Twitter launched in 2006. It’s a free service that invites users to connect to one another by sharing quick updates about what they are doing throughout the day. Updates are visible to other users who follow you, and their updates are visible to you if you choose to follow them. All users have the ability to protect their updates, block followers, and manage their own network.
Like any other social networking tool, Twitter’s value is established by those who use it. Purpose is everything, and every user has different purposes. Many people use Twitter to stay in touch with friends, family members, or business associates. Human beings crave connection, and tools like these provide it. Incidentally? I don’t think this such a bad thing. These tools offer tremendous opportunity to users. We need only to maximize that potential and continually seek new applications that meet our changing needs.
I began using Twitter when Sheryl Nussbaum Beach invited a group of Western New York educators to follow her and her network there last year. At first, I lurked around a bit, trying to get a feel for how it might be useful to me. Over time, I’ve begun following a variety of local, national, and international educators and experts in the field who use Twitter throughout the day to share resources, problem solve, and learn from one another. Vicki Davis speaks about the powerful ways in which services like Twitter can connect professionals who so often feel isolated in their work and alone in their efforts. I agree with her assertions because I use Twitter in many of the ways that she describes. Those who don’t may not, of course, and I understand that. After all, there are many ways to use a tool. I also follow friends there as well.
Over the last several weeks, some of the teachers and administrators that I am working with locally have joined Twitter. I’m enjoying the opportunity to share resources and information with them beyond our scheduled face-to-face time, and it’s exciting to watch them connect to others who are welcoming them into a larger professional community where they might be able to contribute, learn, and gain support from others who are as passionate about helping children as they are.
If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, you might want to consider doing so. My username is @AngelaStockman, and for anyone who may be interested, Liz Davis recently compiled a spreadsheet of educators on Twitter, which is an incredible resource for those of us who are using it in the ways that I describe. She also shares some great information for those who don’t know what Twitter is or those who may be interested in joining. You can also learn more about Twitter and other web 2.0 tools by viewing the incredible videos provided by Sachi and Lee LeFever at one of my favorite sites: Common Craft.
Guess where I found out about Common Craft?
On Twitter, of course.