After reading Elizabeth’s blog post this past week I realized that I shared a lot of the same feelings about Twitter as she once did. I’m sure there are a lot of us that have similar feelings. You know the feelings…being unsure what to post? How do I sum it all up into 140 characters? Who do I follow? How do I get followers? And the biggest one for me…How do I sift through all of the information coming at me through Twitter? Before I tell you about how I came to love Twitter, I must tell you about a time when I hated twitter. There I said it. And it feels good to come clean.
I was first introduced to Twitter way back in 2008 when I took ECMP355 with Alec as an undergrad. I did a quick search and found out that Twitter was started in the spring of 2006. So when I took ECMP355 in spring 2008 I’d say Twitter was still relatively new. I don’t remember using it a whole lot during that class. I know we were introduced to it, we discussed how to use it (tweeting, retweeting, hash tagging) and I am sure if I look way back and find that old twitter account I’m sure I would have had some action on that account. When I was first introduced to it, I couldn’t grasp the concept. I knew it was to connect with people, but I guess I didn’t understand how you could really connect with only 140 characters. At the end of that semester I guess I still didn’t see it as very purposeful because I didn’t keep up with my account. There…I said it (again).
Flash forward to fall 2015 and I find myself in Alec’s ECI832 class with Twitter being an expected part of my participation. My first thought, “Ugh…this again.?!” I must admit I was dreading having to get started again with Twitter. Why? Because I still had the same feelings I left ECMP355 with. My feelings never changed because I never knew how to actually use Twitter. I don’t think I could get past my thoughts of what is the point?? At the end of last semester I felt a little bit better about using Twitter as I learned a lot from different tweets people shared and I was able to make some connections as well. That being said, I was still no expert. I’m still not an expert, but in the few short weeks since this class has begun I have a new love for Twitter. That’s right. I can now say I love twitter! Here’s why…
- I have recently participated in some twitter chats (4 in the past week) and found that it is an extremely easy way to connect with others and gain followers. It also gives Twitter a purpose. I like that you can share ideas, ask questions, find resources and talk with others interested in the same topics. If you haven’t participated in a Twitter chat yet, I highly recommend it. I’d like to go into detail about my experience with them, but all I will tell you is to make use of Tweetdeck Hootsuite or another Twitter tool to follow the chat and for the most part don’t try to keep up with the whole conversation. It will continue to flow and you can jump in and out where ever you feel necessary. It can be very overwhelming to keep up. Here are some more ideas how to participate in a twitter chat. To find Twitter chats that you may be interested in you can do a Google search. This is a great list of educational twitter chats.
2. In follow up to my last point, do not try keep up with every post that is on your Twitter feed. You will feel extremely overwhelmed. My advice is to pick a few followers to focus on, or a few hashtags to check out. You will probably be able to find a lot of information that is useful by doing those two things. That allows you to pull information to you rather than having a constant stream of information pushed at you. I finally realized that it’s impossible to keep up with every Tweet that I missed while I wasn’t on my phone. I rarely scroll through my home feed on Twitter and instead I search hashtags that I think will provide me with something interesting and purposeful. Check out this list of educational hashtags to find something you may be interested in.
3. I have been able to participate in meaningful conversations and make connections with people who I have since added to my network. Since the start of this semester I have almost doubled my followers since the end of last semester going from 60 some followers to 101 as of right now. I am hoping to continue making connections, finding people to follow and gaining more followers as I continue to use Twitter.
By making small changes I was able to see the real purpose behind Twitter and have started to actually enjoy using it as opposed to dreading it. I suppose that’s how we find anything in life enjoyable. If there is a purpose and we can find enjoyment in something we usually like doing it. I look forward to my continued growth throughout the semester and beyond. I have a lot of learning and connecting left to do but I am happy to say that I am on my way. My hate relationship with Twitter has turned into a love relationship.