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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why We Twitter

Will writes about his "concern" of Twitterialization.  Twitter is a "strange yet somehow important little tool," says Will.  Agreed.  I also understand Will's concern about the depth of conversation and thought.  Perhaps Twitter is not about the depth of conversation of the professional opportunities.  It is, ironically, much deeper than that.

Tell the story
In a hundred forty
Characters (or less if you're good)

I created a Twitter account last Spring.  Played for a day or two.  I didn't get it.  I read about how Twitter was the topic of the NECC edubloggers cafe.  I tried, I really did, to get into the power of Twitter.  Again, I didn't get it. 

There is a chicken/egg debate in the use of Twitter.  Do you have to have a network before Twitter exposes its power or is the power of Twitter that you can build your network?  Hmmm.  The ones who  discussed how great Twitter is had their network of followers through other means.  Twitter seemed to make it easier for them to keep in touch.  As it has evolved, it is a place to highlight new tools, backchannel conferences, share seed ideas, and other things.

In late November, I decided to hop back on the Twitter brigade, and tweeted so.  Within a day I received a direct message from Sylvia Martinez wondering if I was giving it another try.  I responded and said yes.  I jumped into the Twitter pages of a few educators, followed them, and a few followed back.  I dropped a few tweets, and people responded.  Cool.  In a way, better than a comment on a blog post...why?  It is more immediate.

So I have come to this temporary conclusion:  Please indulge the analogy, and at the end I'll clarify.  Babies cry to get attention.  The quicker the attention, the more appeased the child, but the more frequently the child cries.  Response to the cry makes the baby feel loved.  Twitter operates the same way.  We cry out into the wilderness, when someone @replies we feel accepted, loved if you will.  The more people respond, the more we cry.  CLARIFICATION - I am not saying those of us who tweet are babies.  I am saying Twitter gives us a feeling of belonging, of being accepted, of being loved.

A few weekends ago, during the Packer/Giants game, I sent out a tweet saying something like "No one wants to win this game."  Stephen Rahn and Sylvia Martinez responded.  As I sat in my living room alone, my sons were out with their girlfriends and my wife does not usually watch sports, I felt I was watching the game with friends.  I have never met Stephen or Sylvia, yet we had an immediate conversation after nearly every play near the end of the 4th quarter and overtime.  It was fun.  It was great.  Thanks for playing along.

I get Twitter now.  It connects us, plain and simple.  Whether it is what you are eating, what you're linking, what you're doing...it really doesn't matter.  It's like real f2f life; sometimes we discuss important issues, and other times we discuss the movies we saw over the weekend.  Web 1.0 did not allow this kind of connection.  Web 2.0 does.  Twitter does it instantly.  Get it?  When you tweet and someone tweets back, your existence is validated...you are loved.  Be sure to love someone back.

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At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Stephen Rahn said...

That was really fun Twittering during the game. I'll probably be doing that during the Super Bowl. No party for me...I'll be in a hotel in Jefferson, GA that night. :(

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Ric Murry said...

Jefferson, GA - Home of the Boys State Track Meet.

I'll be home. I'll watch it with you. :)


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