Friday, December 5, 2008

14 Days of Twitter Part One: “I Hate Twitter”

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The back story: I teach a course on social media & web2.0 (called Social Networking & Business For the first time this semester I required students to use Twitter. I borrowed the idea of “14 Days of Twitter” from Karen Miller Russell. She wrote about “48 Hours of Twitter” on her blog. (Yes, I’m an overachiever. 48 hours just wasn’t enough.)

I used class time to have students sign up for Twitter accounts (only 1 already had an account) and then we walked through the process of following all the other students. They spent a little time learning about direct messages, @replies, and having fun writing silly things. They also selected companies and individuals to follow using this excellent list of Twitter accounts (For those interested, the complete “lab” is available here:
I walked into class after 14 days of my students using Twitter excited to hear what students thought. I started the discussion asking for quick reactions. The first student to raise his hand (we’ll call him “T”) said “I hate Twitter”. Wow. Where do you go from there?

Reaction 1: “I just don’t get it”
“If you don't need to get out of jail and don't witness an accident or catastrophy, what is the point about Twitter?” Day 1 from “J”

“still not fond of this site Day 1 from “T”

“so how many hours a day do you think ppl spend tweeting?” Day 1 from “T

“still not excited about Twitter” Day 1 from “T”

“Oh god this twitter thing is really hard” Day 3 from “D”

“I hate this twitter thing, but it would be nice for a political debate: keep all answers to 140 characters or less!” Day 10 from “F”

“I do not still like is a little bit bothering me.” Day 13 from “G”

“Last day of tweeting. I can't wait to go back to the normal blogging. Missed the weekly blog posts.” Day 14 from “O”
Reaction 2: “This is hard!”
“I thought it would be breeze posting 3 tweets a day but it's starting to get difficult. How do i get through the remaining time?” Day 4 from “Y”

“@Y I also think the same. This is an alternative Facebook and it's beginning to wear me down posting updates” Day 4 from “B”

“I think twitter is the shorter, faster, easier version blog, but sometimes disturbing.” Day 5 from “R”

“well, It is pretty tough to post 3 comments everyday, isn't it?” Day 10 from “G”
Reaction 3: 140 characters, Really?
“I mourn the day when people form their political opinions around simplistic 140-character Tweets.” Day 14 from “B”

“Next, we need to have debates over chat, IM, or even twitter, that way the message is short, clear and easy to ignore. Day 7 from “F”

“Blaming myself for enjoying developping my thoughts in more than 140 characters. Do u think a blogpost shouldn't exceed 2 tweets?” Day 9 from “L”
Reaction 4: I can’t get this thing to work!
“I cant get my phone to work with this thing!” Day 5 from “B”

“T tried to text message twitter as a post but failed. I need figure this out again. Day 12 from “T”

“was trying to fix twitter on my phone without any success” Day 2 from “Y”

“need to set up the text messaging option for twitter” Day 12 from “N”

“this twitteriffic client is pretty glitchy” Day 5 from “X”

“the twitter app on the iPhone keeps crashing... how frustratinggg Day 9 from “F”
Have something to add? Comments welcomed. Want to hear more? This is one of a pair of posts. The other (will be) titled “14 Days of Twitter Part Two: I Love Twitter” and will include a summary and plans for next semester. Stay tuned.


Alan A. Lew said...

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

I think that I, too, would be a bit challenged to posting three times a day, everyday, for two weeks. Some days that is easy, other days I am just too busy. However, from your assignment instructions, it sounded like they were doing this in place of a weekly blog (which is something that I have my students do, as well using So maybe it was the daily requirement that was one of the problems, as once a week is more flexible.

I have not yet used Twitter in a class, though I have considered it. I have heard/known of a lot of people who just can not understand Twitter. And these are people who are know technology. For me, I like Twitter, but I do not care for Facebook at all, even though I have quite few contacts on it. Sounds like fertile ground for a research project.

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