“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tweet Me!

Twitter. What's it all about? I know that some of you are already on Twitter and are enjoying the connections you've made with fellow teachers and librarians near and far; I know I have. But I know others are asking what Twitter's all about. With just a few words and the touch of a button, I can ask questions and share information (for instance: Do you use Smartboards in your classroom? or Have any of you participated in virtual author visits with your bookgroups/classes?) and get immediate feedback. This couldn't have happened without the immediacy and openness of Twitter. When a school librarian I follow mentioned that she was giving a presentation on Twitter for her district, I invited her to share her thoughts on the all-abuzz-biz with Picnic Basket readers.

So over to Norah Connolly, a Librarian at W. S. Parker Middle School in Reading, MA:

"Tweet me!" "Find me on Twitter!" "She's following me on Twitter!" Have you heard people talking about Twitter lately? I don't know if it's because I'm now an avid Twitter user or if I happened to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else, but I feel like Twitter is everywhere these days: The Grammy's announcer encouraged people to find them on Twitter, NPR advertises its Twitter names, the morning news anchors talk about updates from Twitter followers. Twitter seems to be all around. I freely admit that it took me about two months to truly get what Twitter is all about. But I can say that now that I get it, I don't quite know what I did without it. Twitter has opened up a world for me that I now rely on for support, ideas, links, news, communication, and connections with the walls beyond the school in which I teach.

What is Twitter? According to
Twitternet: "Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows you answer the question, 'What are you doing?' by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called 'tweets', to your friends, or 'followers'." Here are a few of my favorite top ten "Twitter To-Dos" by yours truly and various Twitter friends:

  1. You won't really understand until you try it for yourself. Twitter is difficult to explain and understand in words. So, start an account now!
  2. Decide how you want to use Twitter. Do you want a professional resource, a personal tool, or a mix of both? Don't be afraid to let your human side show. Which leads to....
  3. Especially for professional use, use your full name in your username. People will take you seriously if they know who you are.
  4. Build a bio that includes information about what you do professionally and what makes you who you are.
  5. Use Titter tips from @AngelaMaiers, especially her Twitter Engagement Formula.
  6. Download TweetDeck. Updates will become overwhelming without this nifty desk top application.
  7. Build your network! Use the mosaics on people's Twitter pages to follow paths to interesting people.
  8. Twitter is give and take, so engage in it daily. Try to send an update at least once a day.
  9. Be patient. It's not going to come alive instantly. Building a network takes a little time. But do know that it's worth the effort once the ball is rolling.
  10. Visit a few links to learn more: Tools, Resources, and Apps for using TWITTER!; So You Want to Try Twitter; The 10 Commandments of Twitter

No matter how you end up using Twitter, have fun. It's a resource, a support system, and just a great way to start each day. It's very uplifting to have a bunch of publishing houses, teachers, and librarians from across the country and the world greet me as I arrive to work each day. I now know the power and strength of professional learning networks and am so very glad to have found my own. -- Norah Connolly

Follow Norah on Twitter @nconnolly.
Follow me on Twitter @dsloanandco. Here's a partial screenshot of my profile page:

Plus, here are a few people I follow: @abowllan (blogger for School Library Journal and teacher); @mitaliperkins (children's book author extraordinaire); @angelamaiers (educational consultant and Edublog Award Winner 2008); @coolcatteacher (Edublog Award Winner 2008); @writereader (reading teacher/book blogger); @loonyhiker (educational consultant); @c_spaghetti (children's lit. blogger); @bookavore (indie bookseller/Twitter guru). This is just a start: there are so many more wonderful resources out there - and I'll be mentioning more of my favorites each Friday in a "Follow Friday" tweet. I'd love to add YOU to the list!


shelburns said...

Wow! Thanks for mentioning me in your post today.

Tasses said...

Thanks for a few new peeps that I'd missed! Not you, of course :-)