Saturday, November 27, 2010

Social Media and Inferred Meaning...I Think I Get it.
It struck me the other day that I am forced to think a lot when reading my Twitter and Facebook feeds.   Character limits cause writers to be concise and readers to infer lots of information.  Writers need to carefully think about word choice to get the most for their 140.

I am a  Twitter(er) and a Facebooker.  I joined both of these social media outlets a bit later in the game than tech savvy colleagues.  I am looking at my Twitter feed right now and don't fully understand most of the 200 postings by the people I follow.

Ian O'Connor of ESPN tweeted "greatest pass ever in college football?....greater than flutie's?"

Now I have a million questions.  Who threw the pass?  What game was it?  What were the circumstances of the pass?  Does it have BCS bowl implications? Is still don't know after a cursory search.
To answer  these questions I now need to do a bit of research because there were no attached links.  Links are often helpful because you learn exactly what the author is referencing.  This tweet, no link.

In contrast the Newtown Patch usually has clear  Tweets: "New skate park draws reave reviews from youngsters." This post had a link as well.  Very clear.

Typically, I need a bit of time for each one to sift through the minutia in my head to try to find the right context for the information. The re-tweets by the people I follow are even more confusing because I usually don't have a connection to the original source.

My hypothesis is that as students use more social media in the future, they will be forced to think and infer more informaiton.  This could lead to an abundance of misinformation, but also a great deal of thinking and valuable processing and connecting that students of past generations, (Baby Boomers, Gen Xers etc...) have not experienced.  I believe the proliferation of text messages and codes that require guidebooks supports this hypothesis. I think.

We sure will see if the students today are better at inferring information in texts.  They sure do love to read more than when I was in school.  They seem to love to read more than students did even five or six years ago.  They also seem to be better at inferring information in the text.

Maybe one day in the future I will tweet the following:  "Students brain power greater. Twitter, Texts, FB result. Help with reading skills."

By no means do I ever think this should ever take the place of conventional reading instruction. Just something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. Something great to think about. I wonder what it would be like if we posted a faux 'Twitter/Facebook' feed on our boards tomorrow? Kind of like the 'status' idea I'd thought about using earlier in the fall.
    On Thursday nights, they run a YA chat on twitter. People post and the agent/author hosting tries to answer as many questions as they can. Boy does that get to be confusing!