What had started as a small, one-sentence question has stayed on my mind for longer than I thought. Benjamin Stewart originally asked the question that makes the title of this post on Google+ and it actually turns out to be not that easy to answer. My first reaction was, it depends on how far Twitter has become an essential part in the day to day life of the average person whether it had established itself in the mainstream.
For example, if you don’t use a telephone today you probably have good reasons not to and therefore you probably won’t use it in the future. Sure, it makes you look a bit weird but that’s a personal choice. I don’t think that Twitter is that far as there are enough people left who have not even heard about it though this number is surely shrinking thanks to the embedding of Twitter in popular news and entertainment shows on TV.
To look at this question from another angle, we could of course ask whether Twitter will be around long enough to become part of the mainstream or will it be replaced by other tools and services that offer the same or maybe even a better experience.
If you take a look at how educators tend to use Twitter you will notice that they use it as an open chat platform. It is a lot about interacting with fellow educators and sharing links. I think the main point of Twitter here is that it is easy to understand, it has a flat learning curve which means that even not so tech-savvy people can get it up and running in no time.
As we all know, there is also lots of activity going on in the education space with dedicated Twitter chats and lists which help educators to grow their PLN very quickly. The overall notion of this Twitter based educator community feels pretty open and embracing.
Twitter is also bitesized, short updates in real time which fit into lunch breaks or in between classes to stay connected with the community.
I get back to community a lot and that is probably the core of Twitter for educators. If you feel the need to be part of a community of like-minded educators, Twitter will be your social network of choice sooner or later. I even think that in the case the geek, tech and even mainstream audience would leave Twitter, educators would stick around until the lights go out.
Therefore to answer Ben’s question: educators who know Twitter and are not on it by now won’t probably use it in the future. Educators who don’t know about the service yet but feel the need to connect with colleagues will get attached to it as soon as they experience the service.