The Power of Twitter

If you don’t believe in the power that Twitter has, hopefully this story will change your mind.

Wanting to show my staff the effectiveness and power of connections through social networks, I decided to place a bet.  The bet was that if I sent out a form over document, the educators in the Twitter community would step up and prove to me that they would help, showing my own staff the power of this social network.  Little did I know that it would go beyond my wildest dreams.

I woke up at 4am before a staff meeting with an idea.  I had done the Twitter “shoutout” before, where I would say hi to my Twitter followers and they would tell me where they were from.  I had thought maybe I would try something a little more and increase the stakes.  If I sent out a short Google Form survey, hopefully a few people from different areas would fill it out.  This way I could show staff how easy it is to connect to a few people that are educators and spread their idea.

Because I know the power Twitter has, I tried to “hide” the form and test it in the morning with someone who I knew was up so early in the morning.  It started with this Tweet:

@SusanneGunning I actually just created a short survey that I am going to send out to the “twitterverse” during staff mtg to show pwr of pln.

This was followed by:

@SusanneGunning Want to be the first to fill it out? 🙂

She had filled it out and I knew that it worked.  Now it was time to wait.

At about 10:40 AM, MST, I sent out a Tweet to the world that stated the following:

@gcouros PLEASE HELP! Having a meeting with staff and want to show power of network. Please fill in form: Please RT!

My bet was that I could turn on the spreadsheet and names would be filled in. I specifically put in the question, “Have you ever met George in person? (@gcouros)”, to show that people I had never met were more than willing to help me. I was amazed by the response. Immediately people started filling out the form from all over the world and sending out the message to others.

Rachelle Lamoureux lamoureuxr RT @gcouros: PLEASE HELP! Having a meeting w/ staff & wnt 2 show power of network. Please fill in form: <done!

Patrick Larkin @bhsprincipal RT @lamoureuxr: RT @gcouros: PLEASE HELP! Having a meeting w/ staff & wnt 2 show power of network. Please fill in form:

I really enjoyed the following Tweet that showed people will help no matter who it is for.

Sean Heuchert @sheuchert 136 people respond to twitter query/experiment by @gcouros launched 2 hours ago 133/136 have no idea who @gcouros is.

My brother, Dr. Alec Couros encouraged me to share the information:

 Alec Couros courosa @gcouros share the spreadsheet with us.

Others went a different step ahead:

Kara Cornejo karacornejo @gcouros I will send you a link for a voice thread that was put together to show teachers the power of twitter. Maybe you could use it

Then my brother wanted to show the visual in a different form through this map.

The results were amazing and I shared with anyone who was interested in seeing the information.

In the end, I knew my bet would pay off and that my professional network on Twitter would come through.  I had no idea on just how BIG they would do that, but I know that a lot of my staff are sold on the power of Twitter.  As I write this post, over 161 people had taken the time to fill out the form, and counting.  They ranged from teachers to professors, parents to principals, librarians to consultants.  The response was overwhelming and so helpful.

If you are not sold, read the survey as people shared how Twitter is beneficial to them.  My advice to you is to get on Twitter, start sharing your knowledge, build your network, and have patience in connecting.  You will quickly start to build your own network of people that will do amazing things for you and help you out in so many ways.  I have learned so much from my network, and just hope sometimes that I am of the same value to them.

It always amazes me how there are so many kind and passionate educators are willing to help their colleagues around the world, but from now on, it will never surprise me.


  1. I absolutely LOVE your blog post, and I'm going to share it with the fellow teachers at my school too. We have been doing a lot at the school to incorporate more technology into the classroom, and I actually just ran an inservice for interested teachers on how to use Twitter in the classroom. I spoke about the benefit of connecting with other educators from around the world, but nothing says more about the power of this PLN, than your blog post! I hope that your blog post will give a new perspective to what I was sharing too. I completely agree with you. In fact, I have said many times this year, and will say many times again, Twitter is quite possibly the best PD ever!

    Grade 1 Teacher
    Ancaster, Ontario

    • Anything that I can do to connect other educators to this wonderful network, I am glad to do. I have said the EXACT same thing as you that it is the best PD. I have learned so much in my short time using Twitter and I am glad that I was coaxed into it.

  2. It was exciting being a part of this great initiative. I am inspired to share with my colleagues to encourage them to connect and collaborate using Twitter. And learners will benefit.
    Nice blog to summarize the whole experience. It will surely continue to ripple out and create a richer network.

    • I really appreciate it Susanne. Luckily that when I woke up SOOOOOO early this morning that you were there to help me out. I am glad you were the first 🙂

      • Yeah! it's funny cos last night I had a few conversations on Twitter and it has taken some time to get to that point! I was reflecting how the 'Twitter' experience has been a bit like learning a language. It seems I have needed to listen a lot before joining the conversation.

  3. @SimeKinniburgh

    I have known George for 20 years and I'm from Australia. Where's my prize George? 😉
    Enjoy reading your material Principal Couros. Keep up the good work.

  4. Royan Lee

    This blogpost is so inspiring, speaking to the raisin d'etre of why many of us educators are on Twitter.

  5. Dave Bircher

    Good post. As I try to grow my network, I am finding how people are ready to help when they can. Twitter is great as a PD tool for teachers. I try to sell it as the internet and PD come to you, rather than you go looking for it all the time.


  6. Wow! This post speaks volumes and I am thinking of the impact it will have as many of us show it to our peers and leaders. And now you are going to share it with parents as well..brilliant! It's awesome to see how inspiration spreads..thanks George 🙂

    • Hopefully I will inspire others to see the power we have as a community to further education. I just love the map that Alec made to show how widespread the community is as well. Also, for me, not only great learning but great engagement. So fun!

  7. Colin Harris

    This comes along at just the right time. It's blog posts like this that help leverage staff and administrators to make use of the tools available today.

  8. George,
    Great post. I am actually doing a workshop Social Media for the staff at my school and would love to use something like this during the presentation. I also noticed that @karacornejo mentioned a voice thread that might be interesting but did not see the tweet where she may have posted it. Of course I immediately started following her but if you can post or forward I'd appreciate it. Great read and great job.

  9. we can call this exercise 'doing the @gcouros' for future reference.

    think i'm going to do an @gcouros when i turn my colleagues to twitter…

  10. Check out our Early Learning Twitter Feed at @HatchEarlyChild for all updates about our company, about the use of technology in early learning, and much more.

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