On November 18th, I decided to give Twitter a try. I wrote:
So I’ve decided there is possibly a vibrant teaching community that I’m not familiar with, because I had decided to ignore Twitter while getting the year in order. So here I am, going to take the plunge. […] I found a whole bunch of blogs by math teachers that I follow regularly. Let’s see if I can find the same on Twitter.
It is now May 10th. I have made 741 tweets. I follow 71 people. And I check twitter multiple times a day.
On November 18th, I didn’t “get” it. No one could explain to me why twitter was worth trying. But people on the blogs I read were talking about it. Before writing it off as inane… I mean, why do I care what a math teacher in Northern California had for lunch?… I gave it a shot. My goal for this post is to share with you how I use twitter, and why I continue to use twitter.
One: I joined twitter to be involved with the math teacher blogger community. Turns out, most of the people writing the blogs I follow regularly have twitter accounts. I didn’t know that so many people were on twitter before joining. So these people, who I sporadically communicated with by commenting on a post here or there, have become people I communicate more regularly with. I solicit ideas from them and I share my ideas with them. The dialogue, short and sweet, is continuous. Like a bird chirping in the electronic zeitgeist.
Two: I get to solicit advice and share frustrations. And I get to give advice.
Three: I don’t know much about the people I follow, but I do know we share a set of values about teaching math. We love what we do. Why else would we want to talk with others who are the same. Not that I don’t have great colleagues in my school, but I am the only teacher for three of my four classes. I like to have someone to hash out ideas with. These people on Twitter are those people.
Four: Links, links, links! I post links relevant to the post I’m writing on my blog. But I tweet lots of random math links that don’t seem to fit in what I’m doing now. Cool things that I think other math teachers might find useful. And others do the same. When I first started twittering, this was hands down my favorite benefit. Plus I get links about non-math related things too. Like when someone linked to the entire 5 seasons of Angel which were on sale for $57 at Amazon for one day.
Five: I actually like hearing about the ordinary, math and non-math related things that my twitter friends post. Ummm. Okay, I know that these people aren’t my friends. And that I’m not ever going to meet them in real life, for the most part. But I’ve actually come to care when someone’s kid is angry at them or when someone’s husband was in the hospital. It brings the people behind the blog posts to life.
Six: I didn’t used to do this, but I have started doing this: when I write a blogpost, I tweet about it for other people to learn about it.
Seven: I have discovered new math teacher blogs out there by looking at the followers of some of the people I follow.
Eight: This doesn’t apply only to Twitter, but also the blogs I read. I’ve noticed that having other people care about what they do makes me care about what I do. I want to do well that much more because of them. I honestly can’t say that I would have the drive for continual improvement and spend the time thinking through things as much if it weren’t for this little community.
And that’s my story with Twitter. I can see how someone wouldn’t find it useful. But to the nay-sayers out there, I will say this: I went in thinking I probably wouldn’t find Twitter useful/interesting/fun. It was only after I was following math teachers and joining in the conversations did I actually say “hey, this is actually pretty rad.”
To visit my Twitter Page, click here.