So Ashton Kutcher beat CNN to a million followers. Great. One more reason for Twitter to make it into the news lately. This is all well and good except I'm wasting my breath talking about how useful Twitter could be in a classroom and all people are thinking about is how they might be getting Punk'd.
Obviously, I'm not saying that Ashton Kutcher shouldn't be on Twitter or that it should be an exclusively serious, LinkedIn-style social media tool. Twitter is what it is, and I'm going to keep using it for a variety of reasons. Twitter helps me share a personal side of my online identity (whether that's Chris Dawson as School District Technology Director, Chris as Dad, Chris as husband, Chris as cat-hater, Chris as blogger, or whatever), broadcast new blog posts, solicit ideas, communicate with friends/family, or just easily update my Facebook status.
However, as Twitter comes of age, the prospect of ads looms, and Ashton Kutcher becomes Twitter's biggest (but hardly the only) source of noise and distraction, it's time to turn elsewhere. It's time that Twitter's technology and the microblogging it has popularized begin to specialize. Just as Ning lets us create our own social networks appropriate for education (or whatever purposes can't/shouldn't be served by MySpace and Facebook), so must we find/invent/create microblogging tools that don't have anything to do with Ashton.
This explains my complete excitement yesterday (and resulting 2 blog posts) over Edmodo. I'm also exploring identi.ca, which seems to be a bit less noisy and more technically-oriented. A few Ning-like microblogging sites have popped up, as well, but they don't appear to be free/ad-free in the long term.
I'm just happy to see some differentiation in the market. I don't think I'll be talking much more about Twitter in Ed Tech. My focus in this area, largely thanks to Ashton, will be shifting to microblogging and other social tools in education. I'm still a big Twitter fan, but in Ed Tech, I'm a big fan of the technology, not @aplusk.