Stage 1: Newbie
I believe Twitter works in stages that interlock, which is shown in the above image. I joined Twitter in April 2009 when my little sister asked me if Twitter was useful for educators. I had to investigate, so I joined and added some educators I knew and all the educators in my field on the Twitter for Teachers wiki.
Stage 2: Reporter
However, my Twitter adventure actually began on May 17, 2009. I was at a poetry reading hosted by my colleague and friend, Karenne Sylvester, who pointed out that she never saw me on Twitter. At the time, I did not understand how to use Twitter and posting updates about my life made me feel silly!
However, at this point a light bulb went off in my head as I realized I could tweet about the fascinating projects other educators were doing. Immediately, I went home and tweeted about the poetry event. Additionally, I began clicking the links of the people I was following, leaving comments on blogs, and tweeting their blogs. These helped me establish relationships and make connections with other progressive minded educators.
Stage 3: Subject Matter Expert
So what do you tweet about if you are not tweeting about others?
We cannot always tweet about others. Part of the Twitter experience is also establishing your self within the educational community. For me, this question really helped me to make connections on Twitter. I began to reflect on what I could offer my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and what impression I wanted them to have of me. I changed my Twitter profile background and began tweeting links I collected over the years that helped me plan lessons or helped me with my Master’s thesis on closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners through Web 2.0 technology.
Immediately, I started a blog, because I wanted to investigate the various educational tools provided by my PLN. Moreover, I felt I had put several hours into gaining experience and researching these two fields that I did consider myself a subject matter expert in these fields. What does your education and experience make you a subject matter expert in? Tweet links or ideas related to this subject that you find through your Google reader or through Google alerts.
Stage 4: Involvement
This stage is the most important and must be the foundation of the other stages. Involve yourself with the people you connect with by retweeting their links, answering their questions, starting discussions with them, creating links to their blogs from your blog, joining their projects, or joining their networks. If an educator is rude enough not to respond to your conversation attempts, please try again with another educator who will respond. I apologize for their bad Twitter manners.
Below is a graph of the projects I have been involved in since I began really using Twitter three months ago. Moreover, this graph shows the possibilities that await you if you join Twitter and really use this social forum to establish relationships with progressive minded educators.
I recommend the following links for getting started on Twitter:
Visit my previous Twitter posts by clicking here.
Shelly, a native Texan, is an English language instructor and curriculum writer in Germany. Additionally, she has taught the Twitter for Beginners and Managing Twitter online courses series for Edufire.
Visit her blog at http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/