Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Does Twitter cause writer's block?

Does Twitter cause writer’s block?
Last year at NECC ( now known as ISTE) several well known bloggers talked about how in many respects twitter had replaced blogging. I was aghast, thinking how can twitter take the place of blogging. Now one year later I am on twitter everyday and writing…well almost never. I do not necessarily think this a good thing but it may be an acceptable thing….a stage in finding an equilibrium in this information rich, interactive world.
I feel strongly that blogging and twittering can serve fundamentally different purposes but there is also some significant overlap. Twitter and blogging can both be about exchange of ideas and conversation. The development of lists in twitter, tools like tweetdeck which helps you organize your feeds and the use of hash marks all have made to concept of twitter conversations a reality. In many ways twitter is a better platform for conversation than blogs are unless you have a strong readership and comment base on your blog.
The fundamental difference, in my opinion, comes from the nature of the two platforms. Twitter is just in time connections, instantaneous discussion, and a ready source of resource for cutting edge developments in news, technology, software, productivity tools , classroom applications and educational research. Blogs can provide similar information and in fact twitter often points me to useful blog posts. On a personal level however it seems to me that “to blog” is an essentially different experience. Blogging is a place for reflective thinking. For me it means taking time to pick and choose from the information stream those things which resonate with me and/or challenge me and/or connect with the reality of my community. It means taking time to ponder those things to formulate my own understandings and then write about them to help reflect, clarify my thoughts and open these ideas to conversation.
Twitter has increased my contact with my personal learning network (PLN) and increased my exposure to ideas and information. Everyday twitter provides new links for my diigo account and new resources or tools to pass on to my colleagues at school. It is easy to get caught up in what seems a prolific and productive connection with my PLN but it is not enough. I need to take time to process, to think, to reflect and therefore I need to write…. It is time to find my way into the next stage…