What’s Twitter for?

Walk the talk

I re-joined Twitter in 2016 and these were my first two tweets, only two days apart.

The goal has always been to give other educators a glimpse of what happens in my classroom and to keep a portfolio of my journey as an educator. I feel that as a secondary teacher, I am often isolated in my classroom and there is seldom another adult in the room. As a workshop leader, it also gives me a sense of accountability towards workshop participants: evidence that I walk the talk.

Thanks for sharing!

As my network on Twitter grew, I began to look to Twitter for a few different reasons. The first was to follow people and organizations that bring value to my timeline and the time I spend on Twitter. I am much more likely to find a piece of writing or resource by the virtual recommendation of my network than actively searching for it. Like this example below, on an “Economist” article shared by the head of school at my previous job.

Is anyone out there?

The second is to actively seek out the input of fellow educators (or people, really) on things that matter to me at the moment. Like Tyler did here.

At the time of writing, Tyler (who is a Middle School principal in the US), has just over 2500 followers. This thread collected over 270 likes (more than 10%) and several times that in actual replies to his question.

The impressions on my tweet above, requesting feedback on the order in which I should take my PTC courses, are similar to Tyler’s. 10% of my 200 followers ‘liked’ my tweet, but it only elicited a response to my question from the person I mentioned in the tweet. Not even the PTC bothered to reply. But hey, at least the IB responded to this one:

Under the premise that I’m looking for genuine engagement with fellow educators (and not trying to amass ‘likes’), Twitter has been disappointing in that regard. If it weren’t for the ‘digital portfolio’ I keep in it, I probably would see there is little return on the time invested.

This was one a bit more lively, and I’m glad I got a chance to go back to it a year later.

I give a lot on Twitter as well and enjoy participating in some of the conversations that happen there, like in my response to Tyler’s question above. The bitesize microblog format of Twitter was, in my view, a game-changer. I feel like it killed traditional blogging in a lot of ways.

What is the best way to get the most out of Twitter? What tips or advice do you have? Is it about followers or the use of hashtags? Who do you like to follow on the platform?