“The truth is, I feel like yelling Stop quite a bit these days. Every time I hear about Twitter I want to yell Stop. The notion of sending and getting brief updates to and from dozens or thousands of people every few minutes is an image from information hell. I’m told that Twitter is a river into which I can dip my cup whenever I want. But that supposes we’re all kneeling on the banks. In fact, if you’re at all like me, you’re trying to keep your footing out in midstream, with the water level always dangerously close to your nostrils. Twitter sounds less like sipping than drowning.”

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3 Responses

  1. I believe there is a place for both the always-on stream of Twitter and long-form writing. In fact, in the long run I believe Twitter will enhance and build the continued use of blogs and other forms of engaged discussion.

    Twitter gives you little inroads into material that you would otherwise not have discovered. Like an index of periodicals, you scan the stream to see what interests you and dive deeply into specific subjects from there. The only difference is that you don’t have to wait for a committee or librarian to draw up the index for you – the other bright minds out there are doing it for you.

    Granted, printed works are coming under pressure more and more, especially as electronic reading devices become more used, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t reading long books. In fact, it means that more people are reading more books they didn’t have access to before, because printed books are often prohibitively expensive compared to their electronic counterparts.

    However, one thing you hit on is very true. If we are all to survive the flood of much more information being available more readily, we need to learn additional skills to filter the stream effectively and critically evaluate the credibility of the information we find. If you’ve ever written a thesis or dissertation for academic study, those research methodology skills are going to come in really handy now!

    Young people who leave our schools and tertiary establishments without these kinds of skills will find themselves quickly overwhelmed and unable to remain productive and focused.

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