I was always intrigued about Twitter when I first heard of it. I thought at first it was some silly place to write really short Facebook status updates to an even larger, more random group of people that I may or may not know! So, just like any curious mind would do, I joined Twitter. I joined Twitter in January of 2009.
When I started, I started tweeting everything that I figured somebody that followed me might care about, even though most of these followers I saw everyday and were right next to me when it happened. Then I would start to follow sports fans on Twitter and just tweet out silly observations from the games I would watch. Then I started to think that nobody cared about what I was saying. There would be an occasional picture of me playing with my nephews, then something silly that my nephews were doing or some random thing I saw that was hilarious to me. Sure, these made me feel good to post and it made me feel even better when someone would “favorite” my tweet! Yet, something still was lacking from my use of Twitter.
One day, I’m not even sure when, my idea of Twitter drastically changed. Something happened! How did it happen? Honestly, I can’t even tell you! Maybe someone I follow (probably a teacher friend) was doing a Twitter chat. I was interested in a tweet that they sent and I just decided to click on the hashtag for that tweet (I think it was #ohedchat). At that point, my Twitterverse burst open! There was a whole world of Twitter that I didn’t even realize existed!
From that one tweet and my clicking of a hashtag, my experience and opinion of Twitter changed. I found teachers that had similar experiences to me that wanted to share thoughts and ideas! I found teachers with differing viewpoints and wanted to discuss differences with me in a civilized manner! I found administrators that were supportive of my ideas and encouraged me to keep pushing forward! I found teachers and administrators that continuously pushed me to finally complete my process for my principal license! I found teachers that showed their creativity and made me want to do greater things in my classroom. I found people that REALLY do care about what I had to tweet about!
Where did this one hashtag lead me? I went from some basic high school/middle school teacher with a 200 “followers” to a passionate, eager teacher with over 1,000 followers! These new followers have each played a role in developing my career as a teacher. I have found these followers in a variety of Twitter chats…#ohedchat, #tlap, #leadupchat, #hacklearning, #sschat, #catholicedchat, #2PencilChat, #flipclass, #satchat, #sunchat, #theclassroomwall, #whatisschool, #UrbanEdChat, #5thchat, #divergED, #KidsDeserveIt…and I’m sure many others!
Would I still be in the education field without these chats? Yes, I would be. Does having a great Personal Learning Network (PLN) behind me make it better? Definitely! I have had the pleasure to have met several of my Twitter PLN members in person! It is quite awesome to meet these fine people and see how well you feel like you know them even though we’ve only conversed over Twitter! Twitter has led me to several #EdCamps! I never would have gone to an EdCamp if I wasn’t on Twitter! Now, I am a huge fan of EdCamps and have traveled hours to get to one! Thanks #EdcampLdrOH!!
I am so blessed to have found that one tweet, that one hashtag, and send my 1st tweet in an educational Twitter chat! Twitter has been a great educational tool for me! It’s been a resource unlike any other in my career! Of course I still use Twitter to talk about Cleveland sports (how could I not? The CLE is doing great!)! I don’t do it as much and what I do say is positive about our teams! For education though, I would support any teacher that wants to expand their PLN using Twitter! Educators need to use Twitter to do what is best for students!