Not a very original post, I know, but I have been trying to get folks on Twitter and they keep resisting. Why? Yes, I know you are all very busy people, and adding to Facebook feels like just too much, but I'm here to tell you that Twitter has a whole different purpose and feel than Facebook. At least it does for me. Twitter is immediate and concise. That means people are often responding in the moment to something that happened, something they love, or something they feel passionately about (good or bad). In keeping it short, tweeters are required to say what they mean with few words, so it better be good. If they have more to say, they can use links or a service like Long Tweets. When I am reading tweets, if I am not interested, it is easy to move ahead without wading through a ton of long posts, pictures, links, etc.
How do I use Twitter? I use it primarily for professional purposes, and that is my argument when I am telling other teachers and friends they should be using it too. I am able to control the tweets I receive by following people and organizations that have information, ideas, and products that I need to be a better teacher and teacher-librarian. Twitter really is the best professional development opportunity around. I am connecting with librarians and teachers from around the country getting teaching ideas, advocacy help, creating relationships that will serve us both in our careers and passions. I tend to re-tweet (copy others' tweets) more than post my own original stuff, but I am working up to my own curating. I have to admit I am a bit intimidated by some of the folks I follow and who are following me...I feel a little bit of pressure for the tweets to be super meaningful and profound. For now, mostly reading and re-tweeting works for me.
I have convinced some teachers in my building to use their Twitter posts to engage their students, to post questions and ideas, to provide learning and practice resources. The kids love it. In getting them involved, we have also begun to teach them that social networking is not only about gossip, drama and over-sharing (note: we are not following students; it is a one-way relationship, therefore deemed safe by the district that way).
The opportunities are endless for professionals, volunteers, parents, and students. Figure out what interests you, what you could use ideas for, what support you need, and begin searching...and tweeting. And if you need some help getting started, I love to teach!