Okay, time for a confession. I was a Twitter holdout. I joined Twitter in June of 2012 so I am coming up on my one year anniversary. And I have to say Twitter has completely changed me as a professional.
So why the holdout? Well, I guess like a lot of people I thought Twitter was a waste of time. I thought it was all about Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher and celebrities and what people ate for dinner. I didn't understand that there is an entire community of educators, of professionals on Twitter and that they use Twitter to grow and to learn.
With Twitter, it is all about who you follow. If you follow nothing but celebrities, you will see a lot of things that will waste your time. But if you follow educators who are passionate about what they do, you will learn so much. I honestly have no idea how I did my job and stayed current on things before Twitter. I learn something new on Twitter every single day. I can't think of any other medium (email, listservs, etc) where that is true for me.
At first when I joined Twitter, I kind of felt like the kid on the playground who is watching all the cool kids play and is longing to be asked to join in. But I stayed with it. I answered questions when I could. Offered advice and joined in on conversations whether it was asked of me or not. And slowly, I started to build followers and gradually people began asking me for advice. I was now one of the cool kids! It felt awesome when someone retweeted a Tweet or favorited something I Tweeted.
For me, I jumped in head first right away. I started sharing things and participating in chats almost as soon as I joined Twitter. But I know lots of people who are on Twitter and who just lurk and observe. They glean things off of Twitter they can use. They retweet things they find useful. But they don't share their own things. And if that is how you want to start, go for it. Get comfortable with the Twitter vernacular. See what other people are sharing. Retweet things you find valuable. But don't be afraid to share your own things or ask your own questions. There is a whole education community out there waiting to help you.
Set a goal to spend at least 10 minutes per day on Twitter. Go through your timeline and see what other people have been talking about. Retweet something you find helpful. Just 10 minutes a day. I think you will soon find yourself spending more and more time on Twitter. At least I hope you do!
Nebraska has some of the very best educational Tweeters out there. There are close to 100 Nebraska educators on this list. They are awesome people who are passionate about what they do. If you are not sure who to follow. follow everyone on this list and you will learn a lot.
I have to thank the people who convinced me (harassed me) to join Twitter: @coreydahlevent, @lpospishil and @bobhastings312. @shellymowinkel was a great mentor when I first got started. She was always there to answer questions. And since I've been on Twitter, I've met some fantastic tweeps: @mandery, @catlett1, @annfeldmann1, @chericson, @Coach_Sautter, @j_allen, @lherr, @hcallihan and so many others.
Getting the hang of Twitter and building a PLN can take some time, but it is so worth it!