Saturday, September 12, 2009

Twitter Professionally

Emory, from our school system tech dept, wrote about Twitter and using it professionally. He was "spot on." I, too, get good ideas, suggestions, partners from videoconferencing folks and ed tech folks every day. It's utterly amazing to find connections around the globe on twitter. The distinction being, using it as a professional tool.

I've tried to explain to others (my husband and family) that it is so helpful, professionally. My first reaction to "what are you doing in 140 characters or less?" was "who cares." I joined and didn't tweet much. When I began looking at people whose blogs I read and looking at who they were following on Twitter and who was following them, I realized that this is a current, fluid, collective network of people - experts. Like going to an ed tech conference, but it was free. The network of users allows us to "pick the brains" of many talented people on a daily basis. This is not Facebook. I'm not trying to put myself "out there," but to locate relevant, timely, information and hints that help me work with my school staff and students. The only "social networks" I'm on by name are all work/professionally related. MUSE (Internet 2), and several ning groups.

Of course, I occasionally do tweet about personal things. My dogs, especially good day or happy occasion, but this too has some interesting results. Upon returning from our vacation, tweeted about the NC outer banks. Next thing I had a couple of tweets from folks who live there, rent homes there and located a great house for a trip on my birthday. Also tweeted while driving home from NY to NC about my son's wedding and honeymoon in Italy. Within 10 minutes, I had a tweet from a fellow in Italy with houses to rent and train schedules. Hmmm, now that would be another great trip.

There are over 7000 ning groups for Twitter. Many in education. Twitting is allowing me, professionally, to stay involved in and up-to-date with instructional technology and videoconferencing. It is also allowing me to make positive contacts with many people I will never meet or see in person, but can learn from, an open, free, extended network, like grad school. Yes, this technology application is worth applause.

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