Written on: 1/10/17
Happy New Year!!
Today I had the opportunity to “share my story” with an awesome group of educators involved in one of our counties technology initiatives, Project Innovate. #hcps1tp1 #innov8 Our topic was how to use Twitter in the professional education world. I was honored to speak on this because I wouldn’t have been there today without Twitter.
During the summer of 2016, I decided to open a professional Twitter- just for myself to grow professionally and network. I did not realize how many exciting things were happening within my county until I began following just a few people- some I knew, many I did not. I was quite confused by the projects and tools they referred to, so I DM many people and asked questions. Most responded joyfully, willing to explain and share their excitement. As I continued to network and follow more people and became more involved, I then became an official hashtag user. Prior to Twitter, I did not understand the power of the hashtag.
For those who are also new to hash tagging (probably 30 years of age or older- like myself) using a hashtag is a way of grouping, or categorizing, stories and Tweets. This creates an online file, of sorts, which holds information that have been tagged used the same hashtag. You can also use a hashtag when searching. If I am interested in #educationaltechnology, I simply use the hashtag and information that has been sorted using this hashtag will populate.
The biggest message from me to educators about Twitter is to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to follow someone- you can always unfollow them. Don’t be afraid to retweet or like a post- you can always unretweet or unlike it. Don’t be afraid to Direct Message someone- the worst that happens is no response.
Collaborating about this Project Innovate session with a fellow educator made me realize some good points that I had not directly considered about my Twitter page. What do I want the world to know me as, professionally? She mentioned that you should think of three words to describe your professional self and allow that to motivate your Tweets, retweets, likes, and people you follow. I allowed myself to reflect and I believe my words are; diverse, motivating, and informative. What are the words to describe yourself?
This leads to “branding” your Twitter page for your classroom, or school. You should allow your account to be public (with permission to share students photos or names) because this is where you are sharing the amazing things going on within your classroom, or school, to the rest of the world! So again, what words do you want to describe your classroom or school account?
Twitter is such an amazing tool to connect, reflect, and collaborate with other professionals globally, so step out of your box, brand yourself, and don’t be afraid!