I have been playing around with Twitter a lot lately. Mostly, I have been using it to help develop my PLN, or Personal Learning Network. I’ve enjoyed delving into my professional interests in a new and different way. My experience has ranged from “Huh, what’s the point of this?” to “How will I ever process all this great, but overwhelming amount of information?” In an attempt to congeal my experience thus far into something more comprehensible for myself and my friends, here are the highlights:
Twitter Clients – I think that once you hit a certain threshold of people you follow, trying to make sense out of everything on Twitter is a bit like herding cats. This is where applications such as TweetDeck and Twirl come in. These are two different Twitter clients that you can download onto your computer and use to sort the furballs from the choice morsels. I am currently using TweetDeck, though either client seems to work fairly well. I have my incoming tweets sorted into several columns, making it easier to peruse though the information. This organization changes whenever I get whatever seems to be a more efficient idea. Here are some resources for TweetDeck:
- GeekBrief.TV – How to TweetDeck Like a Pro
- Blogging Art & Practice – How to Use TweetDeck
- Jesse Newhart – How to Effectively Follow 15,000+ People on Twitter Using these TweetDeck Tricks
HashTags – I am still playing around with the possibilities of this idea. Without throwing a lot of net jargon at you, hashtags (or #hashtags) are keywords included directly in your posts to make searching easier. I have seen this used mostly for conferences (#TED), synchronous events (#educhat), and keeping track of topics (#edreform).
Synchronous Events – This is when people use #hashtags to have a discussion on Twitter at a specified date and time. I participated in the 2nd #Educhat last night and I rather enjoyed it. Since the amount of tweets can be overwhelming, I tracked them using TweetGrid and its Twitter Party function. I will play with Monitter next time around (April 6th) to decide which I like better. Please feel free to check out #Educhat and consider joining the conversation.
Privacy Concerns – Since Twitter is a public venue, there are student privacy concerns. The easiest way to address this is to have your students make their Twitter accounts private using the settings. Another option is to use Edmodo instead of Twitter. Edmodo is an education version of Twitter which strives to protect student privacy. Also, remember that anything you type is a part of your digital footprint. This means it is public and searchable.
Overall, I am enjoying the resources and community I am finding on Twitter. I get good ideas and thoughts from people everyday.