Possible answers: Technological revolution. Digital Immersion. Mass communication. Worldwide connection. Boundaries destruction. Instant learning. Word spreading. Multimidia exposure. … Global sharing!
I’m a baby at Twitter – my first tweet hatched about 8 months ago, when, freshly come out of ABCI Rio 2010, I knew I had to join it. Pretty naïve, I thought I’d just become a member to see how it worked, but this virtual tool hit the world like a tsunami and as such had an immense impact on those on its way. I was one of them.
My baptism at Twitter happened in a learning environment. I was at a congress, and everywhere my eyes went I saw fingers swiftly dancing over the keys of laptops, blackberries, iPhones or iTouchs or whatever gave you connectivity in an urge to share what was happening with the world outside that plenary room. Geeky! … Impressive! Mark Prensky classifies me as a ‘digital immigrant’, which I proudly admit to being, which explains why technology still stupefies me at times. I’m stubborn, so I’m learning. Like a good immigrant, I’m seeking advice, following examples, finding my way, stumbling here and there, building my identity at Twitter. Making connections. Learning at light speed, a zillion topics still undiscovered. Words like hashtag, retweet, DM, follow, unfollow are Twitter lingo I’ve acquired and feel pretty confident with. There’s still loads to sink in, so off I go.
Next question: ‘What for?’
I wobble away at first, not knowing exactly how to answer the head question. “Will people be really interested in what I am doing???” For fear of sounding silly, I am a spectator for a good length of time. Finally, I realize I don’t want to spend my 140 characters on social networking all by itself. Thirsty for knowledge of any kind, I decide to steer my Twitter account towards professional development. My PLN – Professional Learning Network. Now, there’s a breakthrough: I’d never have believed it a year ago one could gain so much from following other people. Well, not ‘other people’, but selected people and institutions, writers, lecturers, teachers from here, there, everywhere, company colleagues, people I’ve never seen but feel close to just because I like what they write about. People and institutions I freely decided to follow. They speak my language and connect with my aspirations, taking me from my comfy armchair in Brazil to a university in Japan or a primary school in the US, all within 140 characters.
A life in two lines. Maybe less.
After a couple of months of serious tweeting, I’ve thrown the towel and started advocating in favour of this marvelous tool which can take you to new paths of thinking – broader thinking, I mean. If you aren’t convinced yet, take these reasons to start tweeting:
– To broaden your thinking
– To get informed in any area you want
– To be constantly updated
– To get connected
– To become more tolerant
– To understand others
– To grow as a person
– To grow professionally
– To make friends (you may never see them, but they’ll be your friends anyway)
– To find old friends
– To learn things one line at a time
– To learn another language little by little (140 characters!)
– To learn to abbreviate (again, 140 characters!)
– To exchange ideas
– To change your ideas
– Ultimately, to learn, to grow, to share.
Five years. That’s how old Twitter turned on March 21st. For an infant, it’s a giant, like many other digital tools. Happy anniversary, Twitter. Keep growing. I’ll tag along.