Friday, May 25, 2012

I Get Twitter

If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know I have been sometimes ambivalent about Twitter and sometimes downright dismissive. Last weekend, I finally "got it." When I say "got it" I mean that I have figured out how it can fit into my PLN/continual learning model. Previously, I felt largely fulfilled by reading and writing blogs, by reading professional journals and participating in conferences and workshops. What was different about last weekend? I accompanied my friend and colleague Sarah Barton Thomas to my first edcampEdcamp Philly to be precise.

This "unconference" was purposefully unplanned before we arrived. Read more here if you are unfamiliar with the concept. It's my way to try to make order from chaos, so naturally I created a wiki to record the day's links and various resources. I wanted to make sure that the other conference participants had a way to contribute, but wasn't sure how to reach them. I'm a bit hazy on how the idea came to me (Sarah? The organizers? myself?) but I somehow knew that I could use Twitter to distribute the link. I have a Twitter account that I established back in October--reluctantly. What I did not understand was how I could somehow connect with all the folks in the room who were not my "followers." That's when hashtags--this vague tagging notion that I kind of sort of understood a little bit on the periphery--became solid in my mind. "Ooooh!" If I tweet this with an #edcampphilly hashtag, then anyone who is looking for that hashtag can see the Tweet. Halle-frickin-lujah. The clouds part. I get it. That day, I tweeted more than I had ever previously tweeted. Seriously I doubled my number of tweets in one day and my followers tripled.

Sarah says I am a tweeting maniac now. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment, but compared to before the conference I certainly am! I will check Twitter once a day.I will post maybe two tweets or so. I'm still checking blogs and reading journals. I'm still relishing the fact that I can write as many characters as I want on this blog post. But now, I understand the power of the hashtag, and the connectedness that can instantly result through the use of them on Twitter. This tool still remains largely a headache to me because of the mass of information that comes through my feed and I still have a that aforementioned desire to make order out of chaos. I'm still working on this, and my approach is evolving. Until then, I do feel as if I have had an a-ha moment. That allows me to personally identify with and remember once again how I want my students to feel each time they work with me. Thanks Sarah, edcamp, and Twitter.

Photo credit (creative commons license): http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=222751&searchId=feed5d47c860f422712ac902a89865db&npos=7

1 comment:

teach2connect said...

I'm so proud of you and you are most welcome. It is a pleasure to have you as my favorite PLN peep.