Anyone I’ve talked to about Twitter as a source for personal learning, didn’t quite get it when they first got started. Neither did I! I set up an account and followed a couple of people that I was told to follow. Each week, I diligently checked my Twitter account to see what they posted. After a while, I caught on to the idea that one person led to another. Before long, I was following a couple of hundred people and had an account for the district PD and one for my school. Now, a few years later, I check Twitter several times a day and post frequently.
As happens in summer, I slowed down a bit and noticed that people were participating in what I came to learn are “Twitter Chats.” As most addicts do, I started with one and that led to many more. I’m trying to limit myself to a few a week. I learned that it’s helpful to follow all the regulars on the chat as we share a common interest. I set up Tweet Deck as it is a platform that simplifies viewing the activity under the hashtag (i.e.#sblchat). I can read what’s being posted throughout the session and respond to questions posted by a moderator, or I can just read and learn.
Here’s some tips to get started after you’ve found a chat you’d like to participate.
1. Follow the moderator. Search by the # and find the person who sent out the questions. He/she may have a co-host. One of them will send out reminders under the hashtag on the day of the chat with the topic.
2. Looking at the previous chat, follow people who have interesting responses or posts.
3. At the start of the chat, be prepared to introduce yourself so that the moderators know who’s participating.
4. Reply to posts that you want to comment on.
5. The moderator will number the questions. (i.e. Q3). If you are responding to one of the questions, you’ll write “A3.” This will help keep questions and answers organized.
6. If you particularly like what someone posts, favorite their Tweet so that you can view it again in your “favorites.”
Here is a screencast showing you how to get set up to participate in a Twitter Chat. I hope that you’re able to find a chat that really stretches your thinking and helps connect you to other educators. That’s what it’s all about!