The Impact of the iPhone

From Day One I was ready and interested in how the iPhone would change our relationship with the Internet and information. It’s why I stood in line to get it the first day it was available.

iPhone front

And it has changed how we expect to access certain types of information. Instead of jotting down notes to check next time I’d be around a computer, I can just check the information. I can get email and read the paper (a little too) easily. I didn’t realize quite the impact twitter or friendfeed would have, and the phone provides an excellent interface to that community. I really doubted I’d ever be interested in ebooks, but stanza has quickly become my preferred way to read certain texts.

Most recently, at ALA, I was thinking about how twitter has changed my conference experience:

Blogs seemed to play less of a role at this conference, and Twitter/Liveblogging/streaming video played way more. It dawned on me at one point that I used to keep my RSS reader open throughout the conference to see what was going on. I barely cracked it on this trip, instead incessantly updating and watching Twitter. I actually think this might be a move towards the positive. There were several meetings where people all over the country participated because of the real-time nature of Twitter.

And now that I’m home I’m reflecting on how I was on Twitter All The Time because my phone made that a really easy thing to do. I’m currently using Tweetie, which is great for tracking your friends’ general conversation, replies aimed @ you, and direct messages. It also has the added benefit of showing you tweets from people located nearby.

So, as I’m thinking about how the iPhone has changed my Internet/information behavior, I’m also thinking about how it makes sites like Twitter better. And I’m thinking about how that combination makes conferences better.

At conferences you can:

  • Participate in more than one meeting at once: physically in one place, participating via Twitter in meetings taking places in other locations.
  • Getting snippets and facts from presentations in other locations
  • Having conversations with other working on similar issues
  • Find out about new programs and groups that fit your professional interest
  • etc. etc.

And this is great for making conferences better. And, really, this is good for one’s Personal Learning Environment in general. I’m able to learn a lot (and hopefully contribute some) through participating in Twitter. I live vicariously through colleagues going to other conferences. In fact, the points above, about how Twitter made ALA better for me, are also helpful to those who aren’t actually there.

Now I’m wondering about the classroom. I’m opposed to forcing “fun” social software on students for grading (unless the course is about those types of websites… very meta), so I doubt that I’d require a student use Twitter. But I can see how it would be helpful. I knew very few philosophy students when I was working on my degree. It would have been VERY cool to connect with philosophy students at other universities through something like Twitter.

And now, we’re not even talking about the iPhone anymore. And, really, we’re not talking about Twitter. We’re talking about communicating with people without the barriers that were in place just a few years ago. Twitter helps with this. The iPhone certainly makes it easy. Mostly, I’m glad to be at a point where the changes that I knew were going to happen are beginning to be realized. I didn’t know how our relationship might change due to the iPhone, I just knew that it was going to. It’s neat to see just how that’s happening.

How’s it happening for you?

4 thoughts on “The Impact of the iPhone

  1. The probably with Twitter as primary conference communicator is for those who don’t attend or follow in real time and for the archive. Blog posts can be found, saved, tagged, commented, etc. Tweets tend to disappear if you don’t see them right away.

    I would hope all the twittering would lead to better post-conference thoughtful blog posts, but I’m not sure that’s the case.

  2. Thanks for the link, Brian… I do read Wired (on paper, even!) and immediately downloaded several of the apps. Much of the usefulness is in others using them, too, though, so not all were as useful for this experience. May in the future….

    Derik, I am totally with you. I would have expected (1) a better way to get back to older Tweets and (2) more thoughtful/reflective blog posts… however, I know I’m not doing that as much as I like, and I suspect many are in the same boat.

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