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Monday, December 12, 2011

Twittering Away

I love to read and write. I have a deep appreciation for the written word. There's beauty in well crafted, lyrical writing that stimulates your thinking. The library has always been a sanctuary for me. Over the years I have collected a personal library of well over 1,000 hardcover books. With all of that in mind, you can imagine how I feel about how our society has evolved (devolved?) into one in which the currency of expression is often spent in bumper sticker philosophies, sound bites, social media posts, and newspapers sporting large headlines, big graphics and small amounts of text.

Are we too busy to invest the time in engaging with books and essays? Have we become afflicted by a waning attention span that precludes us from committing the energy and effort to embrace anything beyond five minutes worth of reading? Is that why a rapidly growing number of people are a twitter about "twitter" expressions that top out at a brief 140 characters?

I have reluctantly opened a twitter account and begun spouting these short statements out into the world well beyond my computer keyboard. It's been a challenge. Brevity has not been a companion of mine but the self-discipline required of condensing thoughts has offered some benefits. It reminds me of the process whereby fractions are methodically reduced to their lowest terms in a process which shrinks the values at each step. The confines of 140 characters has prompted me to carefully examine what I want to convey to others - though I confess to occasionally linking a tweet to a lengthier extension of the point rendered in the actual tweet.

Although the twitter account was started to provide yet another venue for communicating with the public in an expansive strategy that also includes our district website, traditional hard copy newsletters, facebook, a mass "blast" of the School News Notifier that is instantly pushed through lists of email addresses and phones calls, I suspect that I signed on to twitter a bit out of a fear of being perceived as old fashioned. But, I am old experienced - with distant memories of the world before the Internet. I recall mimeograph machine produced newsletters without any color except a purplish blue(Google mimeograph since I imagine that few of you might know what it is); tangled telephone cords of real landlines; and unpacking Radio Shack's TRS 80 computers as well as Commodore VIC 20 computers (with all of 5K of RAM memory).

All of this leaves me in wonder of what the present five year old kindergarten learners will encounter on their journey into the future.

Sorry, there was no way for me to fit this reflection into a mere 140 characters.

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