Here’s what’s happened:
- Jennifer Dorman posted her reply to Will Richardson’s post about the effects/changes brought about by twitter.
- Will posted a twit saying he had finished writing a column and was heading to lunch. He added that he didn’t know why he was writing what he was writing.
- I responded to Will asking if twitter made him feel more connected and why he would share those bit of info. outside the twitterverse. (Will did not respond because he is not following my twits. But…)
- Vicki Davis (who is a friend on twitter) twitted to Will saying he twitted to make our day and “Who knows – why do we write anything in here?”
- I twitted to Vicki asking if twitter provided a sense of community and likened it to chatting with the postman about neighborhood events.
- Vicki responded she learns about breaking events “microblogging and aggregated from the ‘horse’s mouthes’.”
- I responded to Vicki with the question, and I’m putting this out there for everyone, “Does twitter serve a purpose/need/interest that was previously unmet?”
This all leads to the question that serves as the post title and the bulk of my response to Jennifer. Are blogging, skyping, twittering, etc. really new? Are we doing new things or doing old things on a bigger scale? I can’t think of a 2.0 tool that doesn’t do something old in a new way.
blogging = letters/e-mail (we can count e-mail as old school now, right?)/book or prof. journal publishing/message board
skype = phone calls/having coffee with friends
twitter = chatting up the postman/getting the news at the barbershop (I grew up in the country, it really happens.)/eavesdropping
aggregator = periodical subscriptions
The tools are new, the functions are the same.
What then, is the big deal?
Jennifer Dorman is in Pennsylvania.
Will Richardson lives in New Jersey and was twitting from Wisconsin.
Vicki Davis is in Georgia
I am in Florida.
Scale, diversity, depth.
Using new tools toward old means is not inherently a negative practice. I can participate in an informal global conversation (scale) with professionals from varied backgrounds/mindsets (diversity). That conversation with thinkers outside my immediate real-world environment bring a diversity of thought I would not have encountered having the same conversation with the same people in the same environment. New perspectives push my thinking in new directions (depth) and drive me look at issues more deeply. That augmented thinking is then taken back to my real-world environment and integrated into the conversation, thus providing my local learning community with new material.
This provides a pathway to ownership for hesitant digital immigrants.
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