The Importance of Trying to Tweet

Some kids learn to read sitting on the floor in their room. Some kids don’t. Some kids take to water like Michael Phelps. Others spend a lot of time in the shallow end. Whether swimming like a fish or reading a book with ease, each person has their own individual journey. Teachers are on different journeys too.

Last year I felt like a Kindergartener learning to read or that kid who stayed in the shallow end of the pool. My school set Professional Learning Networks as a faculty goal. We were introduced to the idea of using Twitter as one way to create a PLN. We created accounts, followed each other and learned a little bit. I used it a lot like a magazine.

After the first meeting or two there were other things on the agenda and the PLN fell to the wayside and it became one of those things that often happens in schools. Teachers are exposed to an idea, they get excited, and then it sits on the shelf along with all the other professional development long forgotten.

I found some folks posting interesting stuff, and I found myself reading articles on a regular basis. But after a while, I got busy with other things and forgot about that little bird. Near the end of the year when we reflected on the PLN, most people said they either used it occasionally or they quit looking at it by Christmas. In other words, no one found it very useful.

You can imagine how I felt when I saw Twitter as a form of communication on my syllabus. “What a waste of time.” I thought. My previous experience did not offer much of a reward, and I did not see the relevance. Fortunately, I am one of those kids who wants to do his best; I knew I had to figure out a way to get my head around it. Twitter was part of the program.

At first I just avoided it. I stomped around the house and stewed about the requirement. After several days of avoidance, I realized I was probably afraid of something. My mindset was out of whack. “You found Twitter interesting before. You just don’t see its usefulness in this context,” I told myself. “There’s no way so many people love this platform, if there isn’t something useful.”

I decided to try. When I was waiting for dinner to cook, I would read an article. When I was waiting at the doctor, I would find someone new to follow. I googled, “Twitter for beginners,” and I learned something new. I started getting interested. That little shift in my thinking helped. The growth mindset really works.

On a recent Sunday morning I discovered one reason Twitter works. I was listening to my thoughtful NPR program and the host was screaming! “It is Sunday morning. Calm down.” I thought. I pulled out my phone, found the host, and tweeted, “Why are you screaming?” In under a minute she had tweeted back her reason. Wow. I was not expecting her to respond. I had just discovered another reason why Twitter works.

I am by no means a Twitter expert, but I am learning. Like beginning readers, I am reading and the more you read the better you get and like beginning swimmers, I learned that you can swim towards the deep end and turn back if you need too. But like all readers, swimmers, and learners once you give it a good faith effort you realize, “Your Doing It!”

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3 thoughts on “The Importance of Trying to Tweet

  1. griepmk September 18, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    When I also first learned about Twitter i thought of it as a social platform to connect with my friends. In college I had a personal account in which I followed my friends and occasionally tweeted out things that happened to me during the day that I thought the world would “like” to know. I never used it as a way to educate myself or connect with other people I did not know. Once I got hired as a teacher I deleted my account. It was not until last year that I created a class twitter and it really opened my eyes to how great twitter could be. My principal requires us to use twitter to document what we are doing in the classroom. He will often retweet us on our school twitter that a lot of parents follow. It makes me feel excited and proud to post something on twitter for the world to see. As teachers we do not give ourselves enough credit and twitter is a great opportunity for us to “show off” what we do in the classroom and connect with other classes. I am now a huge advocate. I am glad you are getting into it!

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  2. justinlong9 September 21, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Very relatable write up in the sense of trying new things and the steps it takes to start making something more “likable”. I feel the same way about trying new things and more specifically tweeter use. I know many friends that use twitter and go on it daily for even hours throughout their day. I personally never found the excitement others did that kept me using the app. I had an account made a few tweets and received a few actions on my tweets but the idea of always using this app was fading quickly. Ultimately making me just end my account completely. I am not against trying this app again but I feel I made need a purpose and it wont just happen as a personal choice.

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  3. susanedu450 September 24, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    Thanks for your post as I too, don;t have a tweeter account. I know that no one covered this topic in my technology class as we were covering all the websites that can be useful in our classroom. I hear about it from my professors when one of them are retiring so they will throw it out there for anyone who wants to tweet with them. So you gave me some great insight on uses that we, teachers can use if we want to. So thanks again

    Sue

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