Entering the Twitterverse

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford ~


I don’t know why this poem seems appropriate but I ran into it in a book I am reading as a book group with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project (the book is From Outrageous to Inspired by David Hagstrom) and it got at something about my entry into Twitter.

A year ago, my friend, Bud, was explaining to a few of us in the National Writing Project about Twitter and I kind of didn’t get it. He talked about short posts, an emerging community and text messaging. He lost me at text messaging, as I don’t like cell phones, and so Twitter remained outside of my field of vision for a long, long time.


Then, I became an Edublog Supporter and suddenly, I had some possibilities to merge my Blog with Twitter, and I realized that I did not need a cell phone (was this obvious to everyone but me?) and I could Twitter from the web. And so, I did, and in the past week or so I have been fully engrossed in this concept of “What are you doing right now” in 140 characters or less. It is not IM, as far as I can tell, but some strange cousin with its own universe. And, of course, my friend, Bonnie, was asking if I was going to venture into Twitter. There was a convergence of momentum.

What I like about Twitter is that it gives me an opportunity to enter as a writer, but I am also becoming a reader. As you Twitter, you are also following others, and others are following you. I think. It seems as if there are many threads going on, depending on your network, and so you may suddenly see references to alternative conversations and it feels a bit disorientating. As if someone is whispering some news behind your back, inadvertently. I am wondering what is going on with the other folks in my network and if I am even part of their network. Is it all reciprocal?

I also use something called Twitbin, which an add-on for Firefox that allow you to open up Twitter right in the left side of the browser. It is quite handy. You can be working and watching as folks are letting you into their lives. Anything from baking cookies to preparing for a presentation to a scuffle in the classroom — it comes out on Twitter.

With Edublogs, I can now both add my blog posts to my Twitter and then collect all of my Twitter posts onto my blog — all automatically. It’s interesting and I am noticing my writing is a tangle of focus and freeform with Twitter. I really am trying to hold true to the question of “What are you doing right now.” It reminds me of our Day in a Sentence, too, as we reflect on our week and boil it down to its essentials. Twitter is kind of like that, but on the run and in the moment.

Along with searching out Twitter friends (dogtrax is my twitter name, if you want to add me to your list), I also came upon two interesting Twitter feeds. One, called TwitterLit, posts the first line of an adult novel and that’s it. Another, called KidderLit, is the children’s book version, and it has opening lines to kid books. I love that. It is so interesting and certainly, I am going to use them as writing prompts in the classroom. (Hmmm — might be a nice post for Ben’s TeachEng.Us blog — note to self).

Where does this Twitter lead? I am not sure, but I was intrigued to see my friends from the New York City Writing Project having their own collective Twitter page and I wonder if there are ways to move Twitter into professional development.

For now, though, it is another venue for writing. What am I doing right now? Writing about Twitter. How about you?

Peace (in short thoughts),



  1. Nice to see this article up so quickly. I wonder what you will be writing about Twitter in a few months from now. As for me, I always jump to join on something that sounds good, an interesting tool, but I don’t always no what to do with it and like you, Kevin, I do love email, but not text messaging or even the cell phone. Lots of people can’t believe that I don’t have an Iphone yet. I will, of course, by May, when my Verizons contract is up.
    As for Twitter, I have been enjoying the writing of short sentences. I am so comfortable sharing on the web with my own blogs as a start. As I follow threads(love the poem, Kevin) I don’t get all the connections. Sometimes the conversations seem private in their way, but as I find familiar emails, it seems to be a good way to communicate. I also enjoyed connecting with the NYWP, a la Nancy.
    So I will continue with this. It took some time to get the hang of leaving twitters, more private and public and the combination.
    And following Nancy, I did find a way to download a tool so that there’s twittering all around my apartment when a new post is written. Whoops a new tweet came through (twitterific)
    I still like IM but it’s different for sure.

  2. One more thing:
    I agree too, that it’s cool to have the edublog tools to connect new blog posts instantly on Twitter. I was freaked out when I saw my blog post arrive just as I clicked publish. Wow!
    I am wondering too, how Twitter can be used with our site work. I always wonder how a tool can be used with TC’s and kids ultimately.
    Bonnie again.

  3. We follow each other’s delicious accounts. I’ll be adding you to Twitter as well (njtechteacher). I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented on your blog before, but I do enjoy reading it through my rss feed.


  4. Hi Anne
    Glad to have you in my various networks. I just added you in Twitter, too.

    Bonnie, thanks for the insightful comments here. Something more for us to think about, eh?


  5. Pingback: Twitter Scan: Search within Twitter » TeachEng.us

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