Twitter as an educational tool – “#Or a desk”

January 13, 2015

Hey Joel –

It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday. As I mentioned, I have put a ton of thought into ways Twitter can grow. As a person who cares deeply about the empowerment and education of youth, I believe your service can become even more relevant in the lives of users everywhere.

Twitter seems to me to truly want the “now”, to facilitate conversations, and to be the vehicle of the creative moments of inspiration in our lives. It’s in this spirit I considered some exceptional opportunities I think you all have, given what you are. Please let me share some of them, in the hopes we might discuss them formally.

Everybody knows tweets are not bound by traditional grammar and syntax rules. Still, isn’t there a great need for our children (AND ADULTS!!) to know how to build and dissect a sentence? Essays, novels, and epics are built on sentences. Parts of speech, prepositional phrasing, dependent clause rules… these are all essential to comprehension of the written word and the clear communication of our own thoughts and feelings. Sadly, they are also damn near esoteric wisdom in this day and age.

Everybody knows kids are a little bit wilder than us. The fallout from the sexting phenomenon may not have even hit us yet. In 10 years, will there be a backlash? Will young well-educated adults be denied opportunities or employment because of a sugar high when they were 15? Will candidates for political office or positions of leadership have their personal journey of self-discovery and maturation held against them? Aren’t there already public figures aching to give young men and women the benefit of their experience to get through puberty without ruining their life, or arming them with knowledge and a healthy perspective about sexual freedom and the beauty of their human forms?

Everybody knows part of the equation in determining ad rates is time spent on the UI. Couldn’t a diary both increase your attractiveness to advertisers and provide a space for young people to vet their tweets? Couldn’t a grammar or sentence-building tool do the same? Or symposiums or teach-ins on brand cultivation and preparing oneself for adulthood and the job market? Even a ultralightweight line drawing tool – couldn’t it possible save a few windowpanes if kids can have or design their own avis on Twitter (Samsung has a phenomenal app called PEN.UP)?

Clearly, these are not things Twitter does yet. However, as a local, I know that the investment San Francisco and Twitter have made in each other means you all are in it for the long haul – and for good reasons, too. I can imagine your simplicity is something you treasure about your product, and perhaps even contributes to your current UX. If you find these ideas intriguing, I would love to meet with you or work with you on them.

The best ways to contact me right now are e-mail or Twitter. My handles are @uzsmalls and @H2Onotflammable. I appreciate your reading this letter, and I do hope to speak more with you on these matters.

I hope you can tell I love your company, and that I wish you continued successes in helping people forge relationships and build communities. Again – it was a pleasure meeting you last night.

My thanks in advance,

U.S. / Alberto Rivera



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