A Mindful Educator's Guide To Twitter
Twitter currently has approximately 313 million monthly active users, according to data from 2014 published by Edsurge. Out of the 1/2 billion tweets that post every day, 4.2 million are related to education,
While there is no hard data, my own experience on Twitter over the last 5 years is that educators who Tweet, especially those who participate in "Edchats," tend to be progressive thought leaders who have grown the educational Twitter base in their own schools, districts, and communities.
Twitter Edchats are weekly organized discussions of educators and people interested in a broad range of educational topics that meet virtually from around the world and across all time zones.
Here is a chart prepared by Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) of all the major Edchats happening during any given week: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar. Edchats serve as a conversation thread on Twitter and are also used for organized weekly discussions that are what we used to call in the television business; "appointment viewing" that happen in real time.
For educator's, or anyone who wants to communicate with them, the two most important things are "community" and "discussion" Tweeting is a give and take conversation going on asynchronously 24/7 and sometimes synchronously (Edchats) under a specific hashtag, i.e. #Edtechchat (Educational Technology Chat), #PBLchat (Project Based Learning Chat), check weekly listing link above or here for the complete list.
These are closely knit communities where the virtual is real and the real is virtual. Strong relationships are built; partnerships and even co-teaching arrangements are made between educators who in most cases have never actually met in the physical world.
Here is an example of one of several Twitter Guides for educators: http://www.edutech.nodak.edu/westcentral/files/2013/01/Twitter-for-Educators.pdf. Best of all is Susan Bearden's Tweechme App. While the guides are helpful, there is nothing better than just jumping in the pool.
On Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time is #nt2t, "New Teachers To Twitter" where there are plenty of “newbies” and “oldies,” ready to get you started and hold your hand.
#nt2t is the on ramp to the educational twitterverse; very friendly and forgiving with lots of folks eager to help and introduce you to their own and other communities.
Remember! Twitter is a conversation; think “Sangha” where you will speak but also do “deep listening.” If you like what you have heard (read), “Like” it and/or “Retweet.” While a Sangha might not encourage crosstalk, on Twitter, the Following, participating and even barging in on threads of conversations is an ideal way to feel Twitter's heartbeat.
If you like what is being said and like or want to know more about the person saying it, Click on their name and take a look at their Profile… then if you want to stay connected, Follow them.
Having a lot of followers is not the measure of your success or status on Twitter. It is far more important to find those people you want to Follow, both to listen to, learn from and talk with.
If you want to talk to me.. follow me on Twitter @martysnowpaw
Questions? Email me at email@example.com