OK I have been working on getting my colleagues involved in using twitter with varying degrees of success for the past five years. I myself was a reluctant twitter inductee, in fact I had an account and didn’t use if for over a year before I really learned what it was for.
I found a great blog by Jen who describes the stages of a twitter user as follows.
“1 – Beginner – I am fairly new to twitter and I may know some features, but not all features. It still is a little bit of a mystery to me.
2 – Developing – I know the basics of twitter. I can follow, retweet, tweet, reply, send pictures. Hashtags may still be a little of a mystery to me. I understand there is potential to support my growth – I am just not sure I am there yet.
3 – Proficient – I have a personal learning network that is tailored to my needs. I not only listen and learn, but contribute back to my network. I use twitter on a regular basis to support my growth and use it to showcase the passions and talents of others.
4 – Innovating – I can provide PD around Twitter. Twitter is just part of my DNA”
For a long time I was curious about twitter but in hindsight know why I didn’t pass into the third stage. I was missing the connections. The key to the power of twitter is the connections, you must make connections with people who can become part of your Personal Learning Network (PLN). This group will grow with time but to even start to germinate beyond idol curiosity you need to pick a few key people who you can follow. You can tend your PLN garden and tailor it to your specific interests, and over time you will increasingly meet professionals with the same interests and routinely be presented with new interesting perspectives and ideas. One way to get started is to follow me @csgamble then look through who I follow and follow them. Or you can also get lists like this one “who to follow on twitter” by @courosa or “The networked Leader” by @gcouros
Twitter works both ways, you will get out of it what you put in. Share your thoughts, don’t be timid, ask questions, collaborate and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Eventually you will find yourself encountering people at events and knowing them by their twitter handles, kind of like a secret club:)
So the big question is how do you get someone to stage 3 AHA? I have a BIG IDEA!
One of my first real AHA’s was joining #mbedchat a weekly PLN chat for MB educators which then linked me up with others in the Canada and the world.
My idea is simple, as a school leader I can use a PD day to introduce my staff to twitter, have each teacher set up an account then have them participate in a chat with educators live on twitter, while I am there to support and answer questions. To make this meaningful I will need others to participate and to pick a date/time for the event. We will also need a topic for discussion a moderator and some questions.