I created a twitter account some years ago, and got streams of one liners, bad jokes, banal sentiment, and descriptions of coffee and bowel movements. Whatever this “Microblogging” thing was, it wasn’t like, y’know, real blogging. I found little of interest, and let it slide.
Years later, I started to hear more and more about it, and the synomization* of Twitter and PLN’s didn’t jive with my earlier experience, which seemed to be mostly fart jokes. So I checked it out, and I have been much happier with what I found. After a month I have 90 tweets under my belt, I follow 57 people and organizations, and have 33 followers. As a PLN, I am now connected to educators from around the world, gaining insights and sharing thoughts.
So how would I describe Twitter? Well, to be cliché, “it’s a giant party and everyone is invited”. No, seriously. Okay, not the binging noisy dance party sort of party, but the social gatherings at conferences where you actually get to talk to people and make connections.
Imagine, if you will, being at a giant reception at conference to which everyone, and I mean everyone on the planet, has been invited. Overwhelming isn’t it? Noisy, too much going on, how do you break in to conversations? How do you make connections? Maybe you just wander around until you catch a snippet of conversation you can contribute to, and join in. Maybe that conversation leads to others, and people begin introducing you to people they know, and so your network of contacts spreads.
Like a large social gathering, there is no way you can catch every bit of every conversation. You don’t even try. You explore and enjoy the conversations you have, and maybe someone will fill you in on conversations you missed.
But Twitter adds a few extra bonuses – you can search for specific terms to home in on specific conversations, and you can filter for hashtags (specific words or topics preceded by #). No doubt it is overwhelming at first – just like a large hall crowded with people you don’t know. But wander on in and see if you can find a few kind folks to help you get started.
*If Shakespeare could make up words, so can I.