Sunday, February 10, 2013

Twitter - What's in a Number?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
When I rejoined Twitter for the second time to focus on the professional side of the social network rather than following celebs, I never realized the effect it would have on me.  A number of my previous posts are reflections upon various opportunities that have arisen due to my connections on Twitter.  However, I really started to think about the journey this weekend when I received this tweet from one of my Australian tweeps:

We all keep track of the number of followers that we have.  For some it is a fun game, for some it may be competitive.  I am not sure what it was for me until I thought about the above tweet and responded thus:

That last sentence truly sums it all up.  Since I have been connecting on Twitter, I have met, interacted with, and learned with so many amazing educators in the virtual world.  These are people with whom I would likely never communicate if it weren't for what I consider to be the most influential tool for professional development in my career: Twitter.  In addition, Twitter relationships often become live, in person ones via tweet-ups at conventions, conferences, edcamp unconferences, and various other educational learning forums.

So, I guess the number of followers that I have is kind of fun to watch grow; however, I think the number that is really more important is the number of true connections made. I feel lucky to be learning with so many dedicated and innovative educators.  I've been having phenomenal conversations since the first few weeks that I logged on.  Folks like @Cantiague_Lead, @Joe_Mazza, @L_Hilt, and many others helped me understand back then that this was more than just 140 characters and pithy sayings; it is a full-fledged conversation geared toward improving ourselves and demonstrating how important it is to connect for professional growth.

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
On a daily basis, I find new resources shared by members of my PLN and I do the same.  Additionally, I can pose a question and get responses from all over the globe.  I am now a part of things like #edcampNJ and #njed chat.  Every time I click the Twitter app on my phone or log in on my computer, I know that I will come away with something new to nourish my love of learning, teaching, and education.  If you are not using this tool for your own professional growth, I can't stress enough how important it is to start.  There are so many resources out there for beginners like:

Using Twitter for Professional Development
Twitter for Educators - Twitter Cheat Sheet
A Simple Comprehensive Guide on The Use of Personal Learning Networks in Education

As for the chocolate confetti?  I sure hope so. I guess, I'll see soon.

***Update Feb. 11, 2013
Hit 1000 followers overnight and there was no chocolate confetti; nonetheless, I am thrilled to keep growing my PLN.
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