This week, I am attending Whipple Hill’s User Conference (#WHUC14 for those interested in catching some of the action), and I’m a bit surprised by the Twitter action; or rather, the lack thereof. At breakfast on Wednesday, the kick off for the event, I saw numerous posts about the food, mostly negative reviews and lots of pics. Food quality aside, I was excited to see the early # action. I had high hopes for getting tons of details from my colleagues about their various UC sessions over the course of the three-day conference.
Sadly, as of today, the end of Day 2, there are more tweets/photos about food and the hotel view than there are about the actual conference sessions (excluding my myriad tweets). Most of the tweets seemed to be coming from me and my fellow Cheshire Academy colleagues, with a few others peppered in (thank you to those who joined us!).
To my WH colleagues, I know you know how to tweet AND how to attach photos already. That just means I need to convince you to take your twitter action a step further. With that said, I bring you …
5 Reasons to Embrace Twitter … Today
1. Networking and Professional Development
Since becoming active on Twitter, my PLN (personal learning network) has grown immensely. I may not know everyone personally, but I feel like I’m best friends with folks like @coolcatteacher and @web20classroom, even though I’m sure they have no clue who I am – I’m ok with that though. Twitter allows us to share resources, report on conference sessions and sometimes even hold tweet-ups to meet each other in person when we are finally in the same location at the same time. And when we’re not together at conferences, we can still stay in touch and share ideas, problems and ask questions. Plus, I am constantly finding new articles to read, learning about trends, discovering tips and tricks to make my job easier, and sharing opinions on everything from technology in the classroom to independent school marketing.
How many times do you take notes and miss what the speaker said? All the time for me, but fortunately (hopefully) my colleagues are right there on Twitter with me taking notes, catching the things I missed. A quick retweet, favorite or reply logs it in my own feed, so I can review it later. Plus, Twitter’s 140 character limit requires that I paraphrase concepts and key ideas, which means I simplify my words to make things easier to remember, and I can’t get into the bad habit of taking verbatim notes that I’ll never read again. You’re already taking notes, just switch your platform and simplify your notes.
Hashtags are half the fun of tweeting. Conferences often have their own hashtags, allowing you to follow specific feeds and get all the details, even if you’re not actually attending. Although, to be truly effective this requires more than a few active tweeters, but imagine if even two people in each session tweeted? Amazing resources. Plus, hashtags allow you to participate in chat sessions, like #edchat, a favorite of mine, scheduled for specific times with given topics. Gathering with dozens of colleagues around the world to delve into marketing, classroom technology, whatever, is a fantastic way to share ideas, comment on issues and brainstorm. You don’t necessarily catch it all during the chat – sometimes threads move quickly – but you can always go back and read more later.
4. Life Tools
I don’t know about anyone else, but I get a good deal of my current event news from social media, Twitter being one of those outlets. I follow major networks and papers, and get instant information about the events of the day. I also follow peer schools to help me stay on top of what they are doing, challenging me to keep improving my office’s social media activity and providing inspiration as to how to increase engagement. And, I get tips on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest from Twitter users. We don’t discriminate. Add in the ability to receive weather updates, breaking news alerts, and even more importantly, special coupons from Starbucks – #coffeeaddict – plus the ability to add things to my amazon cart directly from Twitter … this social media outlet has become an incredibly valuable tool today.
5. It’s fun
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared humorous tweets with colleagues, connected during conference sessions, and waved across the room after I described myself to someone I’ve never met in person, “I’m short, have sunglasses on my head …” Sometimes, you befriend colleagues and get a chance to meet exciting new people and laugh about your conference excursions, like dueling pianos at CASE/NAIS in Disney, and private events at aquariums and almost getting abandoned by water taxis at WHUC14 in Boston. #wishyouwerehere
No, Twitter isn’t perfect, but it is a tool that has the potential to increase your knowledge and skills, enhance your work flow, inspire your creative brain, inform you about world events and fuel your coffee and shopping addictions.
I hope to see more of you in action on Twitter tomorrow!
Not sure how to get started on Twitter? Check out some of these edSocialMedia blogs to help you navigate the waters, or tweet me @stacyjago and say hi, just to test it out.