In recent weeks, it seems as though thousands of educators have drunk the Twitter Tang, because suddenly, I am finding it hard NOT to follow more and more people there. Take a peek at my Twitter Mosaic:
As new users join and the opportunities for me to learn from them grow, I’m trying to be selective about who I follow. I’m choosing those who might contribute most to my own learning, those who may be able to help me problem solve and plan the work that I do, and those who are use Twitter for professional growth more often than they do for marketing themselves or their products (it seems that folks like these drank a bit of the Tang themselves in recent weeks). I know that my purposes for using Twitter are not everyone else’s, and I know that part of the charm is figuring out how Twitter might work for me, forming my own rules of engagement, and allowing my experience there to remain an evolution of sorts. Here is how I currently use twitter:
- As a literacy coach, speaker, and a professional development provider, I encourage those I work with to follow me on Twitter for several reasons. I know from experience that it’s essential to help teachers connect to other professionals outside of their smaller worlds. Twitter also allows me to stay connected to those I serve and to share resources and recommendations that are meaningful to them there. I’m thinking of folks like @svanetten @sbarsottelli @aszefler @rcurrin and @pamilamc and @eduguy101 and others. These folks are active users who I learn a great deal from as well. Some of the folks I work with are still lurking in Twitter, discovering more and finding a comfort level before they begin to engage. That’s a good thing. It’s how most begin participating in any new social environment.
- I rely on my personal learning network there to provide me inspiration, feedback, and resources as I plan and act and reflect on the work that I do. Conversations that begin on Twitter are often connected to blog posts, and the discussion and debate that continues in the comments sections helps me learn more about those I’m linked to, the diverse work we all do, and better ways to accomplish it. I rely on help from @lgood44, @mrsbrowndog, @fisher1000, @theresagray, @datadiva, @eduguy101, @cristama, @joevans, and @linda704 often, and I’m incredibly grateful to them as well.
- When I express a need on Twitter, my network rushes up to help me, and I reciprocate when I’m called upon to do so as well. MOST of the posts I put up here are written in response to needs defined by those I am following on Twitter or supporting in schools, and those groups are becoming less and less distinct over time. When @nfatta and @sbarsottelli started exploring the 6+1 Traits of Writing along with the rest of their professional learning community, I posted some support for them here. And last week, when a conversation unfolded on Twitter around alternatives to the traditional book report, I began capturing all that I learned in a series of posts that began here. I plan to share them with teachers who requested information from me, as a supplement to the other work that we are doing.
- I follow folks like @snbeach, @willrich45, @mcleod, @cburell, @gsiemens, @smartinez, @garystager, @glassbeed, and @wfryer for the expertise they share and the conversation they invite, and @AngelaMaiers shares a wealth of web resources with those that follow her. Daily.
- I’m inspired by the work of @plugusin and @tracyrosen, and coaches like me are thrilled that @jimknight is there too. Speaking of inspiration, did you that @SirKenRobinson is tweeting now?
- Finally, there are those I follow whose influence can’t be measured in numbers of followers or tweets. I knew some of them long before Twitter, and all of them have helped me or my family in ways I can’t articulate well here. I’m thinking of @jenniferharvey, @emilyrosenbaum, @rogercarr, @ellenfeiggray, and @klmarch. Some of them don’t tweet often. Others are just getting started. Seeing them in my mosaic makes me smile though, and I know that one day soon, they might be participating more.
- Also? Seeing @rainnwilson there makes me laugh. A lot.
So, what about you? How do you use Twitter, and who is in your mosaic? @Linda704 tagged me for this meme, and I’m going to open it up to anyone who wants to jump in. Consider yourself invited to the party. Here are the guidelines:
1. Go to http://sxoop.com/twitter/ to create your mosaic (you can choose friends or followers).
2. Copy the code and paste it into a blog entry.
3. Reflect and comment on your mosaic.
4. Tag some “tweeples.”
5. Link back to this post or the post where you were first tagged.