Disrespectful and Time-Wasting, or Engaged and Transformative? The Mile-High Twitter Debate

Educause 2009

W. Gardner Campbell – Director, Academy for Teaching and Learning, Baylor University

Bruce Maas – Chief Information Officer , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


An entertaining presentation,  all now playable here, a kind of semi-stand up between an alleged Twitter fiend and a CIO. It felt a bit like a wrestling bout  – all a little pre-arranged but sure I know its a role play… They were making the perhaps now inevitable case for the value of Twitter as part of stretching HE activity (and used #edtwitter tag to encourage live comment), encouraging involvement and interaction and so on and so forth. Although a mercifully different session it felt a little light on content with a message that seemed to be  – allow people to be creative and ‘messy’ in service of the mission of the institution by using this sort of technology.

It was commented that the median age of Twitter user is 31 and so not perhaps  the age of standard student. Apparently this is younger than the median age of a Facebook user – many thanks to @jamesclay for the link to the original article. Still doesn’t square with my personal, albeit very limited experience of 18 year olds who think Twitter is for oldies in the same way that email is – why use Twitter when you can instant message? (yes I know it misses all the lovely inclusive, community stuff but that’s  what’s said to me!)

I spent too much time watching and responding to the Twitterfall and not listening to the presenters. Am I just too old to be able to focus on twitter, a conversation, Powerpoint  and video clips all at the same time – sometimes just because you can show all that stuff simultaneously doesn’t  mean you should. Thankfully someone else made a comment about Twitters potential to be distracting as well as engaging…. at least there’s two of us who think that.

Anyhow probably the best , most interesting and engaging session of the day… maybe all sessions should have back channel facilities?