Finally “Getting” Twitter

Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. LinkedIn. Vimeo. Scribd. The number of social media tools continues to grow, and if you’re not using at least one, you’re in the minority. I certainly can’t say I’ve tried an outstanding number of social media tools, but I have joined the most popular, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. A couple of years into it, I can honestly say I’m a bit surprised at one tool I’m finding most useful: Twitter.

I believe I joined Twitter just because of its popularity and I wanted to see if it were worth all the attention it was getting. When I first joined in March 2009, I really didn’t “get” Twitter. In fact, my seventh post read “Thinking Twitter is pretty stupid. …” The tweets I was seeing from others appeared so egoistic, and my inner reaction to them was “Who cares?” I felt no real attachment to the tool, so my own tweets weren’t much other than replies to others on a quite casual level.

As time has gone by, however, I have realized how useful Twitter can be in learning and helping others learn. I have found tweeters who had interesting, educational things to say about all things e-learning related, so I began following them. They offer not just advice but also links to online resources that are amazing and that are helping me grow. The tweets offer times of great spontaneity, such as the day I saw that a Webinar was set to begin in just a few minutes on a subject I was interested in—I immediately registered and attended a free session I would not have known about otherwise. I attempt to make myself valuable on Twitter by tweeting or retweeting messages I think are significant for those following me, and I feel a great compliment in being retweeted myself. I have entered contests via Twitter and won a great e-learning program in the process. Overall, Twitter is proving tremendously helpful as I learn more and more about e-learning and instructional technology.

In summary, I can’t say all the social media tools are as great as they’re touted to be, but Twitter is suddenly proving itself for me as a useful, innovative part of my e-learning toolkit.

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