Sunday, 13 September 2009

13. To Twitter or not to Twitter

As a "social phenomenon", there is little doubt that Twitter will have a place in history. But quite where remains to be seen. Recent changes suggest it is gearing up to try to develop a business model, which probably means charging organisations and institutions (e.g. businesses and education) for its use. In the same way that you can have Google Docs for free if you have the ads, or advert free if you pay, so I expect Twitter to offer benefits to those who pay. But that can only happen when the system (and its users) matures enough for it to be worth it. Reminding parents about a Parents Evening and homework notifications is not enough. Product news may be cheaper for companies than producing newsletters. But what will be the impact for dyslexic individuals? Will they help overcome the memory issues? Will the technology make them accessible? Or will they once more create a digital divide, with the good readers gaining more than the poor readers? Nobody is addressing this, and if these micro-blogging systems are to be more widely used, somebody has to analyse their potential impact with respect to the dyslexic individual.

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