Roger Ebert Tweets in a New Era

After reading all of the “down on technology” posts Kory has been responding to, I thought I’d share one of my favorite bloggers and a great recent article of his: Roger Ebert’s blog entry Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

I’ve recently become somewhat obsessed with Roger Ebert, and especially his blog. After losing his voice because of an invasive surgery, Ebert developed an extensive online persona. Ebert is a man who has been involved in the print industry for more than half a century (his first review was printed in 1958), and still, he is one of new media’s biggest fans. Despite the slow demise of print newspapers, he declares today, where movie critics are movie lovers who blog because they love film, the Golden Age of Movie Criticism. He believes the accessibility of blogs has made it possible for great writers who don’t want a career in journalism, or may not have the connections to succeed in the print world, to contribute to the previously exclusive world of film criticism.

But more about Tweets: remember all that class discussion and readings about how new media can give voice to students who feel like they don’t have one? Ebert embodies this.

Twitter for me performs the function of a running conversation. For someone who cannot speak, it allows a way to unload my zingers and one-liners. One of the problems with written notes and computer voices is that, by their nature, their timing doesn’t work. I used to have good timing. Now in real life a conversation will be whizzing along and a line will pop into my head and by the time I write it down and get someone to read it, the moment and the context will have disappeared. Often everything will grind to a halt while I remind people what I was referring to.

For him, new media, and twitter specifically, have given him a voice after (literally) losing his to cancer. New media has given him a way to bypass his physical limitations and continue to communicate with the world in the speed he wants. And because of it, he has developed a larger, youthful audience, which was celebrated when he was awarded the Person of the Year Webby Award.

Although Ebert isn’t explicitly talking about composition or pedagogy, I find his observations about new media to be applicable to our class discussions. Mostly, I recommend him because it’s so refreshing to read a man who defies the stereotypes; he’s older and employed by print media, and yet, he maintains to be one of technology’s biggest cheerleaders.


Twitter Literacy – Howard Rheingold

I found this article by Howard Rheingold very helpful for navigating the world of tweets… He argues for the importance of new kinds of media literacies and says that “the difference between seeing Twitter as a waste of time or as a powerful new community amplifier depends entirely on how you look at it – on knowing how to look at it.” Ultimately,

“Whatever you call this blend of craft and community, one of the most important challenges posed by the real-time, ubiquitous, wireless, always-on, often alienating interwebs are the skills required for the use of media to be productive and to foster authentic interpersonal connection, rather than waste of time and attention on phony, banal, alienated pseudo-communication. Know-how is where the difference lies.”

Read Rheingold’s article here:

Networking is a lot of work

As requested last week I created a Twitter account and oh man is it a lot of work! I already have a facebook account that I check regularly and actively participate in but I guess somehow this has become apart of my daily routine because I no longer notice that I am “wasting” time on the site. However, Twitter has become sort of like a job to me. I jumped in wholeheartedly and started following people and looking for interesting leads to read and found myself more than overwhelmed very quickly. When I log into the site there are so many updates to read that I get lost trying to catch up on what I have missed in the last few hours since I have logged on. In fact I have only followed one actual thread or lead or link or whatever it is called and the rest have fallen by the way side. I am sure that there are a ton of interesting things that I am missing but I feel like I dont have the time to be shifting through all of it to get to the good stuff. Now I totally agree that these networking sites can be valuable tools for both personal and educational purposes but I think you have to be very familiar with the technology in order not to be overwhelmed and also not to overwhelm those students who may be less technologically advanced than some of the other students, especially for returning adults. I have started looking into lesson plans that incorporate these networking sites and the salient factor is that you have to know before you do.

I am curious what some other have experienced with these sites, please share!