This is a post I wrote when I first started using Twitter but never posted, there will be another post shortly on my experiences so far with Twitter (this is now up and may be read here (Silver, 2019).
Studies have shown that educators value Twitter for its accessibility, ease of use and ability for interaction. It allows them to connect to other educators that they may not normally meet who have similar and diverse ideas. Twitter offers an alternative to personalise an educator’s PD (based on need and competence) in an atmosphere that relies on collective knowledge to learn rather than heirachies. It allows educators to exchange resources, practises and ideas (Carpenter & Krutka, 2015).
OK, I don’t know exactly what Twitter is, but it may be useful. I’ve heard of a Tweet or is that a Twitter? I’ve no idea! Will I ever get a handle on this?
This is an exploration of my venture into the use of Twitter, a totally new experience for me. As I begin I have feelings of overwhelm and despair – will I ever get the hang of this? I imagine this is somewhat how our students feel when given a new topic.
As Luca (2015) says ‘Twitter may not make sense immediately, but if you persevere, engage in the ‘give it a go’ mentality we Australians are renowned for, then you might just find a valuable professional learning tool’.
As my confidence grows I am sure I will feel more excited and curious.
For those of you who are as new to Twitter as I am here is some terminology to get started with, courtesy of Shannon McClintock Miller (2010).
Microblog: what twitter is, say what you want to say, but say it in 140 characters or less.
Tweet: when you send out a message or content (link etc).
Retweet: When you send on somebody else’s tweet to your own network, with or without a comment.
Hashtag: Using the # symbol to aggregate tweets on a given topic
Twitter stream: Constant lists of posts from people you follow.
Lurk: To hang about and view Twitters without commenting or retweeting.
As soon as I begin I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information – I must admit I do have somewhat of an attitude of ‘sufficing’ at times as I try to overcome information overload, to which one of the responses is not to look at information at all (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). This is how I feel about using Twitter – there is too much information, I don’t want to look because I can’t keep up with it. But I persevere. I decide to put the app on my mobile and having it accessible on my phone means I can quickly flick through posts and try to stay on top of my Twitter stream.
I lurk around for a while, seeing what people post and following more interesting people. I see interesting tweets I would like to save so I Google how to save a post (this is actually bookmarking a post, see how to do it here on a mobile).
Having been encouraged by seeing posts by other people I knew hadn’t used twitter before, I jump in and retweet – that wasn’t so bad.
I am starting to feel more confident in my ability to use Twitter and can see the potential it has for establishing my PLN. I have already come across some good resources for teaching and supplementing information for concepts I am studying at the moment.
Have you used Twitter or a social networking tool for communicating resources and ideas with others?
Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35 (2) 180–191. doi: 10.1177/0165551508095781
Carpenter, J. & Krutka, D. (2015). Engagement through microblogging: educator professional development via Twitter. Professional Development in Education, 41(4), 707-728. doi: 10.1080/19415257.2014.939294
Luca, J (2012, October 27). Personal Learning networks [online article]. Retrieved from http://education.abc.net.au/newsandarticles/blog?id=40029
McClintock Miller, S. (2010). Enhance your Twitter experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/learn/edtech-research
Silver, T. (2019). Twitter – an update [blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningawaits/2019/05/25/using-twitter-an-update/