Preparing to introduce Twitter this week to a group of elementary teachers has caused me to reflect on my own Twitter journey.
I joined the world of Twitter on October 8, 2008. I used Bwitterday to determine my Twitter birthday. It wasn’t until this past summer that I truly got the hang of Twitter and discovered its value to my professional life.
I recently found a blog post by Liz B. Davis entitled Advice for Teachers New to Twitter. In her post she describes The Twitter Life Cycle. I noticed that I have gone through many of the stages since October 8, 2008.
I remember “not getting” Twitter at the beginning. I wasn’t following many people, so I just didn’t understand its purpose. My account basically sat dormant for a very long time. Then last fall I attended an Instructional Coaching Conference in Lawrence, Kansas. It was my first introduction to hashtags. While I enjoyed sending a few tweets, I discovered the real value of collaborating and reflecting with others via 140 characters. But upon returning home, my Twittering subsided. It was back to collaborating with my colleagues in “real time.”
Then in May of 2010, I once again followed a hashtag. This time, it was during the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference. This was an amazing one-day event. Thousands throughout the US via satellite/internet attended. We had the opportunity to learn from John Maxwell, Jim Collins, and Tony Dungy just to name a few. The tweets were non-stop. As our sites conference chair, I really didn’t have time to tweet much that day but discovered I could review the hashtagged comments at a later time.
Knowing that our area schools would be incorporating a lot more technology during the 2010-2011 school year. I decided I’d better brush up on my skills. Summer seemed like a perfect opportunity. Little did I know, the world of social media was booming.
I remember finding a few like-minded individuals on Twitter early in the summer and the journey began. George Couros gave me a shout out and the twitter friends started rolling in. (after I took his advice of unprotecting my tweets).
But even with many Tweets coming in daily, I still wasn’t hooked. The randomness bothered me. Or the fact that so many good things were being Tweeted, I was afraid I’d miss something. That’s when I started to think of Twitter as a Grand Buffet!
When I go to a buffet style restaurant, I’m faced with many tempting choices. I can either take small taste-sized portions of many things or head straight for my favorites. I can choose to eat healthily or indulge. The same is true with Twitter. I can quickly scan through posts “tasting” many bits of information shared or share a few myself. Or I can linger and have a “direct message” dialogue with a Twitter friend or join in on a focused chat. Since I’ve chosen to use Twitter as a professional tool, I’m mindful of my digital footprint I’m making with each Tweet, just as I am in making healthy choices at a buffet.
I only go to buffet style restaurant during family reunions. We are a large group with many children. The “no waiting” for the meal is appealing and it allows for everyone to quickly gets settled and let the “catching up” begin. Twitter is 24/7. There’s no waiting. Every time I log on, there is something new to discover. I’m “tasting” things I’ve never tasted before. I’m finding new interests and exploring many avenues. I’m connecting with people all over the world that share a common passion for teaching, inspiring and empowering others! I still have much to learn, but I’m at a point in the Twitter cycle where I can’t imagine life without it.
On Wednesday, I have the opportunity to help others begin their Twitter journey. Look for us at #irvinghawks! I hope, in time, they discover what a difference it can make in their profession. The most exciting part is that they have a direct impact on students each and every day. The journey to incorporate more technology will open many learning opportunities for their students!
Now, how does one celebrate their Bwitterday? Looks like mine is coming up. I will be 2 years old in Twitter years on October 6th. The year ahead promises to be exciting and I can’t wait to see what continues to be around the corner!