I’ve not much time, Labor Day weekend’s eating it up, for a long post. However, I would very much appreciate it if you shared some of your time to comment/rant/nag/bleat/editorialize/voice/whine or just plain write a short (or long) response to the following article (don’t worry, it’s a very short piece): Introducing the Twiller By Matt Richtel

And please, post your comment here, not there (but you already knew to do that didn’t you?). Keep in mind that I’ll be interested in your critical view of how this type of writing might affect education; both secondary and post secondary.

I’ll respond with my 3 cents after I get some input. And thanks, y’all are sweet.

This is one of my favorite summertime flowers. Do you know what it is?

By TC Conner

Pro hobbyist photographer, drone enthusiast, musician, husband and father.

18 replies on “Shorty”

I’m late to the conversation, but I think anything that pulls kids in to reading and writing can’t be all bad. Like anything, it has to be used in the right way.You know, the Dick and Jane books were real books but they were not good for kids. That was the start of moving away from phonics and into sight reading. Not a good idea. The format is less important than the content and creativity.They’re going to play with these things, anyway, and this is better than wasting brain cells playing obnoxious games. Still, it would need to stay limited. Attention spans are already dropping due to short, quick-paced everything and their brains are formatting to this which makes it harder to do regular homework. So if it was combined with pulling the thing together into one long story in print (not sure how that would work since I’m rather unfamiliar with Twitter), then it could be an interesting use in the classroom.I’m not sure this made any sense, as it’s much too late at night to be writing/discussing.

Thanks for your continued input FD. I know it wouldn’t be the only tool I’d use to teach proper writing skills, and as I said, there’d be guidelines. Unfortunately, some students (and adults) just hate writing period, and nothing will convince them otherwise.

I admit it would be a fun learning tool for students and probably would draw students in who would not normally be interested in writing. That alone would make it a useful tool. But I’m still not convinced that it would teach them proper writing skills. If you could tell me that, I will keep an open mind.And I’m glad you’re not planning to do away with books. What would I browse through when I’m in the bookstore? That’s if there were any bookstores left to browse through.

Hi Lucy, and yes, it’s completely fine to jump right in, the water’s always plenty deep so no worries with hitting your head. :~)I find the idea of “twillering” intriguing but would have to impose limits if I were to use it in the classroom. I will be teaching secondary ed (6-12) and there would have to be stated learning goals. My idea/hope is to get students more comfortable with writing. Graduating high school seniors do not enter their freshman year of college with proper writing skills. English professors spend way too much time teaching college writing I and II and I believe that should be covered in middle and high school. I think students would enjoy collaborating on a group writing project. I shall find out more when I toss this idea around in the English classes I’ll be subbing at this year. Thanks to everyone who commented on this topic, I value all of your opinions.

Flydragon: I see your point. But don’t you think it might be a good learning tool for students in a cooperative writing assignment? And rest assured I have no intentions of doing away with books. ;~)

To elaborate a bit. I like books. I like the feel of books in my hands. I like the look of books stacked on the bookshelves every which way. I like to re-read a good book, several times for some, so that I can enjoy it more than once. I like to dog ear pages that have a special interest for me. I like to stretch out on the couch or curl up in a favorite chair and enjoy a book at my leisure, sometimes reading far into the night. I would not enjoy reading tiny snippets of novels on a tiny screen all the while trying to decipher texting language that I’m not familiar with. I am one of the 10 people in the entire country that does not have nor want a cell phone.How this type of writing would affect education, I don’t know. I do think those who use it will be missing out on one very important thing. Books!!

HelloThis is the first time I have visited your blog so I hope it is alright to weigh straight in with a comment.I think it’s a brilliant idea.I’ve never seen the point of twitter. Maybe that’s because I’ve never come across anyone twittering interestingly.To use it like this would be wonderfully subversive and humourous (even if the tale is dark).People who are using their computers a lot might well be drawn into the story. It would only take a second to flit to the daily installment and back.It would be like old fashioned comics where every episode ends in a cliff hanger . . . The author would have to be disciplined – able to keep the reader tantalised without letting the story slip into melodrama.As for its uses in education . . . I can imagine some teenagers really throwing themselves into creating something like this . . . writing it and getting their friends to read it . . . and better still, seeing if they can trick the general public, people they don’t know, into believing it.But as for ‘proper’ or ‘grown up’ authors hoping to ‘educate’ younger people through a twitter tale . . no! ‘Education’ puts people off reading as it is. Good stories, good writing, good presentation . . . it’s a bit like food . . . tell children it’s healthy and they will treat it like medicine . . . offer a tasty and well cooked and age appropriate meal and they’ll wolf it down without bothering about its significance (which is much nicer).But, in terms of effort and time for the author . . . I think it could turn out to be surprisingly time and thought consuming. To write something worth reading using so few words wouldn’t necessarily come easily. It would be like writing absolutely top class poetry – every day (with Twitter, perhaps several times a day). Every word would have to count, even when describing the most mundane of events. And there would need to be an invisible rhythm to it – or conscious lack of one.If you do take this up as a project yourself – I do hope it goes well.Lucy CorranderPICTURES JUST PICTURES

