Twitter, Twibes, and Tweeple…oh my!

14 Sep

I tweet.  I tweet on Twitter.  I’m in a twibe.  It’s twue!

Er, I mean, it’s true!

It’s taken me a while to get into Twitter.  Not to understand it.  That I got right away.  In fact, after just a few minutes of checking it out, I was quickly able to explain it to my friends by saying it was like the status update on Facebook only without the rest of Facebook.  That was almost two years ago.

I also remember thinking I had no use for this micro-blogging thing.  I had my smart phone.  I had instant messaging, texting, mobile email, my blog, Facebook, a website, my course sites, and numerous other ways I was technologically connected to my students, my colleagues, and my friends.  I was burned out on innovative ways to connect, and I didn’t need one more to add to the pile.  So I embraced my future shock and ignored Twitter.

Twitter didn’t ignore me, or to be more specific, it didn’t go away despite my best efforts at giving it the cold shoulder.  A very purposeful UnFollow, if you get my twift.

Instead, Twitter grew. Ten-fold.

Or perhaps one hundred-fold over the next two years.

And it kept tweeting to me….the same post over and over.

(Forgive me, Gene Roddenberry)

“You, too, shall be assimilated.”

And I am assimilated.  Sort of.

Now I am struggling to find practical uses for Twitter in my busy world.  Oh, sure, I can find many impractical uses – the same as all the other tweeple on Twitter.  I can babble with the best of them, and I can waste precious time online when I want to procrastinate – just ask any of my Facebook friends.  Apparently, that is what most of the Twitterati are doing as well according to this 2009 research:

San Antonio-based market research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period from 11:00a to 5:00p (CST) and separated them into six categories:

  • News
  • Spam
  • Self-promotion
  • Pointless babble
  • Conversational
  • Pass-along value

The firm found that “pointless babble” accounted for most of Twitter’s content making up 811 tweets or 40.55 percent of the total number of messages sampled.

Conversational messages accounted for 751 messages or 37.55 percent, tweets with “pass-along value” i.e. retweets – accounted for 174 messages or 8.70 percent, self-promotion by companies made up 117 tweets or 5.85 percent, spam was 75 tweets or 3.75 percent and tweets with news from mainstream media publications accounted for 72 tweets or 3.60 percent.

-Kelly, Ryan, ed. (2009-08-12), “Twitter Study – August 2009” (PDF), Twitter Study Reveals Interesting Results About Usage, San Antonio, Texas: Pear Analytics

That’s a lot of background noise.

So how can online educators find some educational value in the midst of all this technological spam-babble-hype-chat?  I did a little searching (Bing!) and came up with some more promising Twitter tools and apps that makes micro-blogging a bit more educator-friendly.

  1. Twitrans: Twitrans can translate your tweets to any language using human translators.
  2. Tweeteorology: Tweeteorology will show you tweets about the weather.
  3. Book Price Check: Check prices of books from your mobile device through Twitter using this tool.
  4. twiggit: Let your students know about the articles you digg by using twiggit.
  5. SI-Messenger: SI-Messenger is a service that integrates IM, Twitter and more in Second Life.
  6. TwitterBox: Use Twitter from within Second Life with this tool.
  7. LoudTwitter: Send tweets to your blog and keep contacts updated even if they don’t read your Twitter.
  8. Twit2Do: Use Twitter to manage your to-do list using Twit2Do.
  9. twtvite: This event management Twitter app can help you plan classroom events.
  10. TrackDailyGoals: TrackDailyGoals will help you keep track of your productivity and goals.
  11. Tweetizen: You can start your own group, or find groups with specific interests on Twitter.
  12. HappyTwitday: Celebrate classroom birthdays on Twitter by using HappyTwitday.
  13. twtpoll: Take classroom polls and surveys with the help of this app.
  14. GroupTweet: Make twittering in your classroom group-easy using this tool.
  15. Tweetworks: Tweetworks offers groups and threaded discussions on Twitter.
  16. tweetparty: Communicate directly with your Twitter group by using tweetparty.
  17. TwitOrg: TwitOrg offers a great way to create, manage, and join organizations.
  18. StrawPoll: Get tiny polls from StrawPoll.
  19. ConnectTweet: ConnectTweet will help you combine the voices of your group.
  20. Twibes: Create your own groups on a specific topic and let others follow it.
  21. twitority: Perform Twitter searches that offer authoritative sources by using twitority.
  22. TwiST: This Twitter search tool will help make your searches more efficient.
  23. Just Signal: Using Just Signal, you can create a filter to only get tweets that discuss keywords you choose.
  24. Twups: This Twitter news aggregator makes it easy for you to follow all of your favorite subjects.
  25. QuoteURL: Quote a number of different tweets at once on one page with this app, great for presentations.
  26. TwitPic: Share photos on Twitter, or find photos from all around the world using this service.
  27. TweetCube: Share files via Twitter using TweetCube.
  28. SnapTweet: Use SnapTweet to post your latest Flickr photos to Twitter.
  29. TweeTube: Share videos on Twitter using TweeTube.
  30. Twitxr: Send photos from your mobile phone using this app, great for teachers and students alike.
  31. Annotated Links: Put a bunch of links and a note into one URL to share on Twitter with Annotated Links.
  32. LiveTwitting: During lectures, events, and more, you can use LiveTwitting instead of liveblogging.
  33. Twubble: Twubble will help you find people who have interests that are compatible with yours.
  34. Twits Like Me: Find other users in education through Twits Like Me.
  35. Splitweet: Get multi account management, so you can separate your educational and personal accounts.
  36. Followize: Use Followize for a fast and efficient way to read your tweets.
  37. Qwitter: Find out when students and other followers stop following you.
  38. The Tourism Twitter Project. The tourism industry group shares experiences from around the world.
  39. Black Friday Twitter Project. Learn how this experiment uses Twitter as a real-time news alert system.
  40. WiZiQ and a twitter experiment. One man gathered a Twitter community to test an educational program.
  41. twittories. Create a story where each person can add 140 characters to contribute to the greater story.
  42. twitterbookgroup. Participants leave their thoughts on the book in their 140-character answer.

– Most of the list was garnered from these resources (plus Bing!):  100 Tips, Apps, and Resources for Teachers on Twitter and Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher .

This is a great  link to all things Twitter on Wikipedia…does that make is Twikipedia?

Another link to 25 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Post a comment if you have some great ways that you use Twitter teaching online, hybrid, or face-to-face.  Or if you just want to commiserate with me as I stumble my way through the Twittersphere trying not to babble.

Oh, and you can always follow me online @chambo_online.

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Posted by on September 14, 2009 in Teaching Online


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