Friday, October 23, 2009

Are you using Twitter yet? Why not?

I'll be the first to admit that I was a little skeptical about using Twitter. What's it going to do for me? Who cares about what I have to say? Why do I care about what people are doing? At first glance, it does seem like Twitter is just one more way for people to "lifecast" (broadcast their life). However, throughout the last few months I've learned that Twitter is so much more than just a way to talk about yourself--it's a way to build your own PLN (Personal Learning Network).

What is it?

Twitter is a free online service that lets you broadcast (very) short messages to your "followers". Sometimes, it's promoted as a microblogging platform (regular blog = long, descriptive; microblog = short and sweet). It also lets you "follow" people so that you can see their updates.

Anything else I should know?

  • Twitter updates are limited to 140 characters, so you don't have room to say a lot. That's actually one of the greatest features of Twitter. It's easy to glance through your "updates" to get a snapshot of what's going on. You can usually click on links within the updates to learn more about the topics. It's kind of like perusing the newspaper--you can look at the headlines and 0nly read the stories you're interested in.
  • Once you have an account, you'll have your own Twitter username (e.g. @cclancy) and your own Twitter page (e.g.
  • You can have Twitter updates sent to your cell phone. Login to Twitter and click "settings" to set it up.
  • I think that Twitter is all about who you follow: the better your network, the better your updates, the better it will work for you. Your best bet is to find someone worth following, and then look at his or her list of followers.

How can Twitter help me in school?

Twitter has been an amazing tool to help build my PLN. Your current learning network might be limited to your grade level or department. Need a new idea? Ask the Twitterverse for help! Or, search for keywords, like "socialstudies" or "geometry" at

You can also use Twitter to follow world they are happening. Search for keywords like "H1N1", "balloonboy", or "northwest" and you'll see realtime updates from people around the world as they tweet about Swine Flu, Balloon Boy, or the status of the crew from the Northwest flight that extended their trip...

How can I get started?

  1. Go to
  2. Register for a free Twitter account.
  3. Find people to follow using Twitter's search button.
  4. Start tweeting!

Twitterers you might want to follow

(Click on their name to go to their page. click "follow" underneath their name to follow them):

Still want more? Check out my Twitter links or this Twitter Help for Educators!

Good Luck!


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