It's been a little over three weeks since I've joined Twitter. While I'm still learning, it has both hindered me in some ways and benefitted me in others. Below are some of my thoughts and questions about this new networking tool.

Twitter has:

1. Helped my personal network grow. I've "met" some great people through Twitter. Teryl_Magee and JLWagner have been especially welcoming. I can't wait to meet more! In fact, I'm meeting at least 3 people I follow F2F at a conference on April 7th.

2. Introduced me to more great new minds. I'm now reading The Power of Educational Technology and The Thinking Stick.

3. Helped me experience the Power of Twitter. The other night, Kate Olson sent out a Tweet helping me break the 50 follower barrier. Within about 10 minutes, 12 new people were following me. This was amazing.

4. Learned of other Twitter members who do the same thing as me - thanks to dmcordell for sharing some of her favorite Library Media Specialists who are on Twitter. I'm looking forward to learning from them.

5. Helped me make contact with a classroom in Tennessee so some of my students could video chat for the first time via Skype with Teryl_Magee's students. This was much easier to do thanks to Twitter.

6. Made me more aware of UStream. I watched my first broadcast hosted by Ryan Bretag. Ryan also sent me my first DM.

7. Decreased the amount of time I'm blogging. I'm finding myself checking Twitter too much, resulting in less time to blog and do other things.

8. Run up the total of text messages I got on my iPhone (yes, I went over my allotted amount). For a short time period one day, I set up Twitter to send the Tweets to my iPhone. Little did I know that I would have about 100 messages in less than a day. Needless to say, I had to turn off that feature. Good thing I can still get to Twitter via the web browser on my phone.

9. Made me wonder if there's any educational use for this for elementary students - probably not yet.

10. Allowed me to read great blog posts recommended by others. I really like the fact that someone can simply say - "Hey, read this" and then provide a quick link.

11. Helped spread the word about my blog. I don't have many subscribers to my blog, but I'm able to post a link to a new entry, like I will this one, and more people may visit. Perhaps conversations will lead to more learning.

12. Made my wife a little unhappy. She's always telling me - get off the computer, put the iPhone down! It's not as bad as it sounds, but sometimes I don't want to miss anything.

13. Made me wonder how long some people spend on Twitter. It seems that some people are on quite a bit. How do they manage this?

14. Made me realize that some people have over 1,000 followers and also follow hundreds of others. How in the world do they do it? Is there a number that is simply too many?

14. Increased my eagerness to learn more. Not only about Twitter and what others are doing, but more about Web 2.0 technologies.

By the way, if you're not already, follow me - you just might learn something.

There you go. I'm looking forward to continued learning. If you have other thoughts, experiences, questions, or comments about Twitter, I'd love to hear them. Perhaps you have some tips for me, I sure could use them.

12 comments

  1. Jethro // April 6, 2008 at 10:14 PM  

    I can't imagine following any more than I do right now. Sometimes, it is just too overwhelming. I do enjoy it, though. I have actually communicated with people, instead of with my blog where only my wife reads it. There isn't much schooliness use for it (to use a word from @cburell) but there is some very powerful educational use for it. I have learned more in the last five months that I have been on than I thought was even possible!

  2. mindelei // April 6, 2008 at 10:47 PM  

    I'm also very new to twitter...but I have discovered a new vocabulary in the past few weeks (tweets, produsers, schooly, etc.) and have had many new experiences, and met several new people.

    As for elementary kids, apparently there is a youthtwitter for elementary and middle school students. Apparently, teachers keep watch to make sure there aren't any inappropriate tweets. I learned of this when I attended a webcast about schooliness in blogs the other day.

  3. Dan Gross // April 7, 2008 at 4:31 PM  

    Two thoughts:

    re: amount of time - it is hard to "unplug" without missing something! Sometimes I do end up having to go back quite far to feel like I haven't missed anything! But when you're plugged in, its like an amazing rush of connectedness for your brain! And its not just meeting people - its the exchange of ideas and content in almost real time.

    re: educational use - there is a definate educational use - just as there is for adults, students will build their personal resource networks. They will get instant answers from one another, and collaborate on projects. But not until we let them...

  4. corrie // April 7, 2008 at 4:33 PM  

    I joined in September or thereabouts after the number of comments about Twitter on the blogs I read reached critical mass. The "network magic" kicked in at about 45 follows / followers, and things gathered steam. I now follow about 250 and have about 300 followers.

    I don't automatically follow back at this point, unless the person's profile shows they are an ed tech person. I block bots and broadcasters. I've unfollowed folks who didn't add anything useful to my stream. I might spend fifteen minutes a week managing that aspect.

    And as @robwall noted, it's a river, not a reservoir. I can dip in and dip out as my time allows. I don't worry about missing anything (other than a DM or @me reply). Truly critical stuff I'll find out via other means - listserves, blogs, etc.

    Twitter is a way to subscribe to the brains of some really smart people.

    @skydaddy

  5. Sylvia // April 7, 2008 at 4:35 PM  

    I found your blog through Twitter! It's a cool thing, and I think you will find that it regulates itself after a while. I have over 600 people I follow and I don't spend any more time on it than when I had 100. I just miss some stuff, but I find other stuff. It all evens out!

    I think if you cut yourself off at an artificial limit, you would find it got stale after awhile.

  6. diane // April 7, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

    I started on Twitter in October, and have experienced many of the pluses (connectivity, resources, help when needed) and minuses (finding time to blog & keep up with Twitter) with which most users contend.

    It's part of a "package" including email, RSS feeds, blogging, and Twitter, that keeps me informed, engaged, and personally linked to people who are now both colleagues and friends.

    @dmcordell

  7. eplybon // April 7, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

    I agree with what someone else said - you don't have to worry about missing things. Take a dip in Twitter when you have a chance - let it go when you don't. It's very easy to come and go and believe me, everyone is still there when you get back! Welcome to the twitterverse!

    @glad2be

  8. Sue Waters // April 11, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

    You're now in my reader so I'm a subscriber and twitter definitely does let people know about your blog.

    The magic number for me was between 100-200, after 200 you need really good tools for keeping up the conversation. And yes I know that it seems sometimes that I'm always on twitter :) but it's just that I'm using good tools that make it more efficient. Here's my post for The Edublogger, in case you haven't read it, that explains the tools and mechanisms I use to manage a large twitter network effectively.

    I now get quite a few follower requests a day and provided they've supplied enough information for me to identify they are educators or similar interests I will follow back. When will I stop adding more followers? Not sure?

    Sue Waters
    Mobile Technology in TAFE

  9. Sue Waters // April 11, 2008 at 5:53 PM  

    Off course I was tired when I wrote my comment and forgot what I really came to comment about. What I meant to say was check out Tom Barrett's posts on using twitter in the classroom as he has some really cool ideas.

    Sue Waters

  10. Sarah Stewart // April 11, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

    I'm just getting the hang of twitter. I would love to 'meet' more people from my own profession, midwifery, but at the moment I am only using it to communicate with educators

  11. Rick // April 18, 2008 at 7:26 PM  

    Yeah, I've found some great bloggers via Twitter over the last few months. And also yeah, I need to find some way to pare it down a little. I only have like 50-some that I'm following, but that seems like a lot to keep up with.

    Rick
    http://www.rickscheibner.net

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