What I Know Now About Twitter and Blogging That I Didn’t Know A Year Ago

393 Tweets in.

78 Blog posts deep.

About a year ago I took the dive into Twitter and also began using my blog to express what I could not manage in under 140 characters. What I know now about Twitter and blogging is much more than what I knew just a short year ago.

In no particular order, here’s my list:

  1. Twitter has become my go-to source for excellent content. And actually it is content that comes to me through excellent links shared by the people I follow.
  2. Those people I follow and who follow me, I understand, comprise what is known as my Professional or Personal Learning Network (PLN).
  3. It often frustrates me to decipher unfamiliar abbreviations found in my twitter feed and so I try to make sure I spell them out once if I have the space before continuing to use them.
  4. I am excited about tapping into the wealth of knowledge and expertise I have found both within my PLN and beyond.
  5. I love the fact that my PLN is growing gradually. This has allowed me to acclimate in manageable steps. I’m still learning how to use lists to help with prioritizing. That may become important down the road.
  6. Surprising fact: Educators make up one of the largest groups of twitter users. I made it to the party and it has been so worth it!
  7. It’s possible to search for stuff on twitter using the right hashtags. What comes up is often more interesting and nuanced than what a typical Google search might yield.
  8. My blog posts get read by many more people if the links are retweeted by an individual or organization with many followers.
  9. If a link is very important to you, it makes sense to tweet it out more than once and address it to people you value, who perhaps have more and different followers than you have and may retweet.
  10. When you read a controversial article or post, read the comments, too, in order to really broaden and clarify your thinking.  I have sometimes found comments that were better formulated and argued than the original post.
  11. There is space for my input. To my surprise, there are people who are interested in hearing and seeing what I choose to contribute. I would have never have known this if I hadn’t taken the risk in the first place.
  12. Thanks to my PLN I have learned new skills and found all kinds of apps, tools and resources to expand my tech repertoire.
  13. I live under the influence of a “variable interval reinforcement schedule.”  This means that all of this digital messaging via twitter and e-mail is impacting my brain circuitry so that yes, I’m a little addicted.  The occasional yet unpredictable reward of finding a like on my blog post, or a new follower, or a retweet, keeps me coming back to check both the twitter feed and my inbox far more regularly than is actually necessary.  I want to wrestle with this a little more in the coming year.
  14. I have never done a #ff. (Friday follow = people you would recommend following) So I’ll do it here as a year’s worth: @RafranzDavis, @tomwhitby, @plugusin, @theJLV, @TeachThought, @Edutopia, @grantlichtman, @artofcoaching1, @gcouros, @AngelaWatson, @TeacherSabrina.
  15. It has only been a year and yet the learning has been rich, deep, exciting, and compelling.  I’m in. Let’s see what the next year brings.

“You had to be there” is history

I was not at ISTE2014. And that is not really so important. Thanks to my twitter feed, however, I felt as if I was there on several counts. Serial tweeters @BethStill, @RafranzDavis, and @Angela_Watson kept me abreast of successful sessions and major insights, not only through their own tweets but through rapid-fire retweeting with the #ISTE2014 hashtag.

This generous retweeting introduced me to numerous other great contributors such as @chrislehmann, @carrierossTX, and @aimeegbartis.
In fact, it was Aimee Bartis who retweeted this link: http://gettingsmart.com/2014/06/ignite-sessions-new-faculty-meetings/ about using the Ignite session as a template for energized faculty meetings.
That post by John Hardison @gettingsmart was a further gold mine of ideas, presenters and enthusiasm – all coming out of ISTE.

I also have to salute Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) for tweeting on behalf of the all-important analog connections through face to face interactions and keeping the focus on our kids’ learning in the midst of so much tech hype.

I wasn’t at ISTE2014. Yet, thanks to my growing PLN, the idea that “you had to be there” is history. #ISTE2014 provided enough access to inspiring messages and powerful speakers so that even if ed tech is not my highest priority, I can feel well informed and included in the conversation.