Why Twitter?

wordle

Back a couple of months ago, I presented to my staff on the glories of Twitter.  Some have since checked it out and have become true twitter fans, others not so much.  As someone who is a self-admitted twit-a-holic (My name is Diane, a.k.a. @robertsdrb and…I tweet…a lot) I find it difficult to understand why everyone has not jumped on the Twitter shuttle to the Twitterverse of enlightenment.

So in an attempt to convince more people to join and engage with Twitter, here is a list of reasons why I get so much out of it:

  • Personal Learning Network – I create my PLN by choosing who I want to follow.  When someone posts something that is interesting or useful to me, I follow them.  Contrarily, if they are posting things that do not serve my learning purpose, I don’t follow them.  Simple.  In this way, Twitter becomes differentiated professional development for each individual.
  • Twitter chats – This is where connections occur and my thinking is pushed to new places with people from all over.  Twitter chats such as #satchat (administrator chat on Saturday mornings) or #educoach (educational coaching chat on Wednesday evenings) connect me to people who are progressive thinkers and sharers within these domains.  I can also pose a question throughout the week with these hashtags and will get a response from someone else who follows these topics.
  • Learning new things – every day I come across an article, list, blog post or quote that teaches me something new.  The word plethora does not begin to explain the wide variety and depth of “stuff” out there on Twitter for educators.
  • Feedback – I can post a question or let people know that there is something I am searching for and someone will inevitably give me an answer.  When I post to my blog, people read it and respond…this blew my mind at first and it was nerve-wracking to have others read my thoughts but now I look forward to the comments – good and not so good.
  • Inspiration for blog posts – The things I read about on Twitter not only get me thinking, they inspire me to write about my thoughts on educational topics in my blog which is proving to be another way to deepen my thinking and help me reflect on my practice.  By the way, I did not have a blog until after I joined Twitter and began reading all the amazing educator blogs out there which I connected to via Twitter.  It was only a matter of time before I found that 140 characters are great for communicating brief thoughts on various topics but if I want to really delve into something, the blog is where I can get it all out in one place.

The more I use Twitter, the more I WANT to keep coming back…addiction?  Maybe.  But it is getting me connected with other educators and thinking more about my practice as a teacher and as an administrator.  Other addicts go to meetings to talk about their addictions (e.g. AA), Twitter addicts just learn more, reflect more and connect more.  In the words of Amy Winehouse: If they try to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go.

P.S.  I made the above Wordle with text from my Twitter feed.

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Blogging…just do it!

Hello! Bonjour!

Here I am, writing my first blog post for my first ever blog.  I have been mulling the possibility of starting a blog for a while and looking for the courage to just do it!  I had been reading the great and wonderful blogs of people in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and wondering if I really had something to say that people would want to read.  So I put a few feelers out there on Twitter, letting people know my trepidation and was greatly encouraged by the wise words of @PrincipalDunlop who told me to “do it for yourself, not others” and @gunnellAP who encouraged me to  “write about things that are professionally important to you. Things about teaching and learning that can improve your school.”  What great advice! Thank you!

I am still struggling with the voice aspect of blogging.  I have read some really great academic blogs, some really touching blogs and blogs that are downright hilarious.  What will my voice be?  A colleague in my PLN, who works in my school district said, “just start at the beginning and speak from the heart… no wrong way to do it.”  Thanks, @graingered.  I think that is what I will do.  If I’m serious or touching or hilarious, I think that will shine through.

My goal this week was to just get started.  I didn’t actually set this goal until Wednesday’s #educoach Twitter chat where the topic of blogging came up and I met two other people who, like me, have been tossing around the idea of starting blogs.  There, we publicly stated that we were going to get on the blogging bus within the next week.  That’s the thing about goal setting and making it public.  You have to follow through.  This is exactly what I needed to get started so here I am, @smilelyndsi and @philgriffins!  I am looking forward to reading your blogs too!

Another reason that I now have for getting this blog going is that my 9-year old son wants to create his own blog.  He saw what I was working on and thinks it’s pretty cool.  He has his blog all planned out on paper including a bio, weather updates and Lego news!  He inspires me!

I know this first blog is more of an introduction, but I do want to say that I am excited by the growth that I hope to experience through blogging and about the contributions I will hopefully make to my PLN.  It is time to stop lurking and start participating!  The amazing community of learners on Twitter is so positive and I want to support and encourage others but that rings false if I am not willing to jump in and share my thoughts and learning with you too.

I will sign off with a word of encouragement to other aspiring and reluctant bloggers from @shiraleibowitz, “We’re with you when you are ready!”

**My header photo is a photo I took in the Butterfly Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo