Why Teens Don’t Tweet

Why Teens Don’t Tweet

Spoiler Alert: Don’t Google something that you think is your original, creative idea because chances are someone has already thought of and written about it. (Let alone done a major study on the topic).

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not an original idea.

Having said that, in my digital literacy class the comments of my students were original, so I shall proceed with caution. As with most teachers using technology, the students are constantly bleeping, giggling at things completely not related to your class, minimizing the second you walk by, and generally doing everything but working on that ‘site’ you asked them to research. So, like all of us, we compromise. On this particular day, I asked them, “What are you tweeting, anyway? How boring this class is?”

They all laughed. “Tweet? Nobody tweets. Who do you think I am Jay-Z?”

And like all good teachers, I used it as a teachable moment and scrapped the lesson plan.

“We use ‘What’s App’ or update our Facebook. There’s no need to tweet.”
“Tweeting is for famous people just to talk about themselves. That is so boring.”
“I just use it to follow celebrities.”

And as you will read from the above study, a lot of teens actually do ‘tweet’ but for the most part they have access to so much social media that it is not their first choice. Now, I will not go so far as to say that it is for ‘old people’ but it is amazing how quickly technology evolves. It turns out that most Facebook users seem to be older generations as newer generations use a wide variety of different social media depending on their mood. Snapchat and Instagram come to mind. And forget about email.

I know none of this stuff is original thinking (thanks Google). But it does give me pause as I think about the shifting sands of digital literacy and how fast this moves and what is cool and what is not. The part that I love talking about with them is that we adults take it all so seriously, thinking what earth shattering ‘link’ to tweet or what to hashtag, but to them, it’s just a way to ‘chill’ with friends and see what’s going on. So, it really is about expression and creativity. Otherwise, we will never, ever catch up.

Bon weekend.

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie (a specialist in families in global transition) in Croatia along with his daughter and son. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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