By now, everyone has heard of Twitter. And many of you are thinking that’s just one more thing for me to manage… and who has time for it? And isn’t it really more for socializing anyway?
Lots of people have blogged about the stages of Twitter acceptance. The number of steps vary, but they all begin with “This sounds dumb and a complete waste of time.” and end with ”How did I ever live without this?” Twitter is like anything: once you find its usefulness, it becomes a tool.
I, too, was not sold on Twitter when it was first introduced to me in June 2008. It was summer, and I convinced a few friends to try it out with me. Nothing earth shattering happened. Just some social exchanges. Then, I decided to set up a separate account for work to be able to share with colleagues. Unfortunately, a lot of us were in the first stage of Twitter acceptance and didn’t update regularly. Feeling a little lonely and not wanting to give up on its potential, I then did a search and found a wiki where I could add my name as an educational tweeter. I decided to take a chance and follow several people who were listed on the wiki. (I think I went from following ten people to sixty in a matter of twenty four hours.) I then started clicking on the links that these people were sharing on Twitter. I read blog posts, liked what I read and started to follow more people based on recommendations of others. A year later, my PLN (Personal Learning Network) continues to grow. And I do learn something new everyday and make connections/collaborations that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Even when I’m pressed for time, just scanning the tweets from my PLN gets me thinking. TweetDeck loads automatically when I log into my computer, so I have made it a ritual to check my email and Twitter first thing each day. Twitter is the place where I share and get my next great idea.
This school year, a few classrooms at Abbot started Twitter accounts to try to replace the traditional classroom newsletter. Essentially, tweeting is a classroom job. The account is protected, and parents request to follow. The students are enthusiastic about reporting what’s going on in their classrooms, and they are gaining quite the level of independence about what is good, safe tweeting etiquette. Like anything, the tricky part is getting people to follow us. The parents who do participate have reported that they love it.
Twitter is just one of those things that you have to experience to appreciate. I dare you to give it a shot and follow me in 2010!