Posted by: nickgerlich | May 3, 2008

Tweet Tweet

Contrary to what some of my students might think, I really do make mistakes. And one of the biggest mistakes I made was in my assessment of Twitter. I blew it, and stand here with egg on my face.

TwitterMy initial estimation of Twitter was that it had to be among the silliest things one could ever do online. After all, who really wants to know what you are doing all of the time? But as I pondered the possibilities, and read about how it was used in a mob-Twittering episode at the SXSW keynote speech this last March, my eyes suddenly opened.

And I started to think nice things about it.

So nice, in fact, that a colleague and I decided to use it as a required application in our online summer school courses this year. We and our students are going to be academic guinea pigs as we leverage microblogging in the aysnchronous sphere of distance learning.

You know what? Twitter is much more than just being obsessive-compulsive about reporting the minutiae of our daily lives. No, there is a story being told, and I bet there will be sociology dissertations written on the stories being told by people in their tweets. The zeitgeist has changed once again, and our lives are being told in little 140-space snippets.

The fact that there are Twitter-petitors tells me that this is for real. But add in dozens of third-party apps (TwitPic is one of my faves), and suddenly legitimacy becomes a moot point.

I have Twitter’s text number stored; I have TwitPic’s email saved. I can speed-tweet text and/or images from anywhere now. My head is spinning with ideas now about how to use this…not just in classes, but in daily life. This thing is huge, and I now concede that it is probably the top Web 2.0 app in the last two years. Hey, last night I Tweeted a picture from a concert to TwitPic, and it was all done in about a minute. Not bad for an old geezer who until a month ago had only sent a few text messages in recent time.

Now I know what it feels like to evolve from all-fours to being bipedal. It’s good to have my head up and looking forward. But now I’ve got to get the rest of that egg off my face.

Dr “The Yolk’s On Me” Gerlich


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