I learned about Twitter at NYCATE last year. I have been twittering on and off since. I only follow 20 people selectively but even those 20 are tough to keep up with and rarely offer any great new resources. Or offer too many that aren't even usable by real classrom teachers or is way over their heads (quoting a previous recent discussion here in 2.0) I find this forum the best way to truly learn and be engaged.

I am officailly kicking the Twitter Habit today. Who else has Twitter opinions? Anyone want to join my rebellion?

Tags: 2.0, micro-blogging, twitter, web

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I started following twitter about six months ago and did nothing. I decided to make more of an effort and follow a few people. Now I follow nine, including two relatives. I have learned a lot on Twitter. I now use Diigo, Classroom 2.0 and other sites because of twitter. I would like to start following more people, but I don't want to be over loaded with information. Twitter has been a great resource for me.
I am a huge Twitter fan! I have blogged many times about why I find it so great. My latest post gives examples of how my Twitter Playground helped me check out some new tools. I follow / am followed by more than 600 people. I know that seems like a lot - but I have found the more people I follow/follow me, the more useful Twitter has become to me.

I don't try to keep up with what I miss when I'm not on Twitter. I log in and see what people are talking about. I jump into conversations when I can, I start my own when I have a question or have something to share. I do tweet my blog posts, but I also tweet other people's posts. When my feed reader is overflowing, Twitter helps me narrow in on things to read.

I met many of the people I follow at the Educon 2.0 conference in January, 2008. They are as amazing in real life as they are Online. In fact, today, there is a New England "Tweetup" where I will see about 10 of my New England "Tweeps." I'm really looking forward to it!

I respect that Twitter might not be for you. Most people do start out suspicious - I did too - it took me a while to figure out how Twitter could work for me. Check out this graph: Twitter Life Cycle by CogDog. You are just beginning. I suggest you give it another try, add A LOT more followers and see what happens. You can always bail on it later if you end up not finding it useful.

-Liz
I, like Liz, am a HUGE twitter fan. It is my most valuable tool for connecting, networking, and learning. I follow only 143 people and don't try to backtrack when I miss tweets. But I do find out about new blogposts, impromptu professional development and, often, personal trials and tribulations. Twitter is also where I turn when I need assistance. Need a question answered about a tool or application? Ask my twitter followers (437). Need an expert to help out in class? Send it out to twitter. Need advice about something I am working on? Twitter is the place to go. Want to find people to connect with at a conference or for a project? I can always find them at twitter.

My advice: don't give up yet. But by all means, start following more people. Look for people who send out links, who use twitter often, who follow people you follow. Look for me: lparisi. :)

Good luck!
By the way - I just Tweeted the link to this forum discussion. Obviously a biased group - but you can see how many people have responded since I did that. :)
I'm a high school history teacher who signed up for Twitter not that long ago (about a month). I entered words like "edtech" and "educator" into the Find & Follow box and now follow about 150 people. I found Twitter to be an instant community for me as I began navigating my way through the EduTech conversation. People have been unbelievably welcoming and I have been especially impressed by how quickly my questions get answered. I can shoot out a "Can anyone help me with [software, ideas, etc.]?" and have responses in moments. I have also found out about conferences in my area, quick reviews of new software and services and a lot of very friendly support as my 10th graders started blogging.

You're right, I don't really have a bunch of time to be constantly Tweeting at school, but I definitely keep my window open whenever I am online and check in as I have moments to myself. I think following as many people as possible helps to have a constant influx of potentially interesting and useful information. Also, like Liz said before me, I don't try to keep up with what I miss. I sort of imagine Twitter to be a bunch of people standing around chit-chatting about things relevant to me and when I can, I listen or join in.
I love Twitter. I must admit when Ryan Bretag introduced me to it at NECC last summer I didn't get it, didn't understand why anyone would want to use it and I didn't for a while. Once I started to read what others were tweeting about, I began to follow more people and my learning has escalated since then. I met Liz Davis at EduCon after knowing her online through Twitter and I agree with what she said. I would suggest you follow a few more and give it more time. I agree many sites people link to are blocked, but that doesn't mean you can't look at it from home and maybe find some great resources you can make a case to having unblocked where you are. I know that has been the case in my situation. I am looking forward to meeting many more in my Twitter network at NECC in June, Lisa Parisi being one of them.
Melanie,
I agree with many of your points, especially how important it is that you both give and take on Twitter. I also appreciate you sharing some new twitter folks that I don't already follow.

However I don't agree with this one:
"Also ... and this is VERY important: EDUCATORS, STOP FOLLOWING OTHER EDUCATORS!!!!!"

I agree that it is useful to follow people other than educators, but the educators in my network are essential to my learning. They see tools through the lens of a teacher. They do help me to see why the tools matter and how I could use them in a classroom. The exploration of Diigo which was kicked off for me on Twitter is an excellent example of this, as are my recent experiences exploring grouptweets and twiddla.

