Tweet tweet

I recently read Eric Stoller’s Inside Higher Ed article on why it would be useful for those working in the higher education space to ‘get’ Twitter.  I couldn’t agree more!

Eric shared his recent experience of sitting a table with other education professionals:

While they had not ever used Twitter, they were certain that it wasn’t for them. It was a fascinating professional opinion. Resistance to even learning how a particular social media worked coupled with a strong opinion about it’s lack of value. Folks, attitude is everything. It’s a choice to exist in a space of lifelong learning.

I really like the idea that we have a choice to exist in a space of lifelong learning.  Heck, isn’t that the purpose of education and why we choose to grow our skills and knowledge?

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I too have also encountered colleagues who are resistant to the idea of Twitter, deeming it as something that ‘young people do’ or that they simply don’t have time for it.  This is even before they try and understand its capabilities.

I accept and understand that we cannot possibly use every social media platform out in cyberspace.  There are simply too many to fathom.  However, with Twitter still being used by a significant portion of the global population, it does warrant some form of understanding.

I have used Twitter off-and-on over the years, but started using it more frequently since last year.  Yes, it is very overwhelming for those unfamiliar with it.  Those 140-character messages come through thick and fast and it’s easy to get lost in the relentless flock of tweets.

Based on my experiences, here are reasons why Twitter is useful in my work and personal life:

I can interact with key speakers/presenters.  I attend numerous industry events over the course of a year, and the majority of speakers have a Twitter account.  At the session I can send them a message and comment about their topic.  Example:  At the Future of Work Conference earlier this year, I tweeted my support Ruth McDavitt from Summer of Tech, and afterwards was able to chat to her in person due to the recognition of my tweet!  #goodfornetworking

I can follow hash-tags.  This is a great way to pick-up on themes and follow discussions in and around them.  At an event, it is usual to have a pre-organised hash-tag for followers to use.   Example:  I attended the ANZSSA Conference in Hobart last year and the designated hash-tag was #anzssa2015.  By following the hash-tag, I read any updates from people who used in their messages.  It was basically a live commentary of conference insights.  #keepintheloop

I can draw awareness to my work.  From a brand-awareness perspective, I can use Twitter to promote my blog and other work I’ve been focussing on.  This is usually through sharing a link.  Example:  In a previous blog I shared insights into the importance of self-care.  This was retweeted and shared by colleagues.  #buildyourbrand

It’s great for showing your support for others.  Depending on who you follow (I tend to follow colleagues in my industry, those who champion social and humanitarian causes, and people in the creative industries), who can show support by ‘liking’, ‘re-tweeting’ their messages.  Example:  I ‘like’ and reply to any followers who have accomplished something inspiring.  #socialmediaforgood

I can follow sports-updates.  I am a cricket buff from way back.  This is the perfect way for me to get updates of matches in all it’s statistical glory! #sportsontherun

Looking in, Twitter is not the easiest of social media platforms to understand but it’s quite easy to use one you get into it.  For me personally, it’s less about meaningful connections (I still use Facebook for that) but it’s another way I can connect with other people, organisations and events.

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