1. George, you are inspiring. Your post resonated with me. I often write at night to my spouse dismay. It’s quiet and I want to promptly capture the moment.
    I am in the middle of writing some articles. I hope you are willing to read, share feedback, and help with my message on the role of instructional leaders in building teacher capacity.

  2. Katie

    It’s so funny that you wrote this post. As I was preparing to talk about the power of Twitter to a group of school leaders the other day I thought about my early days using it. I was the perfect example of the “stages.” Mark Carl’s, You, Alec, Dean, Gerald, Sheryl, and Shannon Miller and a few others were such an inspiration and the first people I followed. For me you were the pioneers, the brave ones willing to share your ideas and stories. For that I will be forever grateful. I do believe Twitter has changed, for the better. From that small group I followed in 2008 has grown a network of some of the most amazing educators.

  3. I keep reminding myself that there are good and bad features of everything. And, even more importantly, EVERYTHING that I find MUST be limited to input to my Considerations leading to my understanding, vision development, regular self-assessment, and engagement with the situation at hand. In other words, I do not believe there is ANY material (of SIGNIFICANCE) that is totally the correct approach to one of my situations without reflection / refinement. Sooooo, …. any information – Twitter, social media, … – needs my consideration. I value the broadening of material and feedback that comes my way.

    I have seen a change in Twitter for me however. I am one of the lucky (I believe, but still under Consideration) ones you mention that have gone from 10 followers to approaching 1000 followers. Result: There is no way I can take the time to even skim all the resulting tweets –> options needed. So far: (1) Chats more important; (2) get to know my PLN for likely best input / best ‘topic’ input for me; (3) save more tweets to my email folders on topics of greatest (current) interest; and (4) do Twitter searches, usually for followers but sometimes topics. Still under Consideration.

    Bottom line: I on balance don’t think Twitter has changed – only my increasing value for it and the changes that I’m making to optimize the input.

    Great post as usual…

  4. Hey Buddy,

    First, hope you are well and happy — and like you, I’m thankful for Twitter. Without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across The Canadian Triumvirate (Dean, George and Alec) who have probably done more to shape my thinking than most anyone I know.


    My concern with all social spaces is that it seems like the cultural norm has become “we share here” rather than “we think here” or “we reflect here” or “we challenge here” or “we play here.”

    The truth is that the vast majority of interactions that I stumble across — whether it is on blogs or in spaces like Twitter — are examples of sharing instead of thinking or challenging or reflecting or playing.

    And that’s not “bad.” Easy sharing is one of the most beautiful things about technology. I am a better teacher because I am able to access ideas and/or resources that I may never have been able to access before.

    But I miss the time when social spaces were about more than just sharing — and a part of me wonders if we’re missing out the real power in social spaces by sticking to simple behaviors. It’s that whole “cognitive surplus” argument: Maybe sharing is the intellectual equivalent of “lolcats” for educators.

    Any of this make sense?

    • George

      Makes total sense, but think of our connections that we have created between you and I. Do we miss that maybe we don’t use that space as much to do that and those ideas have moved elsewhere, or that we aren’t doing it with new people?

  5. While I agree with much here I do think that you have to look at how twitter, the company has changed the platform as well as how users have evolved. In the days before hashtags, there was less of an effort to be seen by others. The connections you made were much more personal. Twitter also made it difficult to see who your followers were connected to by hiding mentions from others. At the same time, people’s focus on gaining followers and gaming the system has ruined much of the organic, democratic nature of the space. It reminds me of the difference between gathering at the rink with your buddies to play hockey without adults, but just for the fun. Now the adults have shown up with rules and regulations. Of course, that’s not all bad but different. Yet, I argue something has been lost.

    • George

      But isn’t that what we talk about all of the time? With everything new, something is lost. All of the stuff you talk about in your presentations kind of go back to this point. Are we worse off though?

      • Trade offs are inevitable with change. I’m not sure accepting them blindly is the right response nor is fighting them at every turn. But in the same way we choose to focus on the positives, we should work to preserve traditions and aspects of the past that we think are in the best interests of others. I agree, some of this is about perspective, but I do think some change is worse than others. I think Twitter is better when: people are less interested in gaining followers and social is emphasized more. Only my opinion.

  6. Jen

    I’m so thankful that you convinced me (and a hundred other teachers) to get on Twitter a few years ago at a conference at Leyden High School. I was pregnant with my second baby and I thought “Um, I don’t know if I’m ready to learn another SM platform”. It took me about a year to truly “get it” and start to use Twitter to it’s potential. Now, I LOVE it! It’s continuous PD at my fingertips. Sure, I have to learn when to ignore the petty ego battles from some of the TwitterTeachers but overall, it’s amazing. As long as people are smart and figure out how to wade through some of the literal twitter from folks, it’s the greatest PD a teacher can get.

  7. Sheila Hill

    I can totally relate to the different stages that a twitter user goes through. I have been actively using this SM for about 6 months, although I opened an account several years ago. As an educator I am realizing the power of Twitter. I have learned so many things and connected with many great people. In my opinion, any new SM or technology can be utilized in so many different ways that it must evolve. As we learn, experience, and interact more so must the tools.

  8. Brian Mull

    According to your first graphic, I guess I’d be in the “a part of life” phase, but the way I use it in that part of life is evolving. About two weeks ago, I deleted about 75% of the people I follow. Nothing against those individuals or their ideas, but there was just too much noise for me—too many voices. I was finding that the cream was rising to the top, but at the same time was getting buried. I’m thinking more about making the following of refined lists and particular hashtags more of a focus. I haven’t started that process yet. That will take more time and more focus. I’m also planning on trying to be a bit more diverse in the types of people/information I follow. The vast majority of what I follow is education based. I guess it should be because that is what I do, but I need to broaden myself a bit.

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