Infobabble and my head

Reading this article about Twitter made my head hurt just a little less.

The story of how Twitter took off reflects how web 2.0 tools are taking off!

Twitter has become so popular, so fast, that keeping up with its fast-growing user base is a real issue. So many people now use Twitter to update friends that the system often crashes. Twitterers, as they call themselves, post their updates at Twitter.com or by using text- or instant-message tools. The service is even credited with breaking news about fires and other natural disasters.The service is even credited with breaking news about fires and other natural disasters.

So for some, Twitter has been a lifesaver in the whole sea of virtual information. I’m finding that there is just so much information available, at such pace, from so many people…well to be honest, my head hurts a lot! When I started out blogging, social networking was easygoing, a friendly bit of patter with superb points of connection.

Now there is almost to much, and I sense a competitive edge that is not in keeping with that easygoing social networking kind of way of learning. It’s no longer about what the latest tool is, but how many of the seemingly vital tools YOU are using otherwise otherwise you are not really funky Web 2.0!

I am having to prune down rather than add to my toolkit. Too many Ning groups, too many flash meetings, too many points of connection. I am certainly over that initial flush of tool grabbing. I use what I need. I read about the rest, and when I need a way of thinking or connecting for my students, I’ll integrate that. After all, we should be focusing on shifts in thinking, not shifts in technology tools. Too often the shift is about a toy tool, not about substantially different pedagogy. Unfortunately, the reality is that we can’t substantially shift pedagogy on our own, or easily, unless we have a whole-school approach to change. That’s where a school approach wins hands down – the most creative, immersive and best example I have seen of this has been the work the Lenva Shearing is doing at Bucklands Beach. Lenva, you are a dynamo, and an awesome example to us all.

So you know what? I’m over the initial flush of social networking.

Why?

Because more and more networks and social connections are being created and maybe, for me at least, there are too many. So I have to be very particular about what I choose and what I follow – and more importantly – WHY! I have a very busy day job that takes me into the night with all my networking and creative planning for change.

Interestingly these concepts were raised in the backchannel of the excellent Knowledge Conference Key Note presentation by Steve Hargadon on “Web 2.0 is the future of education”. (Congratulations to the organisers for a great conference!)

While we are busy social networking, collaborating, and creating a shared language, I believe we are also beginning to fragment the conversation. The culture of participation is pervasive, and even invasive. I love it and I hate it. I enjoy it and am frustrated by it. The teacher librarians in the back channel reflected on the explosion of information that Steve talked about. No solutions, just ideas. An excellent session for my staff to attend.

My personal focus is staying apace with 3D and the metaverse – simply because this is the new frontier and I want to understand it’s potential for learning and teaching – and life! I can’t ‘talk’ or network with everybody. For now, the group of educators involved with Second Life and the like is sufficiently small for me not to have infobabble in my head!

Photo: Headache