It started with this tweet:
Alec where are you?
— George Couros (@gcouros) December 25, 2008
That was my first tweet ever, using a medium that I had heard about but never really understood. No Twitter handle, no hashtag, and actually thinking that my brother Alec would be the only “Alec” that I would possibly get an answer from.
Now that many (if not all) people are able to download and learn from their Twitter archive, I took the opportunity to look at some of my progression through Twitter, and to actually go back and revisit some of the things that I shared, and how I shared.
The first month that I looked at, was September 2010, the month that I lost my best friend Kobe. I saw people rallying around me, caring for me, and checking in. What was hardest to look back on was how I had the false hope that it might be just a routine visit to the vet that day:
@courosa he did not want to go in so that is a good sign. Just have to wait for the vet now.
— George Couros (@gcouros) September 8, 2010
With family so far away, I reached out to strangers a lot that month. 1,612 times to be exact. At a time when I wanted both to be close and far from people, Twitter and all of the people that I had connected to were seemingly comfort.
I also look at what I have learned, what never panned out (I got that invite to Google Wave, but I never understood how to use it), and some people I got to help (I actually made sure Jesse McLean changed his handle to something more user friendly).
A few things…
First of all, it is pretty amazing to have these little snapshots of my life saved in this archive. To be able to go through my tweets and look at how I was when I struggled, excelled, or was somewhere in the middle, is pretty remarkable. I actually found myself laughing and crying going through my own tweets, just in aww of how I have grown in the last few years.
Secondly, I am quickly reminded of how we all start somewhere. Over 52,000 tweets later, I am pretty comfortable with the medium and treat tweeting almost like I would texting. I don’t sit and contemplate what I am going to put out there anymore; tweeting has become second nature to me. But it isn’t for everyone and we have to recognize that if we really want people to see value in this medium, you have to get them to care about it in the first place, and then work with them to help them to understand how they can use this it.
Finally, I learned that I not only have a voice, but that I have a voice that can matter. I often talk about how we all live in a world where we all have a voice, but I do believe that we also live in a world where everyone’s voice can make a difference and Twitter is one of those places where our voice can be heard. Maybe by 10 people, and maybe by a 1000, but it can be heard. Through my tweets, I saw my confidence and learning grow, while also learning to connect with some amazing minds. That experience made my voice grow stronger, when I once believed that nothing I said in that space would ever really matter.
As educators, we have to learn and understand that our voice does matter, not only for ourselves, but so that we can properly relay that notion to our students. If we can teach them how their voice matters from our experiences, can you imagine how powerful their voices might be?