If you are interested in collaborating with colleagues across the country (and world), consider using Twitter more in 2015! I created a Twitter account in July 2011. I didn't really start using Twitter as an effective networking tool until the summer of 2014. I'm not an expert, but I do know more now than when I started.
What are the benefits?
Skeptical about how you can use Twitter? In the short months that I have used Twitter as a Personal Learning Network (PLN) tool, I have connected with hundreds of teacher librarians, teachers, and administrators across the country. My Twitter followers have increased from around 140 back in the summer of 2014 to 841 as of December 2014. I have learned a lot about emerging technology (such as 3D Printing and how school libraries are starting to use it). Because I have an ever growing PLN on Twitter, more people are reading this blog since I use Twitter to tweet out my links to new blog posts. I see numerous excellent daily messages and posts from the people I follow. Twitter is also a great way to network with others when you attend a state or national conference. There are usually always specific conference "hashtags" (a specific place everyone sends their Tweets so all can easily share thoughts) that attendees will use. It's a great way to connect and collaborate with other educators and their classrooms!
I should also mention that it's where many high school and college students are spending their time...
Why it's important
It is fascinating to watch news and information exchanges happen in real-time. Twitter (and other types of social media) have changed how the world gets information and news. As educators, we need to at least know something about this to help students be better consumers of information (no matter what subject we teach)!
After you create an account
Find interesting people to follow. I like finding people that are experts in the field of librarianship, technology, and education. By following knowledgeable people on Twitter, I have learned how to post Tweets and how to navigate (by watching their posts). Like anything else, it is strange at first; but the more time you spend with it, the easier it gets. Don't forget to find people you know that use Twitter! They can show you many tips and tricks. One of my principals is an avid Twitter user, and he has taught me many of the things I am sharing with you!
I didn't feel comfortable Tweeting at first (especially since I didn't know what to do)! I wasn't sure how to make a 140 character message even work for me. To build confidence, I started by Retweeting messages that I really liked from people that I followed (I still do this). If I see a message I like, I want to share it with those that follow me; and that is exactly what a Retweet does. When you do this frequently, people will notice you are sharing good information; and they will follow you!
After I felt better about sending out Retweets, I started replying to individual Tweets by tagging them in a message response (mostly thanking them for a great Tweet). You do this by hitting the "reply" button on a Tweet or by putting the Twitter user's "handle" in a Tweet (with the @ sign at the beginning). It would look something like this (I'm using my Twitter handle as the example):
@stony12270 Thank you for sharing the info about 3D printing!
This is enough to get you started on Twitter! Start finding people to follow, follow them, and watch your Twitter timeline. If nothing else, start with the New York Times (@nytimes) or ABC News (@ABC).
I'll share what I've learned about hashtags and Twitter chats in the next blog post. Both of these topics really made a huge difference in how I have used Twitter in the last 6 months. I can't wait to tell you about it! I hope this has helped you! Until the next post, here is a great article on Twitter tips by Amy Lynn Andrews.
If you found this helpful, please proceed on to Part 2 of this article here.
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