Why did it take me so long to understand the most powerful learning tool, Twitter? After all, I have been sprinkling my love and excitement for teaching, technology, and learning, with a smile for as long as I can remember. What I need to remember is, there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. What I see now is, I was only sharing with the people that see me face to face or get my emails. They are the people I trust and work with. I know that I have only debated and had conversations with groups of educators that will still like me tomorrow, if I don't agree with them.
I feel that it is important to let you know that I have had a Twitter account since 2011. I would only use Twitter when I attended a conference, like TCEA to tweet what I was learning. I didn't add to my PLN by collecting people to follow. When I would return home, I felt like I was tweeting myself and no one could possibly be reading what I was tweeting. Do teachers tweet in El Paso?
I have been a faithful Twitter user for 4 months now. Faithful, meaning that I am using it to learn, share, and make connections now. I no longer feel like I'm tweeting myself. How did this happen?
Twitter tips from a Newbie
1. Ask for Twitter Handles- During the last conference I attended, PodStock 2013, I didn't want to lose the connections I made. Every time I had a conversation with someone, I asked for their twitter handle. They usually asked for mine back and I gained a few new followers. I wasn't tweeting myself anymore.
2. Build Relationships- This has been the most difficult for me. Try to interact, answer questions that you know the answer to, send a compliment if you honestly notice they are sharing things that are valuable to you, retweet any message that you want others who are following you to read.
3. Discover hashtags #- I didn't worry about hashtags too much when I began tweeting. I have since learned that it makes it easier to search and following topics. As I read other tweets, I am paying attention to what hashtags they are using. As I tweet, I am trying to add hashtags to share with others who are interested in that topic.
4. Explore- Use the search feature in Twitter. Search for people, topics, keywords, places, book titles, or anything you feel like learning or reading about. After searching names of people I work under, I have discovered that I am not the only person that didn't get twitter. There are a lot of people in education, making huge decisions, that do not have an account. We all have to start somewhere, right?
5. Learn- Take learning into your own hands. Every story and how is different. For me, I saw a conversation someone was having with @techninjatodd. I think I started following him because I liked his twitter handle. From him, I learned about the @eduallstarsHQ podcast. As I listen to the podcast, I started following all of the guests. Then I found that other educators I made connections with at other conferences knew @techninjatodd via twitter. I could keep going. Since then I have been on a learning overload. Learning through twitter because I want to, is very different than someone telling me I have to read a book and discuss it at work. I am learning what I want to learn, when I want to learn it. How powerful is that?
I feel like I can sprinkle my excitement for education, learning and technology with people I know now. I don't really know them, but I'll be working on the relationships. Since twitter only allows for 140 characters, I know blogging is going to have to be another way I share.
Here's to my rebirth of learning and sharing. I will be sharing Twitter with a campus on Tuesday. I'll be happy to share your twitter advice. I don't it to take them 2 years to get it.