It seems like I keep hearing about Twitter in the mainstream media all the time of late. Celebrities are using Twitter, radio personalities like Dave Hughes here in Australia are talking about it and journalists like Mia Freedman are joining and writing about their experiences. My friends, who have been perplexed by my use of Twitter over the last year, are now interested and fill others in about what it’s used for, based on the ear bashing they’ve been exposed to from me!
I’ve seen my followers grow considerably since December last year. Quite a number of them came to me from a post written by Richard Byrne (from Maine in the USA), recommending people to follow on Twitter. But what I’ve also noticed is the amount of people following me who are using Twitter for their financial gain. I can understand this. I use it as a means of connecting to like minded educators whose ideas and recommendations lead me to new learning, but I’ve no doubt there’s money to be made by promoting a service to others and publicising what you can do.
Today, my list of new followers appeared in my email with a couple of surprises. My cousin’s wife has started following me; they are using Twitter to promote a business they run. But the really interesting one was a new follower who I suspected might be a student from my school. When I checked out her profile I discovered I was right. She was in the audience last Friday when we skyped in Mark Lukach from San Francisco who talked to our students about Daraja Academy, a free girl’s school in Kenya that opened its doors last week. We are thinking about trying to support Daraja Academy in some way and the focus group for this is our Year 9 group of students. Her first tweet said, ‘I am researching the Daraja academy’. The second tweet was;
I was apart of the year nine students you talked to the other day via skype on wekbcam at TC. i want to be more involved. how can i be?
and her third looked like this;
I just love the evolution in her thought processes that you can see from these three tweets. First she’s researching, then she tries to make contact but hasn’t directed her message to anyone in particular. By the third tweet she’s discovered Mark Lukach is on Twitter and has realised you need to put the @ symbol at the front of his Twitter name in order for the message to reach him. Fantastic stuff, and amazingly proactive. Can’t wait to catch up with her at school tomorrow to see what she wants to do because I suspect she could be a powerhouse to get support for Daraja going.
I wonder how other professionals are using Twitter. I’m sure it’s very similar to the way educators (particularly those interested in Educational Technology and how it’s utilised in school systems) have adopted it. It’s a means of disseminating information quickly and forming reciprocal connections that prove beneficial. It’s certainly much more than the trifling treatment it received in the article by Mia Freedman, ‘Tweet Tweet nothings’ that appeared in last weekend’s ‘The Age’ here in Melbourne. I think you can see that in the above example. It’s not all mindless drivel; it can be an incredibly powerful means of communication, and all in 140 characters at a time.
By the way, I’m jennyluca on Twitter if you’re not there yet and wanted to find someone to follow!