Reflections on Twitter

About a month ago, I posted about my intention to use Twitter as a one-line professional development blog.  My goal was to post every day for a week and then report on my experience at the end of the week.  I never managed to post seven days in a row and so I postponed my reporting several times until deciding enough is enough.  Since joining Twitter in March, I’ve made 65 tweets, 31 of which came in the last month.  It’s time to report.

In a recent post, Michele Martin described Twitter as “an extravert’s dream”, and I have to agree.  It provides constant, brief connections to crowds of people.  But I’m not an extrovert.  I’m uncomfortable and awkward in crowds.  I look for quiet corners at crowded parties and hope someone interesting gets lost on their way to the refreshments.  Sometimes I hope in vain, but sometimes an interesting person does come my way, and so I continue to go to parties.  For me, using Twitter is much like attending a party.  It’s full of strangers, casual acquaintances, and few close friends.  It’s full of background noise like the ever-present thumping of a subwoofer.  A lot of the time the party is lame, but sometimes you meet someone, hear something, or say something that makes you glad you showed up.

During my little Twitter self-challenge, interesting people began to stumble into my corner of the party.  Soul4real provided timely tech support.  Helenabaert expressed concern and Jepson offered encouragement.  Several people thanked me for sharing a link to the index of my Tools for Teaching with Technology wiki.  A couple of people have even tentatively agreed to contribute to the wiki.  (Additional contributors would be welcomed!) I doubt that Twitter will ever become the number one tool in my personal learning network, but I think I’ve finally developed enough of a Twitter presence/network to get some value from the tool.


About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
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6 Responses to Reflections on Twitter

  1. Oh Kim, I am SO with you in that corner at the party! And I agree with you that Twitter is very much like being at a party, where there’s a lot of background chatter and some nuggets of conversation that you can grab onto here and there. Maybe Posterous or Tumblr would be better suited for your one-sentence journal. A lot less noise.

  2. sarahmstewart says:

    It has taken me a long time to see the value of Twitter but I am really into it now. Yes, a lot of the noise I ignore, but I have also made some valuable connections and I feel it complements my blog in a way that I never foresaw. BUT, I do work from home a lot. When I am doing my classroom work, I do not use it half as much, and thats when its value decreases for me. Otherwise, it-s fun, which I enjoy.

  3. I find my attachment to Twitter comes and goes. I’ve found it to be a decent way to connect socially with the people I have “other” connections with, and helpful in finding good tools or blog posts of the others I follow. Unfortunately, some of the people I’ve enjoyed following have found over time that Twitter made them hyperconnected and its superficiality interfered with their real learning. I agree with you Kim that it isn’t likely to be the most valuable tool in the box, but it does come in handy sometimes.

  4. inpi says:

    Hi Kim,
    I surely will be joining you and Michele Martin in that cosy corner at the party…only I will be enjoying it deeply, for both of you are among my favorite bloggers…
    Yes, you are those “interesting people that got lost on their way to the refreshments”; and I could add some more, as I have been lucky enough to be on their way since I found Twitter.
    No background noise, no waist of messages, just instantaneous flashes of life sparkling precious information from any corner of the world, with a glimpse of humour from Australia, a hint of simpathy from the US,
    a call for sharing from the UK.
    It is true that I’m just following 20 people – that’s already scaring to me – and that their conversations don’t easily get too familiar (as it would be welcome in private, face to face talks with personal friends), thus not leading to that disturbing feeling of being caught in a noisy turmoil of chaotic communication.
    I’m sorry I hadn’t read your other article, where you invited people to follow you in order to share that experience; I’ve also recently losed two great Twitter companions: snbeach and bookjewel, that have “migrated” to Plurk; I surely miss their sober and clever “twits” where they excelled in a wise mixture of cordial relationship and great “professional” tips.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I think we share the same corner. It took me a while to get Twitter, but after about six months, it has now become a significant part of my PLE. I finally build a network with which I identified (and dropped those not adding value), and now find it is useful for bringing things to my attention that I then jump off into blogs or other websites to explore.

    And while I do not talk much at parties, I do listen, and I find some of the “conversations” in Twitter pure entertainment!

  6. @Britt — I think we’d all share a very interesting corner 🙂

    I think it has also taken me about six months to start getting value from Twitter. I wonder how much time the average twitter user invests before seeing real value? And how many give up before getting any value?

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