“You’re not on Twitter. Why not?”
These were some of the comments I received in January and February 2011. I didn’t see a need to ‘be on Twitter’, I thought I didn’t really have anything to say and didn’t really understand what it was all about.
So, in March 2011 I joined. Set up my own account. Followed a few friends, the odd celebrity and some sports teams. I initially wrote the odd Tweet and picked up the odd useful snippet of information from friends and the sports clubs.
In May 2011, I attended an event run by Apple. The event had its own hashtag. So, I followed and tweeted using the hashtag. I quickly realised that there were a number of educators using Twitter. And, not only using Twitter, but also using it in a way that I could see was really useful! During that weekend, I picked up some new followers, followed some excellent innovative educators and began another step into seeing how useful Twitter could be.
As a result of finding these new educators on Twitter I next became aware of TeachMeets. My first TeachMeet visit was to BedfordTeachMeet in June 2011, again picking up new followers and finding new educators to follow. This was then followed by attending the E2BN Conference with the same results as before. In addition to these events, I found that subjects have their own hashtag as well as things like #edtech and #ukedchat.
I’ve been pleased with the amount of followers I’ve built up, as it’s nice to know what I’m writing about is useful to others. But, it’s those I follow, the members of my PLN, that are most useful. I have found many new resources, engaged in interesting discussions and read numerous interesting articles that I would possibly never have found without Twitter and those sharing excellent snippets within 140 characters!
August 2011 then saw the formation of @primaryideas and this blog. My initial thoughts about this were the same as outlined in at the start of this post with “why?” and “I’ll have nothing to say” being the initial thoughts. But, at the time of writing, 799 followers on Twitter, 15 likes on Facebook, 88 circles on Google+, 1140 channel views on YouTube and over 5000 blog views all in 6 months I think I may have underestimated the usefulness of a blog.
In addition to all the educational usefulness there’s also been a personal use. The educational Tweeps I follow often write about personal goings on which can be interesting to talk about and give an insight into personalities. Those sporting clubs I mentioned at the beginning have also come to be useful tweeting about tickets going on sale, travel arrangements and breaking news. And yes those friends, somewhere in amongst all the ‘teacher talk’ there are also updates from friends.
Who’d have thought a bunch of people you’ve never met could be so useful and helpful? So if you’re not using Twitter yet you need to start. You don’t even need to write anything as it’s those you follow that you’ll find most useful. Although, if you do start to write then having a blog is a useful extension to that 140 character limit.