Twitter: The Sleeping Giant of Social Media

By: Evan Rowan

The argument over social media sites pertaining to if it has an educational use in society has been going on for several years. Everyone seems to be divided on whether or not twitter is a productive use of technology. I always thought that the majority of skepticism came from the older age group, and after interviewing ten different students about twitter, it seems that many students have the same overall opinion as me.

According to the interviews, 80% of the students have a twitter account, 70% deemed twitter to be productive rather than useless, and 60% think twitter has potential to be in the classroom to further student education. Though there was only ten students interviewed, the results show potential that students feel twitter can be productive and useful.

Many experts have also agreed. According to Alireza Jalali and a team of researchers from the University of Ottawa, “Twitter may hold much potential as a learning tool…This type of knowledge sharing or microblogging has been found to have broad value as a news and communication medium.” The potential that twitter can be used for is an array of possibilities waited to be exploited. For example, some teachers and professors have started using to twitter in their classes to engage students in discussion. Below is a discussion on twitter ran by teacher David Billikopf in order to engage his class.

People everywhere have started to try to incorporate twitter into the education system and so far, a lot of the results have been very promising. The video and link below relate to a Twitter experiment that Doctor Monica Rankin used for her history class at the University of Texas. And according to the feedback from students in her class, the way she integrated twitter into her class gave everyone the opportunity to get their opinions out and was a positive experience for many.

Twitter experiment image

Taking a step back from twitter in the classroom; twitter being used other than outside the classroom has led to positive effects. After the shooting of Michael Brown, hundreds of teenagers tweeted with the hashtag “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown” in order to express their thoughts on how a simple image can wrongly portray a person or situation. Below is a podcast explaining how students tweeted and influenced a major news station (NBC) to take down the picture they posted of the Michael Brown that wrongly portrayed him as someone who looked to be in a gang.

Audio Michael Brown

Twitter is an underrated source of social media that has growing potentials. The fact that so many students are comfortable while using twitter is an indicator that using twitter in the classroom is a viable option for teachers and professors to use.

What is the purpose for the name of this blog? Twitter is the “sleeping giant of social media” because of its underrated use and the possibilities it encompasses. The hashtag tool, polls, direct messaging, and finding news all are ways that twitter can be easily used in a classroom setting. Now it’s the teachers and professors turn to decide whether or not to use it.

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