Thoughts About Twitter
I am going to be honest, I have had an unwarranted dislike of Twitter since high school. For what reason? I’m not totally sure. I think it may have mainly been because I am not a huge social media person. Compared to my friends I rarely go on social media. The only platform I use semi-consistently would be Instagram. Twitter has always seemed the most daunting because of the overwhelming amount of information available, not knowing who to follow, and the higher expectation to post. By contrast, you can happily be a passive user on Facebook and spend your time scrolling and reading. Instagram is a little bit more interactive, but with pictures instead of words. My anxiety and indecisiveness spikes when I think about writing compared to simply posting a photo with a simple caption.
Yet, here I am, becoming an active user on Twitter and starting to get accustomed to posting daily! Although I am still finding my new social media use a bit exhausting, I am happy that EDTC 300 is teaching me to realize the overpowering benefits of Twitter as a future teacher. Just as David Truss states so well in his blog post “Twitter Edu: Your One-Stop-All-You-Need-To-Know-Guide to Twitter”, Twitter allows you to “shar[e] amazing resources, fin[d] global connections to connect your class to the world, fin[d] like-minded & enthusiastic peers that challenge you to be the best educator you can be, shar[e] excellent examples of learning from your classroom or school, as[k] for help and saving prep time”. Truss goes on to explain yet another reason why I may have initially disliked Twitter in high school. Until you establish a well-oiled network, using Twitter takes some effort and hard work. I am still getting the hang of choosing valuable people to follow in order to develop a resourceful network. One main way I am choosing people to follow is based on their biography, recent tweets, and their profile picture. As David Meerman Scott shares in his blog post “Friending cats and following eggs: On social networks you ARE your photo”, your profile picture is an incredibly important component of your online identity. I am still tweaking my own Twitter biography, but I am going to keep my profile picture stagnant because that picture will be what people recognize and associate me with. Keeping my profile photo the same is beneficial for others, and for my own professional e-portfolio.
Prior to this class I assumed that Twitter was just a place for people to have small conversations, connect with hashtags, retweet, and post information, pictures, memes, and articles. I have never truly understood the point of hashtags, and have never heard of Tweetdeck before.
When I first logged on to Tweetdeck, I realized that it is almost like a birds-eye view of Twitter. You can look at multiple categories (such as your home page, a specific user, your notifications, etc.) all in one place. The first conversation I participated in was #saskedchat. I never knew that you could connect with multiple people from so many different places simply by using Tweetdeck and a specific hashtag. It was almost like a live discussion forum where I was able to connect with pre-service teachers, current educators, and even Patrick Maze, the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. Although it was a very valuable experience to learn, bounce off ideas, and hear differing perspectives, it was overwhelming. That being said, it would have been next to impossible to manage without Tweetdeck, so I am so thankful to learn about this resource! The next conversation I participated in was #nt2t, and the topic this week was negotiations. This conversation takes place on Saturday mornings at 7am.
This conversation was a much slower pace compared to #saskedchat, so it allowed time for me to comment and have longer conversations with other educators. I believe that I was the only pre-service teacher during this chat, so it was very valuable to hear what practicing teachers had to say for each question, and to have them comment on my current ideas and encourage me to think in different ways. The host of the conversation, Stephan Hughes, retweeted a few of my tweets! How cool is that?
Overall, my opinion about Twitter is shifting from dislike and uncertainty to becoming more comfortable and recognizing the benefit of this online community and connections. Developing an online network is very helpful, and it will be a huge support when I am doing my pre-internship, internship, and when I am a practicing teacher. I also believe that students could use Twitter and Tweetdeck to be part of conversations as a class. For example, Tweetdeck could be projected onto the board, and each student (or in groups) would also be logged onto Tweetdeck. We could find a variety of chats for different topics, such as science, history, current events, social justice issues, math, etc. This encourages students to build a global community, learn from other people, be a part of a bigger conversation, connect with professionals, and consider various perspectives outside of the classroom. I could see this being a very helpful learning tool in the classroom. Do you?
Thanks for reading!