is something else I can highly recommend.

  2. And there you go, Kate: challenge accepted! I'm back on Twitter, once a day at least!

  3. Nice idea but, seriously, you missed day 2?! Not an impressive start. I'll give you a week ;-)! Un beso, K.

  4. Thanks for that vote of confidence, Kate ;-)!

  5. Nice approach. It's often hard to separate the signal from the noise.

  6. Thanks for commenting, Canned!

    I think that is the case. If some of the big tweeters were language learners in a face-to-face, no technology class, I'm pretty sure that you'd tell them to shut up so that someone else could get a chance to speak 😉 !

    Some that I'm currently "following" I'm quickly going to drop. It's not that what they tweet about isn't interesting, it's that they talk too much (for motives which I think are possibly questionable… like, they're shouting, in order to make themselves heard above the babble).

    Best thing Twitter could do for the cyberspace would be to limit the number of tweets you can bomb the world with in any given day!

  7. Nice to know you're on Twitter. Now, I'll know when to come here as I suppose you will tweet about your new blog contributions there. Thank you, and please, don't give up this time!!

  8. Thanks, Carme ;-)!

    I probably will tweet my own blog posts (though that's not usually more than 4-6 a month) but I see lots of other stuff that I think might be of interest to language teachers — or that other language teachers suggest to me and which I think might be worth sharing.

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