Tweeting Like a Twit

27 Jun

I think that when most people do something for the first time, they feel a little foolish, slightly hesitant, definitely self-conscious. I certainly felt all those things on Tuesday when I participated in my first Twitter book discussion, Teach Like  A Pirate, hosted by Faith Howell. Tweeting is daunting for an English teacher who recoils at abbreviations and leaving out punctuation because of the character limit.  Trying to be concise and still cogent and interesting, was a challenge.  When it was over, Faith tweeted a reminder to me to use hashtags – that’s the pound symbol, for those of you who don’t Tweet, or the little Tic Tac Toe for those of you who are still using a rotary phone ; ) – The hashtags are supposed to ensure that my comments stay linked to the conversation and not just out in Twitter land where Tweets float.  What I learned is that the hashtags will help (yes, help and not guarantee) that your comments get grouped with the right topic, but in order to make sure you see the entire discussion, you need to be following the all other participants. It was not until Faith listed the participants and I clicked to follow them did their comments show up in my feed.

While I love the book, and think Dave Burgess is contagious, I found the experience of trying to have a discussion in Twitter less than satisfying.  I had the feeling a few people were in the same room with the host and they were having the pleasure of talking in person. As an extrovert, I prefer to be in person.  Then it was confirmed that because I had failed to use the hashtag a couple of times, some of my comments were not seen until the discussion was over, I felt a little embarrassed.  In retrospect, that might explain why I felt like I was on the periphery of what was happening.  I am very glad that I had the experience and finally broke into Tweeting.  It has helped me form my opinion: just because you can have a discussion in Twitter, doesn’t mean you should.  I think a group skype call, or a threaded discussion within a blog would be easier to access and follow. That being said, since TLAP is inspirational, and we teachers need as much inspiration as we can muster, I think we should Tweet about our revelations when they hit us and also try to have a support group that meets for 5 minutes at either the beginning or end of each day to remind ourselves that we do have kindred spirits close by – we are all teachers because we love our profession and figuring out how to do it  a little bit better each day makes it all the more fun.

2 Responses to “Tweeting Like a Twit”

  1. Howellywood June 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    What did you use to facilitate your Twitter chat? I use Tweet Deck and the first time I ever did a chat I used Twitterfall. If you use these 3rd party sites attached to your Twitter you can see posts from anyone on the planet using the hashtag and it’s all neatly organized in columns on Tweet Deck! 🙂 I’m glad you participated! Face to face is always better among colleagues, but you can’t beat the cross country PLNs. We discussed have a TLAP club to meet with and share our PIRATEy ideas 🙂

    • Allison Mahaley June 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Thanks, Faith. I was just using Twitter on my laptop so the @ signs were aggregating the discussion for me; however since I searched on TLAP, I had the old comments of lots of other people come up, and none of the new ones until I subscribed to follow the others who participated. I have Tweetdeck installed on my phone, but have never really used it. Again, as a novice, I didn’t really know these things. I started to call you, but thought I could figure it out – which I sort of did! Thanks again for doing the chat/book club. Great idea!

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