Tina: I’m humbled by your kind words. I’ve met Dr. Dirt also. Unfortunately he and Felder no longer have a working relationship. All three of us were together at the 2006 Philly Flower Show. I was also privileged to have been able to get a private tour of Dr. Dirt’s garden, and also Felder’s. (I think a blog about my friendship with Felder is in order, and of course a photo or two.)

TC that is so cool about you knowing and working with Felder! I saw him speak here at Perennial Plant Society last year. He and Dr. Dirt were pretty cool! I did some postings on bottle trees and he was kind of enough to email me back when I posted about the bottle trees and linked to him. He didn’t comment on my blog though:( But it was nice he did email me back the history of bottle trees, of which I had no idea. I am so impressed! I will look for that book in the library some time.

Susie: I have a tendency to agree with you about it being appealing to kids; but incorporating it into the classroom as a learning tool might not go over very well. When I get certified (English language arts), I hope to use it in my classroom as a cooperative writing assignment.And yes, it were my comment that included mention of Felder. I’m good friends with him and was honored to write the foreword to “Tough Plants for Northern Gardens,” a gardening book he wrote and worked on while visiting us. We’re pictured in the book as well. Thanks for coming over and do come back!And that goes for everyone else!

It doesn’t really appeal to me. I enjoy being able to read something at my own leisure. However I do think kids would probably enjoy this. It could possibly keep them more interested in reading as opposed to having to open a book. Okay, I just read on someones comment(or possibly your comment) you are friends with Felder Rushing? I usually read his gardening column every week.

Beth: Thanks for your comment. I think if I were to do a “twiller,” it’d only be for amusement. Perhaps that’s why sites like Twitter and Plurk are popular, they’re amusing. (I Plurk.)I love my books, and would never give them up for “twillers.”

Hi TC – thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a heart-felt comment. Much appreciated.Regarding this new writing idea … hmm. I don’t read a lot of novels but if I am reading oneI like the good ol’ tangible book. I still like to feel the pages and dog-ear them! Or look at the cover artwork, read reviews, etc. Maybe I’m old-fashioned!I guess it would all depend on your audience. I can see my 17 year old thinking this would be pretty cool but everything in his generation is instantaneous. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more young adults actually put down the cell phone and the ipod and enjoy a good read again? Just my two cents.

Flydragon: Could you elaborate just a tad more. I think it’d be interesting to know why you think “it sucks!” Tina: I believe I heard about King’s foray into that realm a while back, but didn’t think nothing of it. Your point about reading a “story at my leisure, not the author’s” is interesting. I think if an author is wanting some type of interaction with her audience, then doing the “Twiller” thing might be an outlet. Jonathan Coultan quit his day job as a computer programmer to start recording, using some of the same premise behind “twillering.” He’s actually pretty good, if you want to hear him, search his name on YouTube, specifically, the song “Code Monkey.” Susie: You’re correct, it’s clematis, after the fact. I look forward to reading what you have to say. Sparky: I think’s it’s a very innovative idea. But wonder if it might be used as a shortcut by a lazy student author? I see possible issues of plagiarism when you consider how a student might use it for a writing assignment. I’m thrilled to hear you love gardening, and yes, I am a “transplanted southerner.” Good friend and fellow garden writer Felder Rushing refers to me as “He who lives with Yankees.” I expect more visits from you. ;~)

The Twiller is an innovative idea. Go for it! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I always say.Loved the gardening photos too. I enjoy gardening when weather and health permits.Are you a transplanted southerner in enemy territory? [lol] We live in SE Gawga and I have yankee relatives (in western Pennsylvania, no less).Enjoyed your blog. It was fun! Thanks for sharing your creative genius with the world.Sparky ♥ ∞

tc-I think that is a spent clematis bloom. As far as the article goes on twiller I’ll have to think about that and comment on it later.

I seem to recall Stephen King doing this online too. He is one of my all time favorite authors, but I did not subscribe to the serial novel. And won’t now. Why bother? As much as I love blogging; which can be considered kind of similar except that you don’t leave the reader hanging, I want to read a complete story at my leisure, not the author’s. As far as its impact on education, who knows? In today’s technology perhaps only a little at a time is a good thing? I have no idea what that flower is. Please do tell!

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