As I begin to use Twitter more, I notice that people use this social network for different purposes. Some people use it to announce what’s happening in their personal or professional lives, some people use it to converse about topics that matter to them (and hopefully learn more as a result), and some people use it for both. I follow people on Twitter that fit into all three categories, and I’ve never really thought much of the differences. Last weekend though, things changed.
I was riding home from a workshop with a group of educators, and we were talking about Twitter. One of the people in the car spoke about how others use this social network, and she spoke about those that use it as an announcement board. Here are the questions that arose: Is this really the purpose of Twitter? Is this really what people want to read about? These questions inspired me to reflect upon the purpose of this tool.
This week, I’ve really been focusing on my use of Twitter. I tweet a lot. During the school day, I love to use Twitter to share what students are doing in class and what they’re learning. I have many parents that follow my tweets, and they appreciate seeing their child’s work and having a window into our classroom. While the tweets are more of the “announcement” kind, they allow the parents to converse with their children later about their day. Sometimes they even generate some replies online. Then I converse a lot with other educators, administrators, and parents on different education-related topics. I share ideas, listen to their ideas, and often reply. I also use Twitter to tweet out the links to my blog posts. Yes, I announce what I’m writing, but I also hope that these posts will generate questions and comments on the blog itself as well as on Twitter. Reflecting then, I can’t help but wonder if when “announcing” using a social media tool, there is always a “conversing” component to what’s shared.
How do you use social networks to “announce” and/or “converse?” Why do you make the choices that you do?
Aviva Dunsiger taught Junior Kindergarten to Grade 2 for 11 years before moving to Grade 6 this year. She’s passionate about using technology in the classroom to support student learning, and she’s presented on this topic numerous times both online and offline.
She enjoys maintaining her blog, Living Avivaloca: My Many Musings on Life and Learning. Aviva’s reflective writing about her professional practice inspires communication between educators, administrators and parents.