There has been an explosion of Twitter users the past six months or so, which is interesting. There’s talk of the next big thing, how it is taking over for Facebook and changing the social interaction online and communication. I have used Twitter myself now for three years or so and in the beginning it was a community of three in my sphere and we kept each other updated on trivial details of our lives.

Using Twhirl from my desktop to update.

Using Twhirl from my desktop to update.

It became really useful when I set up a blog for a particular journey in the Caucasus and wanted to add a more realtime update to it other than the weekly blog entry. I embedded my tweets and my blog “came alive” with answers to the ubiquitous question “What are you doing now?” from the road.

Twitter really becomes more valuable the more interesting people you follow. I follow teachers and educators, but also journalists and musicians as well as people within the tech-industry and a nice selection of friends. Arne Krokan coined “thin tweets” and “thick tweets”, which I thought was interesting. It is actually more interesting to answer the Why? than What? in many instances. I particularly enjoy using Tweetsville for finding interesting resources and links, and hopefully share some of my own discoveries.

Twitter is constantly working on improving the expanding population of tweeters.

Twitter is constantly working on improving the expanding population of tweeters.

Surfing and reading up on edublogs across the net I realize that teachers have tried to use Twitter in their teaching, and I am intrigued by it. Nevertheless, I cannot quite see how it can be implemented in my class of ninegraders. I am familiar with Twitter Parties and Events like displayed in the screencast beneath, but I am not sure if I want to pursue it myself in my lessons.

What is true though is that I really benefit personally from the fantastic source of information, knowledge and competence which exists out there in Tweetsville. I have tried to convince others, but many shrug their head and don’t quite see the beauty of it. Personally I find that Facebook has become a dusty old interactive yearbook, whilst Twitter has taken a leap forward and keeps growing in importance to my online life.

Keep tweeting.

Useful guides for meaningful tweeting:
Art of the Tweet
Twitter is Messy

My Twitter name: mortenoddvik

In the recent week I have had the pleasure of taking part  in a social network for Norwegian teachers and educators called del&bruk. Formed by Ingunn and other entrepeneurs it has seen a mushrooming of new members by the day. One of the main issues predominant in discussions are the fear of sharing. The idea is to share your ideas on implementing ICT in your lessons and hopefully find useful ideas that others have posted. I have to admit that I haven’t been good at sharing specific lesson plans yet, but I am however engaged in discussions regarding past or ongoing projects in my own work. This network has given me an ample opportunity to share concerns and enthusiasm about my efforts to implement ICT in my lessons.
Top View
An interesting article at Betchablog addresses the issue with The New Digital Divide and points out the sad fact that the ones who usually find themselves in networks like del&bruk are already into the whole Web 2.0 community and are active in an array of networks from Flickr to Twitter and bookmark using del.icou.us and attend courses in Second Life. There is a distinction between the “will’s” and “will-nots”, and the latter have many excuses why they don’t want to take the plunge. Where does the responsibility lie?

The sole responsibility relies on the individual teacher and his/her willingness to try out new digital applications and technologies in the classroom. This is the case in most schools in Norway and beyond I dare say. Personally I do feel overwhelmed myself with all the possibilities and having actually taken the plunge myself with a trusted colleague we’ve now started blogging, making digital stories and films, producing music and taking advantage of Quizlet in language classes, Tutpup in Maths and Dipity in Social Studies. It does create a lot of extra work, but the experiences we make are valuable lessons to us as teachers and it is very rewarding discussing them with others attempting to do the same in communities like del&bruk.

Life itself is in fact lived in beta, and the most important thing is to take the plunge and try new things. Teachers are often being accused of being conservative, but del&bruk is yet another example of how we do take responsibility and try to change the status of the classroom and bring us into the 21st century. It will be interesting to see how things develop and I hope I will continue to share and participate fervently.

This blog of mine has been up and running, on and off, for nearly three years. I have written in both English and Norwegian – and I keep asking myself why I write English as Norwegian is my native tongue.

Since 2005 I have become quite an avid user of online content, social networks such as Flickr (my first one), last.fm (+ hypemachine this past week – fantastic combo), beloved Twitter, love-to-hate-but-a-necessity Facebook and in recent months iPhone compatible sites/apps such as Brightkite, Nearby, Evernote, Aroundme and others which I have soon forgot. Some a bare necessity for an active online life and others not so much.
Elements
Language of preference in all of these places are naturally; English. I don’t mind that, and considering 1 follower and perhaps the occasional friend or stranger swinging by, it does not really matter if I write English, Norwegian or Italian.

I teach and work with English everyday, but yet Norwegian is greatly dear to my heart and tongue. This blog has developed into a digital tools/education blog, but I hope to increase the posting frequency by allowing myself to post Norwegian scribbles as well in the near future.

The main reason for this is an increasing intellectual, if you can call it that, urge to express and explore different aspects of my own life and what surrounds it. We’ll see how it will turn out. One thing is for sure, Norwegian won’t die just yet here.

The development of the social Internet has personally given me a richer social, creative and intellectual life. Here’s some examples:

1. Running competitions with friends living other places using Nikeplus+iPod.
2. Realizing I was standing next to a close friend in a big crowd through pictures and videos at Flickr.
3. Discovering new music from friends and friends’ friends on Last.fm.
4. Peeking into old friend’s life on the other side of the globe through Flickr/Facebook.
5. Getting pictures published in Hungarian coffee table books on tea through Flickr.
6. Receiving pictures from a fellow traveller last summer thanks to mail.
7. Keeping track of people’s birthdays on Facebook.
8. Discussing pedagogical matter with teachers in Vietnam and Norway using Twitter.
9. Follow a friend’s arrival using GPS data and a mobile phone.
10. Walk around Madrid with a map in my palm using Google Maps and my mobile phone.

Exploring iPhone

Kristin Lowe and NRKbeta have recently discussed Douglas Adams’ prediction in The Restoration that we would take the interactivity back after decades of passive cultural and intellectual consumption. One could say a lot of the bad effects of this, interactivity gives birth to the lesser positive sides of human nature as seen in hatred expressed in tabloid newspapers online editions’ comment fields or a variety of blogs and discussion forums.

Nonetheless, I would share Adams’ prediction that we have taken interactivity back – and in my daily life applications like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Delicious and Nikeplus helps me create a brilliant blend of physical and virtual connections in a social web stretching around the globe. It’s quite a beautiful thing – and naturally also frustrating as I’m falling behind in the running challenge this spring…

I have used Twitter for a while, and it’s a neat little net app. Only a few of my friends use it, so it’s a limited social networking device for me personally. It bears resemblance to the status field in Facebook, and what is fascinating is how ‘short is the new loud’. Twitter restricts its answers to the 1000 $ question to 140 characters, 20 less than a conventional SMS.

So the idea is to tell your social network what you are doing, keep updated on what they are doing and do it short. It’s useful for giving links and top-of-the-head whims to your friends in an easy interactive way, either using your mobile or the net.

Nonetheless, the question to be answered reminds me of my mother calling me on the phone and asking me what I’m up to and how my life is going. Of course, she does not have Twitter updates nor Facebook account, but she does swing by my Flickr photostream once in a while.

So why this need to egocast my life ongoings to my friends (and the world in principle) when I find the question rather haunting when posted by my parents? One thing which does ring true though would be if Twitter was around in the eighties – that would have saved my parents the question.