Saturday, May 30, 2009

Using Twitter and Finding People to Follow

People are always asking me why and how they should use Twitter. They've read about Twitter in the news and don't see anything worthwhile about learning what Brittany Spears or Oprah Winfrey are doing. To everyone I reply, "There is so much more."

Twitter helps grow your personal learning network. Personal learning networks are virtual spaces that employ aspects of social networking and blogging. They allow us to connect with others in our field and learn with and from them. They provide a safe and convenient place to ask questions whether we're in the information stage of gathering new ideas or in the implementation phase of new methods. Sue Waters does a nice job of detailing how to grow your PLN on her PLN Yourself Wiki.

Once you've created a Twitter account you'll need to find people to follow. There a few easy sites that help you do this very efficiently.

Mr. Tweet helps you identify relevant followers on Twitter, providing the reader with a glance at each person's profile and latest tweets.

Twellow works like yellow pages and allows you to find people to follow by occupation.

Twitter4Teachers is a wiki that lists teachers by content. It's a great resource all in one place. You'll even be able to add your name to the list if you join the wiki.

You can always do a simple Twitter Search to find people tweeting about a subject of interest. If you like what they have to say, start to follow them. I recently did this with the latest shuttle mission and ended up following one of the astronauts, Mike Massimino, while he was in space.

Finally, once you arrive at a person you'd like to follow, see who they follow. You'll never know who you might end up connecting with. Start with me if you'd like. This is the beauty of Twitter. Twitter is a global community sharing common interests and ideas of which you can instantly belong.

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