Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘depth

For me reading some Facebook (FB) group posts is like feeding a morbid habit of watching train wrecks.

I can see them coming because they are guaranteed. The conversations (if they can be called that) are unpleasant, but I plow through anyway. Why? All for the single pearl in the mud trampled by swine.
 

 
By comparing what I do and read in FB and Twitter, I realise that the issue is granular control. I can choose who I follow on Twitter. I can only choose which groups I join in FB.

I can even block people in Twitter so that I curate the right kind of followers. This is not the same as muting people on FB as the control is finer and deeper in Twitter.

It is strange that the more verbose FB provides less granularity of control while the shorter form Twitter provides more. This starts to make sense if you buy in to this description: FB is where you hang out with family or friends. Twitter is where you learn from strangers. It makes sense to have locks on your front door, but not on the ones inside.

But this is where the description falls apart. FB groups are full of strangers who have a lot to say with very little sense. You need only examine any FB interest group with the lens of granularity to realise how this leads to breadth instead of depth.

By breadth I mean the reach that large FB groups have in transmitting information. By lack of depth I mean unsubstantiated rumour, baseless information, or knowledge built on weak foundations.


Twitter is not immune from these, of course. But you can choose who to follow and you can even choose who follows you. You can go for quality, not just quantity, and by doing so choose depth over breadth. As you reputation grows over time, you might develop reach and breadth.

Developing depth over breadth is a more responsible approach. I wonder if this is modelled and taught in digital and media literacy modules. If this is not, then learners just go with the flow of popularity contests that favour breadth over depth.

Could there possibly be a lesson on teaching from the way Trump tweets?

There could, if you looked hard and reflectively enough.

I read a short article by TODAY, Donald Trump praises wrong Ivanka in Twitter shout-out, and was dissatisfied. I wanted to see the tweet embedded in the article itself, not just quoted as text. This would attribute and show the source.

But attributing and showing sources is not the lesson for teachers, important as those practices are.

I decided to look for another article and found one by The Guardian, Donald Trump mistakes Ivanka from Brighton for his daughter. This article not only provided the tweet source, it did so in entirety, including the graphic embedded in the tweet. The graphic put the point in the exclamation.

Teachers often have to make judgement calls in the race to complete curricula. One of the questions is: How much can I cover?

To answer this question with “as much and as quickly as possible”, the response is often to resort to favouring breadth over depth.

The TODAY article covered the story as did The Guardian. Even a superficial examination of both would reveal how much deeper the latter was. There was more information, background, and embedded content.

The Guardian article took more work, provided more information, and I would argue, educated its readers more the TODAY’s syndicated article.

It is up to us to decide not just what is better, but also what is right. There may be times when depth being sacrificed for breadth is justified, e.g., the topic is introductory.

However, if we are to nurture critical and reflective thinkers, our learners must be given the space and resources to do this. This happens only when we go deep enough in both the teaching and learning activities.

Bonus lesson: Trump made the mistake only because he replied to a tweet with the wrong Ivanka handle. If he paused to check, he would not have made that embarrassing mistake.

Here is something that has been troubling me as an edublogger for while now.
 

 
Have you noticed how someone might tweet a rhetorical platitude and people go nuts over it?

But if you write longer form in a blog or a book, then very few seem to care. It is as if there is a collective tl;dr (too long, didn’t read) condition.

Might there just be too much to process? Or would people rather make up their own minds or tell their own stories?

I am inclined to say that it is the former. It is a lot easier to skim one’s Twitter feed than to read an article and think deeply about it.
 

If brevity is the soul of wit... by mrbula, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  mrbula 

 
That is not to say that tweets do not prompt deep thought. It is often hard to condense complexity into a powerful statement of 140 characters or less. But that is the author thinking hard.

Are the recipients thinking just as hard? Are they making up their own minds and telling their own stories?

Tags: ,

Mr Tweet had a guest blogger who asked Breadth or Depth: What Strategy Of Engagement Do YOU Use?


Video source

To celebrities, businesses or advertisers, having thousands of followers in Twitter might make sense. To the rest of us, particularly educators, quantity does not trump quality.

I’d rather follow people who are important to me. I’d like to learn from them and offer something in return. To do that, I must know them and know what they need. Just like class size, the smaller that number the better.

So to answer the original question, I’d go for depth. It’s more realistic, manageable and meaningful!


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