Are you on this yet? While Twitter’s popularity may be attributed to the endorsement of self-important celebrities, it is becoming increasingly prevalent in the realms of academia and education. The concept is simple and effective: millions of people writing short blurbs about different things at the same time, which a user may filter by person or topic. Because of the restriction in length, Tweets get the message across instantly, maximizing the efficiency of absorbing new information and current events. But how does this lend to professional development for educators?
The following Tweeters represent a range of educational careers, and promote Twitter as an essential to their daily routines.
Twitter’s filtering surpasses any other social network for creating communities of complete strangers according to similar interests. As Jason will show you on the Activities page, Hashtags are added to Tweets for easy sorting according to interest. Similarly, the WeFollow application can sort users according to the interests they have listed on their profile from media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, essentially streamlining your social networks into circles. The Nearby Tweets app combines keywords and location specification to find Tweets specific to an area (Karbach, 2012b). Free Twitter add-ons such as these allow users to optimize their feed and efficiently manage the exact information they need.
Twitter has been criticized for providing a false sense of human connection (or anonymity) and a disassociation of actual-lived experience (Smith, 2009). One may question whether the habit of digesting short bursts of information could result in a shortened attention span (“Can Tweeting,” 2013). The 140 character limit does not ensure concise writing, but tends to degrade grammar and spelling. Speedy turnover and length limitation risks spreading misinformation. Tweets are not meant to be over-analysed; they are absorbed and shared in an instant. Sparse wording may lead to misinterpretation or poorly explained facts from incredible sources (Gifford, n.d.). When using Twitter for professional development, it makes sense to do a bit of research before hitting “Follow”, and a quick re-read before hitting “Post”.