I have to admit to having a Love/Hate relationship with Twitter. I love the concept of Twitter. Users get 140 characters to write about their thoughts, which gets sent out to all the people who “follow” them. It’s technically considered a microblogging site since people are limited to what they can post. Twitter has quite a following and it popularity has fostered a whole Twitter vocabulary.
But I also hate the inane remarks that people post on Twitter. Although I’ve been guilty of this myself, there are only so many posts that I can read about people drinking lattes at Starbucks, walking their dog, going out to eat or hanging out with their adorable toddler. It’s enough to make a person stop using Twitter altogether, which I’ve almost done on numerous occasions.
But I think I’ve seen the light with Twitter. Last week, I heard a keynote address by Will Richardson at the Leading the Learning conference at the Lancaster/Lebanon IU. Mr. Richardson says that Twitter is the greatest professional development tool he’s ever used. He carefully selects people to follow that will help expand his knowledge and push his worldview. He calls the group of people he follows and learns from his Personal Learning Network. Following his advice, I purged the people I follow on Twitter. I got rid of family members and a bunch of friends and I’ve started to select a group of people who are going to aid in my professional development. It’s actually pretty amazing the number of people and organizations that are out on Twitter. I’ve started to follow updates from The US Department of Education, Wired Magazine, Clay Shirky, Clive Thompson and some others. Some may wonder what you can learn from 140 characters. But that’s the point. In my Twitter feed, I now get short synopses of articles and websites with links to check them out myself. I can follow up on the posts that strike my interest and ignore the ones that don’t. If you’re wondering who is actually on Twitter, check out this post that lists 100 educators to follow on Twitter.
Still having some trouble understanding Twitter, check out this short tutorial from the Common Craft folk: