Thing 12: Twitter

Sally Forth comic strip by Francesco Marciuliano, May 1, 2009

Sally Forth comic strip by Francesco Marciuliano, May 1, 2009

I signed up for a Twitter account (I’m riofriotex) back in January, I think – both to try it out and to use it to follow the announcements of the ALA Youth Media Awards at ALA Midwinter in Denver.   Unfortunately, about 45 minutes into the presentations, the Twitter feed failed (at their end) for some yet-unexplained reason.  Luckily I was also following the announcements on a live video feed as they hadn’t gotten to the big awards (like the Newbery and Caldecott) before “some difficulties with Twitter” occurred.  Nevertheless, I might use Twitter to “follow” similar events in the future.

I frankly don’t have the time to “follow” anybody.  I’m finding that a number of my friends are sending their tweets either to their blogs (that I already read) or to Facebook.  I also don’t have the time to distill my thoughts into 140 characters and post them for “followers” to read.  To be honest, I find my friends’ tweets rather boring; I’d much rather read a more thoughtful blog post or even Facebook status update from them.  I think the 140 character limit has really stifled their writing.  And I have to wonder if that same limit only encourages some of the extremely poor writing (lots of sentence fragments in particular) that I saw in the papers I graded for the children’s literature course.

I suppose my aversion to Twitter is similar to my aversion to instant messaging – a dislike of texting, partly because my 52-year-old fingers don’t move so fast in the limited area of a cell phone keypad.  Based on the poor response to Meebo on my campus, I’m not likely to encourage Twitter use with the students I work with.  However, a communications professor on campus who I admire uses Twitter in a class assignment, and I’m interested to hear about the results.

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