Twitter turns five years of age this month. Co-founder, Jack Dorsey, sent the world’s first twitter message: “just setting up my twttr” on March 21, 2006. Undoubtedly, in five short years, Twitter has changed the way many of us communicate and share information.
For those unfamiliar with Twitter, it is a free, social networking and micro-blogging service that runs on both computers and internet-connected mobile devices. Since this communication service was designed to be used by people “on the move”, each message or “tweet” is limited to 140 characters so it can be easily displayed on the smaller cell phone screens.
As an educator, I use Twitter. I must admit that at first I could not see the benefit of receiving “tweets” that described what a person ate for breakfast, what music one was currently listening to, what sports team another individual was cheering for, or someone asking his/her “followers” for suggestions on how to train their dog. However, although these “somewhat superfluous” messages, in my humble opinion (often compressed in “tweets” as IMHO), still are sent, I find they take up far less than 10% of all my Twitter messages. Such unique messages do add a dimension to the individual sender of which one may not necessarily be aware. It is the remaining 90% of Twitter traffic that exposes me to interesting, educational activities and resources. In fact, it is Rodd Lucier’s “Twitter Bingo for Education” image that cleverly summarizes a variety of ways educators may use Twitter.
Having now used Twitter for more than a year, I thought that I should create this new blog category called “Sweet Tweet”. Here, I hope to share meaningful, succinct messages that I think are unique and inspiring. As my first “Sweet Tweet”, I thought I would share the a powerful message from Kevin Kindred of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following the recent tsunami and the resulting nuclear accident, Kevin provides an insightful perspective into most jobs when he compares his with a Japanese nuclear worker:
Tweet Details: Received – Thursday, March 17, 2011.
– Originally sent or “tweeted” by Kevin Kindred aka @kevinkindred.
– Re-Tweeted (RT) by Swan River educator, Ryan Maksymchuk aka @biggmaxx.
I encourage educators to register for a free Twitter account. Don’t feel that you need to contribute right away. Rather, be a lurker, and “follow” other educators with whom you feel a common grade, subject, interest or passion. Manitoba teachers might consider following some of the educators listed in the wiki called “Manitoba Teachers Who Tweet“. I’m sure that in time you will find Twitter to be a powerful tool in helping to share knowledge and expand your personal learning network.
To help get you started using Twitter, I provide the following resources:
- Twitter in 60 seconds ( a YouTube video by Jim Gates)
- Twitter in Plain English (a 2:23 minute Common Craft video)
- How can we use Twitter for teaching and learning? (a slide presentation by Maggie Verster)
- Mastering Twitter in 10 Minutes – (a downloadable PDF by Chris Demetrios)
- Cure What Ails You: A Dose of Twitter for Every Day of the Year – (an ISTE 2010 presentation by Kathy Schrock with extensive resources displayed below the initial video screen)
I encourage readers to share their favourite tweets with me for possible inclusion in future “Sweet Tweets”. One may send them by Twitter to me at @bkmetcalfe, in this blog post “Comment”, or by email to Brian<dot>Metcalfe<at>life-long-learners<dot>com.
In closing, I trust that you will come to appreciate Howard Rheingold, when he stated, “I think successful use of Twitter means knowing how to tune the network of people you follow, and how to feed the network of people who follow you”.
Take care & keep smiling Brian
– Flickr Creative Commons image “Twitter Bingo for Educators” by Rodd Lucier aka thecleversheep
– Free Twitter Bird Icon Set from Gopal Raju with a special thanks to Chris Metcalfe for the “tweet bubble” graphic enhancement.