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

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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…

Here’s a thought:
Internet and blogging make us dumb… and dumber. I have a past as a firm tech-skeptic, but got turned over after living in Tokyo. Technology and in particular Internet has transformed how humans interact and communicate. This year’s Nobel Prize winner in literature, Doris Lessing, is not impressed. She believes that it has stalled intelligent dialogue and debate. Commentator and author Andrew Keen has criticized the Web 2.0.-development and the “cult of the amateur”, including schmucks like me who blogs for nobody. Mrs. Lessing and Mr. Keen thinks the Internet has spawn a generation of semi-thinking individuals with superficial knowledge of their cultural inheritance.

If anyone cares… I agree and disagree.

Personally, reading books and immerse myself in meaningful intelligent pursuit of knowledge have been increasingly harder after the intertextual multimediality of the web with constant IM, mobile communications etc. On the other hand, it has given me the opportunity to access a global community of information and communication with people with shared interests and shared past through social networks such as Flickr and Facebook. It has given me the opportunity to build knowledge together with others through communities like Wikipedia, and as a teacher I have helped students find an enthusiasm for writing through blogging.

There’s a lot of BS out here, and a lot of meaningless gibberish, but that’s nothing new in human activity. I’m an optimist, and I believe the likes of Mrs. Lessing and Mr. Keen tend to have valid points, but lack to see the full potential for meaningful discourse and communication through the advances of technology. A, to me, new magazine (printed and an innovative online edition) named Monocle is an example of this. Covering a vast area of topics ranging from politics and culture to architecture and design it has an interesting look at the near future. Have a look!


I’ve been an avid Flickr user for a couple of years now, and the online photo storage/stream service keeps on improving. The latest offering is online in-house photo editing called Picnik, but personally, as a globetrotting geography lover, I dig the new Places feature under the Explore flag.

Type in a place and you’ll get the best from this particular place. A great way to research before any holiday-making. I’m proud to discover too of course that my good friend, larskflem and myself are featured photographers of our hometown Horten, while my sister’s eminent photographing boyfriend Mixmaster has the featured interestingness photo on the same page. Yeah!

The ECIS conference in Madrid has presented me with many inspiring and enlightening lectures and workshops amid a flow of high expertise and know-how. The entitled workshop Web 2.0 Cocktail enticed me and was exactly what it advertised to be: a cocktail: short ‘n’ sweet, creating a buzz and leaving you wanting more.

A great mix of teachers and IT directors from international schools in France, Czech Rep, Austria and Quatar gave the audience a brief lowdown on what’s moving and shaking online in terms of the woed and much talked about web 2.0 and how to incorporate it in your lessons and use it as a pedagogical tool in a responsible and efficient way.

A range of resources were revealed as well as a great amount of online sites were discussed and presented. Social networking websites like Ning, Linkend, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook and Second Life were given attention and examples were given on how teachers have used these virtual environments to initiate student-generated projects across the globe. International students in Prague had an ongoing project with two schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, on Ning where they posted videocasts, communicated on IM and collaborated on essays.

The inspiring Julie Lindsay, Head of IT at Qatar Academy, focused on wikis and blogs in the classroom. She pinpointed the incredible wave of pedagogical tools in the surge of the web 2.0 and mentioned resources for adventurous teachers such as Mashable, Five Sites, Go2Web2.0, and Atomic Learning. Mrs. Lindsay has spent the past years on research and utilization of wikis in schools – wikis that work – for student-based project work. A great place to start is Wikispaces for teachers, whereas PBWiki and WetPaint can be great starting points as well. Mrs. Lindsay did close her contribution to the Web 2.0 cocktail session with a tribute to Twitter and the curious phenomenon of miniblogging – oddly enough I was the only one in the crowd twittering.

Chris Chater had a nice run-through on Audio 2.0 and excellent web tools for the music teacher. The cute and funny Flashy Horses from Sweden is definitely an online classic. Mr. Chater did devote most of his time to the value of podcasts in teaching, and pulled out of hi sleeve online resources like Podcasting Tools, Odeo, Podproducer and the very interesting newcomer Gabcast – a no-nonsese way of podcasting directly from your mobile phone to the web.

On an end note Google Docs and Zoho were discussed. Particularly interesting was Barbara Stefanics’ keynote on the cautious first steps to using web 2.0. tools in the classroom. She had her class set up an Gmail account each before she opened a document in Google Docs and invited them all in. She posted questions and her 12 students responded in real time to them. A genuine act of dynamic word processing was unfolding – and that’s just the beginning.

There’s a lot of hype on the sexiness of web 2.0., but used in the right ways for the right purposes it might very well be the transitional bridge into the 21st century that flabbergasted teachers have been looking for.