Friday, December 12, 2008

My twitter story

I think it's time to tell my Twitter story, because I need to make my peace with it. Thing is, when I first heard of twitter at ULearn'07 I thought now there's a big fat waste of time. In fact, a year later at ULearn'08 I thought exactly the same thing. Then, final day, final workshop I'm sitting next to @janenicholls when she tells me she couldn't live without her twitter network. Strong statement. I think, maybe there's more to this than "I just ate the yummiest chicken tikka masala at Mr. India". So, she hooks me up and says I should get into a group. Hmmm, how do I do that? In walks ICT guru, cyber-sage @suzievesper who says, just follow a whole bunch of people and comment on their blogs. Then, to help out she puts out a plug to her twitter network saying Hey, follow @craigsteed and Yippee, some of you did - that was encouraging! OK, so from slow and humble beginnings, gradually around me develops this amazing network of educators. I now love twitter - it's not just another social network, but it's more my Personal Learning Network. That's what I love about it, thinking & learning with others. One recent example of this was when @snbeach asked four important questions about education, threw out to her network and gathered the responses to post on her blog.

This story I know is not just mine, it is mirrored on a recent post by @klandmiles and I imagine the story is similar for many of you. Criticism of Twitter has been levelled at the type of tweets that occur, that they can be inconsequential or that in situations like conferences, tweets can spiral into negative commentary, the tone of which can be influenced by intial tweets and a subsequent flow of imitative tweets - a phenomena Derek Wenmoth describes in his blog post titled Digital Lemmings. OK, agreed but like Derek I also have found my involvement with twitter on the whole to be a highly positive and valuable experience. Also, let's be realistic, we don't operate in an emotional vacuum and for me some of the more personal tweets are actually just as important as the learning tweets as they allow me to get to know some of my network. I honestly know only 4 or 5 people personally in my twitter network, so these tweets allow me to get to know my network a little better, and that's important too - it allows me to connect at emotional level with this very important bunch of educators.

So thanks twitter - I misjudged you - accept my apologies.


Little Voices, Little Scholars. said...

Hi Craig !
I was like you. I did not think much of until I met Allanah at Ulearn 08 and she showed me the benefits of twittering. Since then I've increased the volume of traffic to my class blog thru twittering and I've learned new cool stuff like Capzle.
Now I can not live without TWITTER.


Mr Lietze said...

Hi Craig

We all have started out much like the way you have described. It is a real buzz how we all can help one another. Learning is soo powerful when we share and guide one another.

Keep up the good work man. I enjoy reading ur tweets.


Pedroniusprime said...

Hey Craig,
Nicely put. It's much the same for me. I think people create their own meaning through their network but not everyone understands that possibility at the start.
I'm liking it. It's not quite as addictive as I'd imagined... and that's a good thing! Pete

Jane Nicholls said...

Glad I could be of help :). The beauty of twitter for me is that I can help people and I can be helped. I can connect and I can turn it off and come back a few days later. It also helps to get to know people better which helps when you are reading their blogs, you have a back story and a knowledge about what they think etc. It is also nice to know that there are people out there who have similar interests to you and in NZ when you are in small schools, sometimes finding people of like minds is difficult.

So yes... I couldn't live without my twitter network :)

KB said...

Hey Craig,

Honoured to have made a mention in one of your posts! Interesting your story is so similar, and glad you have stuck with it. You're an important part of my PLN, even though I've never met you!

I'm back in the motherland now, so doubt I'll be tweeting as much, but will look forward to catching you online soon.


Allanah K said...

I think that's pretty much the same for all of us in this community.

Sheryl N-B asked me a while back, "Do I Twitter?"
I replied, "No!"
She said, "We'll you should!"

And there! Another jigsaw piece to my learning network fell into place.

Twitter is now one of my multiple homepages.

Suzie Vesper said...

Hey Craig - I remember going to Twitter and putting out my first tweet and waiting for some kind of response via the public timeline as I had no followers and wasn't following anyone either. I thought, "what the...???" and left it alone again until one of the conferences where it became the back channel and I was away. We all start off slowly in Twitter. I was going to put a link to a funny Crappy Graphs explanation of the evolution of Twitter but their site seems to be down!

Craig Steed said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments, for welcoming me into twitter and being an important part of my PLN. Tweet ya later!

Mrs Gibb said...

Well all I would say is ditto! Ulearn07 I fobbed it off - why would I want to tell a bunch of strangers what I was doing??? Few days before Ulearn08 I signed up thinking it had been a year and I should work out what the buzz was about twitter. I can't believe how it has enhanced by own learning. It is such a valuable tool!

It's a bonus to have found another NZ Chem teacher too!

Mel (aka Moodlegirl)

MrWoody said...

here here!
i had the same experience being introduced by my geek mate. it initially looked impressive then seemed pointless until i "hooked up" with some interesting folk amongst the teachers of NZ and around the world. next thing i'm learning from people in 140 characters or less. very cool.
personally i think derek was being a fuddyduddy about ulearn tweeting and what we said [one abusive guy the exception - sorry to our foreign guests for having to meet an aussie in chch] was a legitimate critique of boring speakers who many of us had come along way to see.
regarding Jane n Suzie - they are fantabulous!!!!
the most fun i had at ulearn was meeting my twitter mates in the flesh - and now of course i've learnt about whiskey thanks to you!