It took three attempts, but I’m there! I’ve now happily taken up my place in the Twitterverse and am truly enjoying the power and vibrancy of this kind of communication.
Some of you will remember that I was literally dragging my feet on Twitter. I kind of glossed over it back in mid May when I wrote in my blog:
Sorry to the converted, but I still need someone to totally convert me to Tweetland as I am finding the long list of posts on my homepage quite daunting!”
I read, but didn’t process the advice I received back in the form of a comment on my blog post:
Just read the tweets that come in while you are online, you don’t have to treat Twitter like email where you really need to go through all of the new items.”
Even though, back then, I was trying to make sense of it all and took time out to re-read great sites such as The Twitter Handbook for Teachers and 100 Ways to Teach with Twitter and even viewed videos such as The Twitter experiment and read with delight The remarkable power of Twitter by Jeff Goldstein, I still was just not appreciating the value of Twitter.
So what changed? What got me hooked? What brought me to the point that I now argue the case for Twitter with seasoned computer gurus who spend countless hours exploring all manner of information out there in cyberspace on a daily basis?
I think it was threefold: readiness, a shift in my thinking paradigm and finally my PLN!
Like the kids we teach, us adults, must be ready to learn new concepts. Tweeting is indeed an alternate way of communicating. On reflection, I just don’t think I had experienced enough to really ‘see’ the value of Twitter. Background understandings must be achieved and consolidated before new learning processes can be approached or developed. Even though I was working through the steps, reading info, getting advice, and playing a little with this new toy, I was just not at a readiness level to incorporate this new mode of communication into my life. No need to list a host of examples here, you probably get the gist of what I mean.
I can almost remember when the shift in my thinking paradigm occurred. It was around the point that I started reading my Tweets on TweetDeck and could see columns with ‘groups’ of Tweets. I could at last recognize that I didn’t need to read every single Tweet that hit my profile like I constantly do with email and saw and felt the value of people out there Re-Tweeting. At last I could see that there were links to website, blogs, and chat groups which I could either look at or ignore. I recognized for the first time the logic of what I’d heard many times over: “You must follow at least 70 or more to get something out of Twitter’. Now I could see the logic: When I followed only 10 people, very few bits of info came in. When I followed 30 and then 60 ….. well isn’t it obvious now ….. The more people you follow, the more info is shared and the more info you can pick and choose from to incorporate into your mindset. And, most of all, I recognized and accepted that Twitter was an entirely different concept to email!
And ….. ah yes ….. thirdly ….. and most importantly, the value of my PLN. That day on May 23rd 2010 when I wrote on Twitter:
Not sure I’m seeing the value of Twitter yet. Anyone want to hold my hand?”
Blow me down! I suddenly had two of my PLN buddies fluttering by my side – thanks Celia & Penny – giving me advice and then with lots of chuckles along came a third PLNer – thanks Miffy – who advised me on how to install and then use TweetDeck. And that is not to mention the total strangers from all ends of the world who saw my Tweets of distress and gave me further unsolicited advice! I am positive that without the persistence of my PLN buddies with me that night, answering more questions than I thought anyone could pose in such a short time, my trip into the Twitterverse would have been much slower. I am indebted to all of you.
So where am I now? Well… I’ve got a host of fantastic websites about a range of topics that I have bookmarked in the newly discovered Diigo. Specifically to Twitter though, my calls and queries have seen a range of valuable sites that are now on my list to read, explore and play with as I extend both my skills and understanding of this powerful new tool. In addition to the great sites listed in Week 2 of the VicPLN and in the vein of sharing new discoveries with all who may read this blog, here is a quick list of those sites I will be exploring over the coming weeks:
- How did I use Twitter to build my PLN?
- 25 ways to teach with Twitter by Sonja Cole
- 30 Essential Twitter Tutorials for Newbies and Experts
- John Birmingham on writing with Twitter
- Twitter – A teaching and learning tool
- The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook for Teachers [Updated]
- 5 Things To Get Your Twitter Network Off The Ground
And finally ….. this cartoon which I found while on Twitter this week. Located on the blog ‘andfaraway’ by Roba Al-Assi ….. the cartoon embedded in the blog post: The Four Stages of Getting Twitter really sums up the process I have worked through over the last few months! Thanks Roba!!
I’m bound to extend this list even more over the coming weeks and months as I find yet more informative and valuable sites that extend and develop my skills and understanding. For now though I am certainly on my way and look forward to the ride! So …. come join me in the Twitterverse!
NOTE: An adapted version of this post was published in FYI, the Journal of the School Library Association of Victoria (Summer 2011) and was subsequently re-published in info@alsaNSW: The Newsletter of the Australian School Library Association of New South Wales (Winter 2011)