Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

Those of you who didn't grow up in the South may not know that "twitterpated" is a real word.  It is defined in the dictionary as to be overcome by, smitten. I'm wondering today how smitten most of you have become by Twitter.  Although I became an official member of the Twittersphere in 2009, I have to say, I have tried to ignore it as much as possible. While I know that it is a vibrant political tool in other countries, I often see Twitter use in the United States as a reflection of this old YouTube video, Trouble with Twitters,  which, in an amusing way, portrays Twitter as random, irrelevant shouting.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, save us time - right?! If you watched the video, you might be thinking, "I know that Facebook often degenerates into over-shared minutiae, but Twitter is a professional conversation." I guess my point in this blog is that it should be. 

When I registered for my Twitter account, I received advice from actively twitterpated peers on some of the most well-respected, educational thinkers to "follow."  Digging in my heels, determined to make good use of Twitter, now that I am a part of Flat Classroom, I began diligently following my account and making an effort to occasionally post something valuable I had learned.  To my chagrin, I still found myself feeling that much of Twitter was an insatiable beast gobbling up my precious time!  The Edublog Twitterer of the Year (not sure which year) had an endless stream of twitters such as, "I'm sitting in the airport now."

After giving Twitter most of my waking thought for the past week, my conclusion is that Twitter is an extremely valuable tool; for project communication, sharing rare insights and tools, in fact, the ultimate RSS feed.  But Twitter will only be that valuable tool if we, as educators, make a commitment to create that and teach quality tweeting practices to our students.  We are constantly looking at Best Practices in the rest of education. Why not Twitter? Here are a couple of sites with great ideas on how to use Twitter in class, but none that talk about quality tweeting. 

 Best practices for using Twitter in Class

 Scoop.it Social Media Tips

My great epiphany came today when I realized that I could follow people talking about my more esoteric passions, not just my specific job.  (Guess I'm kind of slow) The surprising thing I found?  That most of these people spend more time sharing professional information and talking less about their personal lives.

I want to challenge you today to put together your own list of Best Practices for Educational Twitter.  And tell me your favorite way to use Twitter now.  I'd love to know!

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Comment by Susan Adams on November 5, 2012 at 1:24pm

And I think that part of being more thoughtful about the whole Twitter process will have to involve being much more selective about who I follow.

Comment by Susan Adams on November 5, 2012 at 1:08pm

Thanks for the resources Emily. I think researching Twitter adequately could take the rest of this class!

Comment by Julie Lindsay on November 4, 2012 at 7:36am

Akram, appreciate your distinctions here - 'I think before I tweet' as opposed to 'I tweet therefore I am'. Thanks for providing some thoughtful material for my Sunday morning!

Comment by akram on November 3, 2012 at 10:20pm

I agree great post as well Susan. I think before I tweet whereas it has become in some circles I tweet therefore I am. Twitter is amazing and takes a tool like this one to encourage how to be concise in one's thoughts. I am a fan of NFL and follow some sports journalists and their tweets about certain events in a game relate more than sometimes lengthy articles. 

I still like RSS reader because it gives me the flexibility of a being able to read a quick summary as well as digging into a post if I require more information. Keep posting Susan.

Comment by Emily McCarren on November 2, 2012 at 12:44pm

Great post Susan!  You are such a good writer-- I love it! 

This is a list from Diigo of a bunch of twitter tagged bookmarks. Can you see it without logging in?  I particularly love this: 

http://lakesideschool.libguides.com/twitter , which is a guide that a colleague who was in a class I taught made last year.  

Also love this video shared by @clifmins: 

http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2280 about the twitter "global mind" 

Great to see you in class tonight! Emily 

Comment by Julie Lindsay on November 2, 2012 at 7:59am

Susan, wonderful blog post! I love it when educators finally come to see Twitter as a valuable professional development tool. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and valuable resources.

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