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Monday, June 8, 2015

Why Twitter?

Why? What is the big deal about Twitter?

I hear this question often when I am talking about my favorite chat #bfc530 or any of the other chats I pop in and out of during the week. It is difficult to explain the power of Twitter to those who are closed off to this particular brand of social media.

I am spending the next two weeks teaching, modeling and explaining the fine art of Twitter and Tweetdeck to a colleague who is thinking about giving it a try. This colleague has shown me the misnomers that still exist about Twitter.

1. Twitter  is just a "lipstick and hair do" social media. 
...and then I asked them to
curl my eyelashes

It is not just to show off your latest shade of lip cover, or the cool braid you managed to get your bangs pulled into. Twitter is truly to grow and learn when used for professional development. Now there are those out there who are using it to show off lipstick and hair. Also there are those who are using it for self-promotion. And still others who may be using it to allow their fans a more "real" the fans can "stay in touch" with the stars or icons. But for educators, or administrators, it is a connection. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard and said, I got this cool idea from one of my "tweeps" or people I follow on Twitter. There is so much out there that we have not been able to tap into, and Twitter provides the vehicle with which we can share ideas and learn from each other.

2. Twitter is a time waster. 

How many admins would shudder if they heard this statement about a professional development
I'm Melting, melting, melting. 
meeting?  How many times have we said that a PD meeting was a waste of time? Twitter PD is what you decide it is. If you decide to spend every waking minute on Twitter,  pulling down the screen to refresh continually, then it may be a time waster. Every person needs to decide what fits into their lifestyle. I have a great bunch of people I hang out with in the mornings. Called the breakfast club. There are two installments: one at 5:30 eastern time (4:30am my time) and the other at 5:30 mountain time (6:30am my time) You can find it with #bfc530. It is called a spark chat. It is one question, and only 15 minutes long. It is great fun and always starts my day off with a smile, and a spark of confidence. It is amazing. It is created by Jessica Raleigh from CO. (@TyrnaD). I also check it over sometime after school but before bedtime.  I probably spend a total of 30-40 minutes a day during the week, and very minimally during the weekend. Again, It is going to be what YOU make of it.

3. Twitter is a place to rant and bully. 

While this again CAN be true, I have found it to be a very positive, encouraging, uplifting, and enlightening place to connect. I will tell a quick story. I have been on Twitter about 3 years now, and have really started utilizing it in the past 18 months, so I am just a newbie still. I learn new things each day. Last week I came across a math teacher I follow and his tweet was abrupt and kind of rude to another person. I was taken aback at the posting, and was (not going to lie) I snooped. I went to the other person's page and started to back track through the conversation. It was terrible. There was name calling, insults, and rude talk by the other person and the math teacher I follow had just had enough. I could not figure out why I was so aghast at the postings. Then I had an enlightening AHA moment come a few days later...

I was listening to a new podcast (my first one EVER, by the way) by a new Twitter pal John Mason (@Jhnmason) called #BeardEdU and his first one is all about the power of Twitter, the PLN, the connection, the ideas...

But then he mentioned the one thing that truly hit home. Positivity. It is the unspoken aura that draws me in and I never even picked up on it. It immediately brought me back to that rude, insulting experience that I had dipped my toes into the week before. Of course I was so shocked because the people I flood my feed with are all encouragers. People I look to to help me feel better, have confidence, smile with over a cup of coffee. These folks start my day off with a smile for sure, but sometimes even a laugh out loud! That is what Twitter can be for you. 

Cuppa Joe?
So final take aways: Twitter is social media. It can suck away hours of your life. But it is what you make it! It is your happy place! Twitter is your learning place! It is your love place. Follow the right people. Use it wisely. Have fun. Be yourself. And people....get to tweetin!