Friday, 6 May 2011

On Twitter

Thanks to Steve Wheeler for the inspiration behind this blog post
Before the start of the year, I could not understand Twitter. I had never used it, and I never thought I would. Facebook held everything I thought I needed from social networking, surely Twitter is just 'Facebook lite' with it's 140 character limit, no? The perception I held was the perception that the media had presented to me. Celebrities caught up in a storm over a misconstrued tweet. Celebrities stroking their egos by collecting as many followers as possible. Celebrities filling the minds of the masses with useless trivia about their latest pair of designer shoes.

However, with a little encouragement about the benefits from some lecturers and coursemates, I signed up. I followed my friends at first, and people I knew in person. But that's not the point of Twitter. Not for me anymore at least. 

As I started to follow more people that had been suggested to me, I started to see the benefits that I could take from Twitter. Soon enough, I was following links from people high up in the profession. I was seeing these professionals converse about current events. I was seeing hundreds of teachers join in discussions about a particular teaching issue. As I got more involved, I started tweeting more, which gained me more followers, which encouraged me to share more and at that point it dawned on me... In a world of continual funding cuts, the network of educators on Twitter sharing their ideas and opinions grows. It's become my professional network to Facebook's social network.

My preconception of Twitter lead me to think that if I had Facebook then I didn't need Twitter, but as I've progressed through my course, I've come to realise that teachers have two lives. In one life, I am JC,  making the most of my free time, enjoying life to it's fullest and exchanging banter, amusing anecdotes and embarrassing photographs with friends. In my other life, I am Mr. Sheffield, a responsible adult charged with the education of a class of 30 little people, running projects for students and someone that upholds a medium of respect and grace at all times. These two lives are mutually exclusive. As such, one must keep them separate. Facebook has now become my 'Me' network. That is to say, it's my online escape from work, a chance to catch up with friends and have a good old gossip. Twitter is my online place of work almost. A place where I can find out what other teachers have been doing, find new resources, share my own opinions and generally gain some free CPD. I've been a member of Facebook for around 6 years now, and Twitter only 3 months. Twitter has now ousted Facebook in terms of daily usage.

I think that says something awful about my Work-Life Balance right now (the subject of last night's #ukedchat by the way), but to be honest, if I didn't think I was getting anything out of it then I wouldn't be using it. I've had a lot of hand in dates recently, and Twitter has made finding new sources of information and helpful quotes so much faster and easier, more often than not giving more direct and relevant information than trawling through books and journals.

I apologise, @timbuckteeth, for not being able to fit that reply into 140 characters. This reply will have to do I'm afraid...
And blog I did!


  1. Great! I shall use this in professional development program :-)

  2. Thanks! By all means do - Twitter, when used correctly, is a fantastic tool!