140 characters x 8 ways = Tweeting for purpose

I don’t really care what you had for breakfast.

I don’t have anything to say

Why would anybody follow me?

It’s just a fad!

A while ago I attended a seminar about learning, along with about 100 or so other educators. My colleagues and I are keen tweeters and we decided to take notes using the same hash tag – #bpl, which was relevant to the conference topic. It was great when we discovered that another person in the room started using the same tag. We shared a few ideas amongst us and commented on the seminar, developing a brief sense of community along the way.

I was sharing this over lunch at the seminar and a principal who then wanted to ask me about Twitter, qualified the question with the statement, “I don’t want to sound rude, but… What is the point of Twitter, I just don’t get it?” To those of us who use Twitter and enjoy the connection it brings, this is a familiar question.

As @AnneKnock my very first tweet was Finding friends on Twitter… on 26 December, 2009, 741 Tweets ago. At that stage it was a great way to connect amongst family, friends and my church community – they were doing it, so I joined in. This was, and still is, fun.

Now, a little over a year later I’m a keen Twitterer with a dual personality, I still communicate through @AnneKnock as a personal and semi-professional account, especially when I want to present my opinion on something. However, my primary account is @scil, the professional Twitter voice of Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL) which is the innovation, research and development unit within Northern Beaches Christian School

It’s important for me to be clear about the ‘voice’ that each conveys. @AnneKnock is a person and @scil is an institution and what I tweet @scil represents a number of people and the overall mission and vision of SCIL.

I answered the principal at the seminar – I like to be involved in the Twitter community because I want to connect with like-minded and passionate educators, I benefit from sharing resources and experiences and I make new friends from around the world around a common interest/cause. To use Seth Godin’s words, we are gathering a Tribe.

There are a few ways that @scil connects with the Tribe. The tweets usually fall into one of these types:

  1. Celebrating triumphs and overcoming challenges
  2. Sharing photos, videos, weblinks, great ideas and resources
  3. Circulating other people’s great ideas – RT (retweeting)
  4. Highlighting trends and developments
  5. Promoting events and opportunities
  6. Introducing a new tribe member
  7. Commencing a discussion on a topic using a hash tag – like #scil
  8. Using a hash tag at a seminar or conference to compile notes and opinions on the topic  from a range of perspectives

Great idea: I found with short video The Twitter Experiment at UT Dallas. Engaging students in a very powerful way using Twitter in class. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WPVWDkF7U8

If you’re sceptical find a friend who uses Twitter and set up an account, search for people in your professional world and just follow. It would be great to hear your feedback, so make sure you follow @scil and in 140 characters, let me know what you think.

You might just catch the bug.

Next Post: I’m asking my colleagues to tell me why they Tweet and what the professional learning network means to them.

Find out more about SCIL

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