I don't think there are any rights and wrongs on Twitter - and we all have our own learning style. I can understand why some people may never connect there. For me, it has been incredibly valuable place for my professional and intellectual growth.
I think some of you are missing that point that he has been using (albeit on and off) for a year. I'm guessing the points that your network may not be big enough are probably more applicable to why you haven't made the connections you would like. I have a moderate following/follow at under 100, and I did okay when I was more in the 50 range, but when I grew, the responses/usefulness went up too.

You don't have to like, or use twitter. It may not work for you. There are many "useless" conversations that I have on twitter, but there are many useless conversations I used to have around the coffee machine/water cooler. Most social psychologist/etc. would, however, say that those are not useless. They serve many purposes, and a surprising amount of knowledge, information gets conveyed that way. You pick your metaphor, but for me, it's my water cooler. Sometimes I find someone I've been looking for, and get information I was trying to chase down. Sometimes, I just have fun picking on John Pederson.
I heard about Twitted from Will Richardson when he spoke at a cue conference in Monterey. I finally got around to trying it out in Feb. I started twitting with my family. My mom, dad, and sister all twitted with me, so maybe I have a different perspective. My family loves it, my mom only follows family members and some people like Anderson cooper, my sister goes for the family and funzies like tweetjeebus and Satan, and me?

Over time I have begun following people with the same focuses as myself. Many of them don't follow me and I don't really care. I think that in the end there are many tools to help us stay connected. They are like clothes- you try them on and see if they are a good fit. For me twitter is a good fit. I have been able to make new contact with the world and it feels freeing. I am a classroom teacher and most of the time we are isolated in our rooms with only children or teenagers to talk to. We also are not at our computers a ton , we are moving around. Many web2.0 applications are blocked by our districts, and even if they weren't, teachers are teachers 24 hours a day- meaning that our jobs are always on the line with regard to our behavior on the net.
I have twitter through my phone, and twits come through as the day progresses. I, thankful for the adult (as in speaking with adults instead of teenagers) conversation. Every day I get a ton of great information that I can check out when I get home, and every day I learning through hearing the perspectives of others.
I find twitter invaluable. I don't mind if I twits too much for some, just don't follow me!
My family has a great time with it, and we are closer now than ever before.
twitter has made my mom finally get comfortable with using the internet and we have now installed a Presto email printer at my grandma's house so that we can include her in on the " new conversation" that we wlare all having. Because my parents are now interacting online ( as opposed to just writing emIl) they have become more communicative in the rest of their lives. The comfort level with the technology has increased and has spread in it's way to my grandma who doesn't own a computer. The interaction with my grandma, who is in her mid 80's and lives alone about 400 miles away from the nearest relative, has jump started her life. She has begun making new friends ( the majority of her have died) and has started going out and living again in the real world. She had lost her purpose for living and had shut herself in her house like a hermit, watching tv and reading books. What a change!
She says that the picture and short notes that the printer spits out every morning and eve have brought her back to the world. All of this came from my family interacting more via twitter.
So, I guess you should do what works for you. Technology is only as good as how you decide to use it, and you don't have to use it all. I love twitter, I think it has changed the way I think about how I fit in the world, and I know it has changed my family.
I can't even begin to describe how twitter has helped me, but I can say this - everyone has a different way of learning and engaging. If you're not into twitter and don't find it valuable, why force it? Use what you can, do what you can and move on. The twitter debates don't serve much of a purpose, in my opinion. If you do use twitter and find it to be a useful tool, follow me (and @ me to let me know who you are) - I look forward to meeting you. I'm @kolson29 - if you think it's a useless waste of time, isn't this conversation just perpetuating that? Again, use what you can, don't get bogged down by everything else.
When I first learned about Twitter at last year's NECC conference, I didn't get the point. I felt much the same as you express here. When I was reintroduced to it in the fall, I decided I should give it a go. I felt that either I would prove that it was useless or I would glean some benefit from it. Either way, it would help to serve one of my purposes for my school - to keep an eye on cutting edge technologies and determine their usefulness in an educational setting. With the encouragement of people like Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson, I ventured into the world of Twitter. I received some great advice for using Twitter from Cathy Nelson and began to see benefits emerge. To this point, I have learned about 3 tremendous collaborative projects that my students have participated in and countless learning opportunities for myself as an educator. In addition, I have learned about new web 2.0 tools that I wouldn't have know about otherwise.

I do not follow everyone who follows me and I try to focus in on following people who will provide insights for me. Twitter is not a waste of time for me; it is not meaningless for me either. Twitter is one tool among several that help me to keep "up" on what is going on and what the current burning topics are in the world of education. In this way, it helps me to be more effective in my role at my school.
Well, I guess I have a difficult time looking at Twitter from anything other than a teacher's perspective. It doesn't seem to have a place for me right now. My kids (my teenager children) won't use it, it doesn't fit the needs of my elementary students, my peers are working on basic integration, and I really don't have much to offer tech specialists or consultants. So...I will probably wait until a tool comes along that lets me centralize all of the stuff I already have out there: delicious, flickr, facebook, meebo, gmail, school email, ning sites, etc. Tech Crunch has an interesting article on data being decentralized and a need for some (me!) to get it all in one place.

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