Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Philistines on Twitter: "I've never used it. But it sucks!"

John Ridley raises philistinism to a whole new level by slamming all things Twitter -- despite the fact that he admits he's never used Twitter.
I haven't tweeted once in my life, but I'm sick of hearing about it already. What once may have been the cool way of letting a hundred people know that you're about to go mow your lawn now has the feel of a used-to-be-fresh means of communicating.

How do people like this get airtime on NPR?

As any daily Twitterer knows: Twitter is what you make it. If all of your Tweets concern bathing your dog and mowing the lawn, then you just completely don't understand what social networking's true potential is. I am amazed when I hear people denigrate social media as if the social media itself is forcing anyone to do anything. The whole concept of participatory media is that it relies on the free participation of its users to do what ever they want with it.

Education and Educational Technology Tweet feeds are often a perfect example of the positive aspects of social media. I am not alone in saying that I've learned more about the theory of, current debates about, and resources for teaching in the last three months on Twitter than I have in seven years of traditional professional development and three years of grad school.

That's not to denigrate prof dev or grad school, they serve serious purposes.

It's just that in terms of keeping up to date with what's happening on a day-to-day (and even hourly-by-hourly) basis in the rapidly changing educational paradigm, the traditional model of spreading ideas via a single speaker or a class that meets twice a week is really outmoded. That's where the power of social networking comes in.

Social networking should not supplant face-to-face development, but face-to-face development needs to understand that there are many things that social networking does better. Really, face-to-face and screen-to-screen have to find common ground and help one another.

Now, Mr. Ridley's comments seemed all caught up on the issue of privacy -- he's tired of Tweets about people's personal lives. Funny, though: how would he be bother by Tweets if he's not on Twitter?

Furthermore, to criticize Twitter on account of the CNN/Kutcher throwdown -- as Ridley does -- yet never having personally used the service before is akin to writing a scathing review of a book based not on one's reading of the book but on the reaction of Oprah's book club to it.

Fundamentally unprofessional.

It's obvious that Mr. Ridley has no idea what he's talking about. Yet, that's par for the course when it comes to the majority of critics of social media. I think I'll go Tweet about that.


  1. You know, it's okay to not use Twitter, just as it's okay not to use a cordless drill or a whisk. But, if the tool fits the task, even if it's someone else's task, don't bash it! I don't care for whisks (too hard to clean) but there are two in my drawer for my husband and sons...

    So, Mr. Ridley can stick to his broadcast media; a one-way form of communication, and I'll stick to Twitter where I can glean and share as I see fit.

  2. I stumbled upon this article about some different ways to approach Twitter, which I thought has some creative ways to use Twitter.


    The amazing thing about tools is when someone gets an innovative bug and uses it for somethings you never thought of - like using a potato to get out a broken light bulb!


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