Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Twitter is a big deal

It seems every week I'm asked or told by illTwitterates that they don't get what the big deal is with this whole social media thing.  They don't get the idea of powerful conversations and connections.  They don't get that many of those I've connected with through social media become friends IRL too.  They don't understand that if f-2-f can occur with those with whom I've connected, it does.  They seem perplexed as to how I can develop enough trust with folks through social media that I actually have had many of these people in my home for a visit or overnight stay if they happen to be in my city.

This week there were three interesting articles The Innovative Educator Daily Newspaper that did a great job of summarizing my thoughts on the topic. 

1- Twitter is the back fence you share with your neighbor 
I just love Scott McLeod's analogy in his post, "If you were on Twitter"! The post is a great read where McLeod shares his typical learnings from a day on Twitter and goes on to explain that Twitter is the back fence you share with your neighbors. Except your neighbors are people all over the world who share your interests and passions and can help you accomplish your personal and professional goals. Every day you have a chance to learn from these online neighbors. Every day you have a chance to receive resources that you otherwise never would have found. Every day you have a chance to intersect with people who care about what you care about and are willing to help you be more productive and save time. Check out his post here.

2 - What my connections on Twitter mean to me
Beth Still does a terrific job of explaining how she connects on Twitter and the types of people in her personal learning network.  She drives home the point that the tool is what you make of it and she has certainly harnessed the power of Twitter to share, trust, develop relationships, connect, and grow thinking and learning. 

Still explains that like me she thinks there are still quite a few people who don’t believe meaningful  conversations and real friendships can exist in a virtual world. She shoots that down saying, "they most definitely can." She explains that these friendships don’t just happen. "They take an investment of time and the belief that online friends are just as important as the f2f friends we see everyday. The only thing virtual about these friendships is the space in which they exist. The connections are definitely real. People who make a distinction with real life and f2f friendships just don’t get it." I say, "Right on!"

To those who say the time we spend online talking to people is a waste of time she says, "I could not disagree more. I have a circle of friends that three years ago I never imagined would ever exist. This is a fairly small group that I would do just about anything for. These are the people I wish I could teach with and hang out with everyday. I guess in a way I do get to do that—-just virtually."
Read her entire post here.  

3 - Dear teacher who wasn't on Twitter
In her post, Edna Sackson explains the benefits of a Twitter chat.  She outlines all the things she learned in just 30 minutes during the #elemchat she participated in.  Among them were:

  • A variety of new web 2.0 story book creators to explore and share with my colleagues.
  • Inspiration and ideas from @dogtrax, like his environment project.
  • The idea of using Edmodo for reading discussions.
  • A promising collaboration with Tania Ash  in Morocco to start a world reading group for primary school students!
  • Potential collaborators for our unit about cultural beliefs.
You can read her entire post here to see why she believes there is no professional learning quite like half an hour on Twitter!


  1. One of my commentators summed the importance of twitter: we tweet therefore we think and grow:


  2. Great blogpost! I made a presentation based on @mcleod's blogpost, called "Dear Foreign Language teacher, If you were on Twitter...

  3. Terrific. I can't wait to share this with colleagues.

  4. I am definitely a twitter supporter. They are many ways that teachers can utilize it to their advantage. By using hash tags for chats, you can have discussions with educators all over the world and "pick their brains" in a sense without them even being there in person.The great thing about having discussions through twitter with educators in other parts of the world is that their perspectives may be different from yours and you might try some of the things they suggest.

  5. I find it really awesome how I get to learn new things, tips, and new technology software from 5 min in Twitter!