I first heard about Twitter at an event in Tipperary Institute a few years ago, I think it might have been the ICT in Education conference (@ictedu). I work with Bernie Goldbach (@topgold) and he told us all about this new site where you could share what you were doing with the world. To be honest I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by this proclamation (sorry Bernie!) and promptly forgot about Twitter. My own Twitter journey began back in February 2010. I attended my first CESI Meet in Portlaoise, where it seemed everyone was tweeting. On my drive home from Portlaoise that night, I decided to sign up for Twitter to see what all the hype was about. So when I got home at 11.30 pm, I created my Twitter account and started following people. To say that my husband thought I had finally lost my marbles is probably the understatement of the century 🙂
My initial interaction with Twitter was tentative to say the least. For me, figuring out who to follow was probably the most difficult part. I was also very conscious of what I was tweeting, so erred on the side of caution at the start. My initial tweets were sent to commend the CESI team on a great CESI Meet and conference on the following day. After that initial foray into Twitterland I didn’t really think about Twitter much. My next interaction came as I was organising the 2010 ICT in Education conference (@ictedu) in Tipperary Institute with John Jennings (@seoinin). John had embraced Twitter and so I decided to try again. I connected with some people who were either presenting at the conference or attending. Again, my interactions were tentative at best, and again Twitter was forgotten about for a while.
You might be forgiven for questioning my title for this post at this stage. After all it is titled “Why I love Twitter”, but all I’ve done so far is tell you of my non interaction with it. What changed for me was the CESI conference in 2011. Again I went to Portlaoise, and again lots of people were tweeting. At this stage I didn’t have a smartphone or an iPad, so for me Twitter was something I checked in with sporadically on my laptop. At the conference, I got the chance to work with the iPad and, as I’ve mentioned previously, the love affair began. I was lucky enough to be able to get the use of an iPad through work, and suddenly Twitter seemed so much more accessible. I began to follow more people, who gave me an insight into the possibilities that exist in lots of different areas.
I used Twitter extensively in the run up to the ICT in Education conference in 2011. I think that the conference this year was probably our best yet and I firmly believe that this was due in no small part to the power of Twitter. I connected with so many people, who both presented at or attended the conference. Twitter also helped us to spread the word about the conference.
Initially, the people I followed were mainly from Ireland. Twitter gave me the opportunity to chat with people across primary, secondary and third level here in Ireland. I got involved in the #edchatie conversations on a Monday night, which have been organised by Fred Boss (@fboss) since March 2011. This is an opportunity for people to discuss matters relating to Education in Ireland. Getting involved in these conversations gave me more people to follow and really made me think about how I do what I do. Summaries of the #edchatie conversations can be found at http://edchatie.pbworks.com/w/page/37159466/edchatIE-Summaries.
Through the #edchatie conversations I also connected with educators across the world. Through these connections I have become involved in the connected classrooms project #ccGlobal. This is an initiative started by Liam Dunphy (@liamdunphy) and Pam Moran (@pammoran) and its aim is to connect classrooms across the world. Further details of this great initiative can be found at http://connectedclassrooms.wordpress.com/.
So back to why I love Twitter:
1. I have connected with some amazing people who have pushed me to try new things. Before I began to use Twitter I had a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account, both of which I rarely used. I now have Google Plus, Edmodo, Ning, Delicious, Evernote accounts to name but a few. I’ve also started this blog and have started podcasting.
2. I have gotten involved in some great initiatives, like #edchatie and #ccGlobal
3. I have found lots people who are doing amazing things in their classrooms. Many of these people are willing to share these experiences with others at our ICT in Education conference. For this generosity I am truly grateful.
4. I have been able to virtually attend conferences that I can’t attend in person by following tweets from these conferences.
These are just some of the many reasons why Twitter has now become the first thing I check in the morning!
As always, any thoughts, ideas etc. gladly welcomed.