Twitter and PLNs

PLN Challenge #3 is all about using Twitter to build your PLN.  I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now, and it has been the focal point of my PLN.  I feel that Twitter is an excellent tool for finding resources and connecting with others.

Many people think that Twitter is a service for broadcasting the minutiae of your day, the classic example being an announcement of the contents of your lunch. I’ve found it to be much more than that, but it can take some time to find the right people to follow. As I mentioned in my first challenge post, Darren Rowse’s excellent TwiTip blog provides a list of the top educators to follow. The Edublog Awards provide another excellent source for discovering potential colleagues.

An objection I often hear is, “Where will I find the time for this?”, followed by “How will I keep up?” The beauty of Twitter is that it requires very little commitment to be useful. My basic Twitter routine goes like this:

  1. Open up the TweetDeck extension in Google Chrome.
  2. Scroll back until I reach a post that says it was posted 2 hours ago.
  3. Read from that point forward, clicking on interesting links as I go.

When I find something particularly moving or interesting, I retweet it so that anybody following me who may have missed it can take a look. I never read tweets that are more than an hour old. This eliminates the concern over catching up. Good stuff gets shared repeatedly, so if I’ve missed something, I trust that it will pop up again. Twitter is kind of like a party or a conference that happens all the time: when you’re there, it’s fun and enriching, but when you’re not, there’s no need to worry.

What is your Twitter routine? Do you have any limits like my 1-hour limit?

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh