Better Late than Never to the (twitter) game....
I have long understood the need for a personal learning network and have considered myself an early adopter of various tech over the years: early e-mailer, bookmarker (delicious, RIP), blogger, website-creator, YouTuber, and RSS-er (Bloglines, RIP).
Two years ago I created a netvibes page, thanks to international school librarians Katie Day, Beth Gourley, and Leanne Windsor who inspired me to get my digital professional life in order.
But twitter? Its charms eluded me for years. I signed up for an account right away, but it lay dormant because I didn't want another way to connect with friends; I had that with Facebook. It wasn't until I began to hear about its power for professional development (via my favorite library bloggers) that I decided to give twitter a real shot.
Over winter break, I dipped my toes in, following trusted bloggers first, then hearing through their tweets about others to follow, and studying the twitter grapevine to see how the connections happen. It took hours at first - highly enjoyable hours because I was clicking left and right on articles and links that I could use right away!
I learned about the hashtag (#) system which organizes bits of information according to topic. It's an organic system created by users as needed, and it allows me to focus on just one or two topics at a time. @Cybraryman1 has a great list of hashtags about education, but there are lots of fun ones out there. (search your fave movie star, TV show, or see what's "trending" such as ones like #grrr).
I generally stick to these:
#tlchat (teacher-librarian chat)
#bookaday (meant to inspire to me post about a book daily...)
There are also hashtags for specific events. For example, it was fun to follow a conference my husband was attending (#elmle2011) and hear fresh comments about the workshops and keynotes.
...and staying in.
Once school started up again, I needed to find ways to continue enjoying the network while still doing my job! Between computer eyestrain and a very busy library all day long, I was worried I would not be able to keep up. Luckily, right around that time I read a blog post about viewing twitter as a stream of information to dip in and out of rather than as a pool to soak in all the time. This idea helps me set aside a bit of time each day to hear the news and then stop when that time is up.
Thanks go to...
Several people gave me great feedback, followed me, and re-tweeted my tweets. This is the highest compliment one can get on twitter. It begins a kind of professional love that grows, and it makes me want to give back to the community. I want to share useful links, write though-provoking articles, and establish programs that inspire others. These lofty goals will take time, but I feel the support of my small group of followers and plan to stay with it long enough to make a difference.
Thank you for getting me started...
@librarianne @beahgo @librarianedge @mrschureads @keishawilliams @mtechman @leighannjones @classicsixbooks
(If you are a librarian, all of these wonderful people are MUST follows!)