An (ongoing) Twitter journey in three phases so far

Phase 1 – Rejection (2007-2011)

Twitter first came on the scene on 21 March 2006 according to twitter.about.com and wikipedia. I first joined Twitter on 7 November 2007 but after a bit of a play, I decided it was pretty trivial and a distraction I could do without.

On 3 June 2008, I tweeted “I’m giving Twitter another go for a while. When I first checked it out I could not see the point but others I respect tell me it is great.”.

screenshot of tweet

Still it did not grab me. I was too busy and already had more than enough regular information flowing to me via email alerts, email lists, Facebook and newsfeeds. The noise:signal ratio was far too high and I still could not see it being valuable to me.

Phase 2: Contained adoption (2011-2014)

In May 2011, I attended a Skills Tas eLearning conference and they promoted the use of a hashtag for the conference. I decided to have a go and found it really effective for getting a sense of how others in the room were experiencing the same session, and also how other sessions were going. From that point, I adopted a practice of tweeting at conferences and other events where participation was otherwise fairly passive. I felt pretty comfortable about that – it was something I could do well in those periods of time dedicated to focussing on professional learning. I got into a routine of taking notes and copy/pasting extracts as tweets and/or using my tweets as brief notes.

That has continued to be my practice. Over the last year as I’ve attended various events related to my studies, I have got into a rhythm with my laptop and smartphone (for when I want to include pics). I have found it strangely gratifying when tweets get favorited or re-tweeted. I wonder a lot about that very human trait of liking recognition and how it can be so easily manipulated, and the associated pitfalls of social media.

At a recent conference, a colleague and I were comparing notes and she too was saying that she just couldn’t get into twitter. I told her about my use of it for conferences and she later emailed me to thank me for opening her eyes to the value of Twitter for conferences. It felt good to have have that validation.

Phase 3: Attempting more regular use (2014 – )

In recent times, I have had a growing awareness that many many  educators whom I respect, use Twitter as an essential part of their professional learning network (PLN) and their open sharing creates a rich resource for others. I have been surprised at how many busy people extol the virtue of Twitter as a source of professional learning and started to think that maybe I was still missing something. Maybe Twitter is an effective way to share just enough to be useful, without requiring the much longer time to do a thoughtful blog posting.

I have spent the last couple of days with the ACCE 2014 study tour group and have observed (and participated in) some serious tweeting to good effect. There has also been lively discussion about using Twitter as a classroom tool, especially from the very talented and innovative  Miss Spink.

So, I am giving it a go again, to see where it takes me and how I feel about it after a month or two. My current reality of being a full time student will change in August so it will be interesting to see which of my practices serve me well in a work setting. My top reasons for being willing to give Twitter a serious try (yet again) are

  1. A belief in giving as well as taking (online community)
  2. Acknowledging others
  3. Maintaining/extending digital fluency (maybe)
  4.  Making an informed decision going forward (about Twitter)
  5. Developing my personal learning network.

Postscript

Ironically, as I was finishing this post, I checked my Twitter feed and there was this item from Joyce Seitzinger –  about a series of blog postings titled “Is Twitter worth it

screenshot of Twitter post about the value of Twitter

This link to top 50 Twitter acronyms might be useful too – I had cause to look up “MT” today – “modified tweet”.

I’d be interested to know others’ Twitter journeys.

@jbowes

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