The article, Join the Flock by Hadley Ferguson, surrounds the benefits of joining the social networking site, Twitter. In it, she sets up the basic outline of how Twitter functions and provides some helpful hints on how to get followers, as well as where to look for people to follow. Ferguson emphasizes the impact that this little tool could have for educators, and the wealth of information that it can expose one too. She describes personal experiences using the website and encourages others to give it a try. Through Twitter, one can effectively follow conversations on topics of interests without facing awkward social interactions of having to physically converse with someone unknown. In this way, one can ease themselves into the Twitter world and find for themselves what they feel works and what does not. The plethora of information that one can learn from a site such as this is infinite. Once the user starts a following, they will gain access to any information someone they are following posts. When used in a professional sense, this will usually lend way to informative articles, new web tools, or any like-mattered thing that the user can then look at for themselves and implement in their personal lives. Accordingly, if the user finds an interesting piece of information they feel would be beneficial to the people that are following them, they can “tweet” it and it will instantly be sent out into their network for observation. It really is a wonderful too.
The article, Enhance Your Twitter Experience by Shannon McClintock Miller, discusses some easy ways to take full advantage of all the benefits that Twitter has to offer. To begin with, Miller promotes using an organizer such as TweetDeck or HootSuite to easily arrange different interests into columns that sorts out tweets automatically based on hashtags. These organizers also make it easier to communicate by providing simple shortcuts to re-tweet, reply, or message with other users, as well as to combine Facebook, LinkedIn, and Myspace pages. In addition, these organizers make it easy to form a tweet with a link to an outside page by using a bookmark bar, which automatically composes a tweet that can be edited or sent as is to all of your followers. Finally, Miller introduces some Twitter protocol and gives some suggestions for how to allot your time while using the tool. She proposes spending 70% of the time sharing voices and tools, 20% used to create direct messages and responses, and 10% just talking about day-to-day life activities. With a little patience and practice, Twitter can become a highly useful tool and effective teaching aid.
Question 1: What are some of the benefits of using Twitter in a professional manner?
Answer 1: Some of the benefits of using Twitter in professional manner include an easy access to information all over the web, developing connections with other educators, and finding an easy platform to voice your opinions to multiple people. Twitter allows you see what the people you are following think is important or related to education and gives you the opportunity to look and decide for yourself. Many other educators will post links to articles, videos, discussions, photo, etc. that you may be able to implement in your own classrooms or use to refine your personal philosophy of education. In addition, you can send these people personal messages or reply to their tweets to connect on a more personal level. Through this, relationships and bonds can form so that friendships can be created out of digital interactions. This makes the experience that much more rewarding. Additionally, through your own tweets you can send out any articles, videos, etc. that you found personally interesting in the chance that someone else may see it and find a way to use it as well. People from all over the world can instantly become connected and share different perspectives over singular topics. As educators, I think we have a responsibility to never stop learning, and websites such as Twitter allow this not only to be possible, but also easily accessible.
Question 2: Why is it important to break up the time spent on Twitter into the categories mentioned by the author?
Answer 2: When using Twitter as a professional tool, it is important to break up your Twitter use as mentioned for several reasons. As an educator, you want to be taken seriously and show that you really care about what you are sending out to others and that you appreciate the time that someone took to tweet something for your benefit. Spending 70% of the time sharing others opinions, you are taking an interest in someone else and stepping outside of your bubble to forward a message that you believe in. An idea might spread much further than you think just by having it re-tweeted across several pages so that multitudes of people who are not following the original creator can have access to information that you think is important in some way. In doing so, you are also showing others that you are paying attention and making an effort to be involved in the community. By spending 20% of the time responding with others and collaborating, you are making a conscious effort to focus your attention on a select few and create stronger ties with those that you are interested in working with on a more personal basis. This can be a great way to get involved in projects and find resources. Finally, by spending 10% of your time just talking about yourself, you remind your followers that you are a real human being and can interject some humor into an otherwise serious stream of tweets. It’s just a nice way to break up the monotony of professional ideals and have a little fun in the mix.
Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/February-2012.aspx
McClintock Miller, S. (2010). Join the flock. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/February-2012.aspx