Pointless babble? Conversation? News? Research indicates these types of tweets (text-based posts of up to 140 characters) are what we find on Twitter, the social networking and microblogging service par excellence. A Twitter moment—those really busy moments in which the medium becomes the message—has become the benchmark for newsworthiness, i.e., what is worth our attention. Wrap your mind around that!
Now think about tweets globally: we have access to Twitter moments from around the world, in over 61 languages, in all major writing systems. As educators, we can tap into this wealth of foreign language tweets to provide real-life, real-time input to our students that reflect authentic language use within the actual culture. Students will have access to tweets that demonstrate the relationship between practices, products and perspectives of the culture in the language where they exist. Moreover, they can tweet with the native speakers or the Twitter community and produce output in the target language too, using a tool that is unintimidating (short SMS style messages), always on and always connected.
Let me share with you the role pointless babble, conversation and news plays in my Italian classes and the potential of these tweets to enrich the language learning experience.