Twitter seems to be such a polarizing subject. Ether you love it or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Why is that?
Perhaps it’s because those who have “a disdain” for twitter haven’t yet experienced the connections and inspiration that others have? Perhaps because it’s a cover-up attitude for not knowing how to navigate twitter to make it useful and meaningful? Perhaps it’s a resistance to change?
I’m sure there are any number of reasons why someone wouldn’t like twitter. But what makes me go “hmmm” is when someone criticizes without actually attempting to use the tool in an effective way. Sure, there are many definitions of what is effective, but there is certainly a “formula” or “how to” to make twitter a worthwhile place to become a connected educator.
Here are some basic guidelines:
1. Follow good people. It’s not hard to find those who teach your grade, subject or area of interest. Not sure who to follow? Ask for recommendations!
2. Tweet. It’s that simple. Reply to someone else’s tweet and you’ve begun a conversation. Hopefully from that you will begin to make connections with others. If you don’t tweet anything out, there is no opportunity for connection.
3. Give it time. Anything of value takes time and the only way to find out if twitter is valuable for you is to give it a chance. Even 10 minutes a day can be all you need to invest. Find a great blog post. Read a tweet of inspiration. Ask a question. Finding the awesome in twitter won’t happen overnight, but give it a go and see where it leads.
4. After trying it out, if twitter isn’t for you (and that’s ok!), please don’t criticize those who find it an integral part of their professional life. I won’t criticize you for not finding the inspiration I do.
Twitter is the most empowering, inspirational, ongoing professional development I have ever experienced. I have made connections with people around the globe that have changed me, encouraged me and inspired me. I have blogged about #kinderchat before, and I can’t emphasize my appreciation for this group of people enough. I am grateful that I gave twitter a chance when I thought it was an inane place for celebrities to announce to the world what they were having for lunch. Maybe you will give it a chance, too?
Thanks to Dean Shareski for inspiring this post. Dean, I appreciate the balance between professional and personal life that you tweet. Even though we are educators, we are still real people and you have shown that you can tweet both from the same account. Here’s to being real. Cheers!