Just to show how obsessive people get about Twitter, here is a blog with the top ten (no joke) Twitter songs--songs written specifically about Twitter.
I currently have a Facebook account and a MySpace account AND a Friendster account. This shows the progression of social networking (SN) sites over the last 5 years. When I first entered the SN scene in early 2002, Friendster was the place to be. All of my friends were on Friendster. Then, about a year later, I got a friend request to join MySpace. Slowly, over the next few months, my friends migrated to MySpace. We all still had our Friendsters because some people were still there and, you know, you just GOT TO KEEP IN TOUCH! Eventually everyone was on MySpace and I am now stuck with a useless Friendster account that I'm scared of deleting because I won't be able to track the info that's on there.
Then, a couple years later I went to my college reunion and all of a sudden it was Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. All my friends had migrated to Facebook. So, I followed the crowd to keep in touch with my friends. I actually like Facebook the best out of all of the SN sites I have used. Mostly because it is void of spamming and random friend requests, and it has an easy interface (though when they changed the interface a few months ago, people went berserk!). I still check my MySpace every once in a while, but most of my friends have moved over to FB.
So NOW, it's all Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I'm all "sorry guys, not this time." It seems that every few months to a year there's a new SN site that takes over. I can't keep up! Twitter is very different from Facebook, since it is more about updating people on what you're doing, thoughts and sharing photos and videos, so I'm not worried about having to switch over to keep in touch with my friends.
I have over 200 friends on Facebook. This is not bragging, this is the reality of living in different places, going to college and making new friends. I can now track my social networks and keep up with people I may not have time to call. I have to sort my friends by groups so I can view their updates because I get so many that many get pushed off of my front page. I am also a 'fan' of things like NPR, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and others, so I get updates from them as well. Many are informative and entertaining.
Imagine: 200+ people to follow on Twitter where people can, from their iPhones and Crackberries tell me what they're doing or thinking at any time. AHHHHH!! System overload.
I think I'll stick with Facebook.
Twitter in the Classroom
I can't be totally closed-minded because the reality is that Twitter is very popular and highly used. It's actually, as of now, not blocked by the SDP filtering system. Here are some bulleted thoughts:
- If you are following someone, you can keep track of what they post, so students can't 'hide' inappropriate posts they make
- It teaches students good 'netiquette' so they don't become a victim of a stupid photograph or comment
- It is a way for you to keep your students abreast of what you are reading and provide them with resources by assigning them to 'follow' certain tweeters
- Once you are not their teacher anymore and the account still exists, what becomes of the social network that was created and who is monitoring it?
- How do parents feel about their child putting their thoughts up online for so many people to see?
- This tool would only be useful in schools where a) students have internet access at home b) students have email accounts (required to set up an account)
I wonder what age educators find appropriate for Twitter. According to the Twitter Terms of Service you must be 13 years to have a Twitter account. This would require a lot of parental involvement, training and buy-in to be a viable tool in the classroom. It would also require a lot of time spent on teaching students about social networking, cyberbullying and the proper way to conduct one's self online.