Posted in #My500Words

Is It Twitter? Or…Is It Me?

For the past several weeks, I have been contemplating Twitter, and my relationship with it. I suppose I could rattle off a buku of reasons for why I am feeling this way. But, between you, me and a goal post, I think my lack of love for Twitter these days comes down to two basic things.  The first is that Twitter has become much too loud and noisy for my taste. It could be the introvert in me. But, much too loud and noisy, nevertheless. Which makes me tired, weary, cranky, and wondering if Twitter is something from which I wanted to separate. Then, I remembered my PLN – Personal Learning Network – the connections I have forged since I joined back in 2008, and, the Twitter chats.  Is the sensory reaction I  am feeling worth kicking to the curb my PLN and the Twitter chats that I like and enjoy?  Which forced me to turn the question inward: Is there something about me that is causing me to feel the way I am feeling about Twitter? Am doing something wrong? Perhaps I really don’t understand Twitter, despite having been on the social networking platform for eight years.

So, to answer my question, I performed an Internet search, which led me to this candid, eloquent and insightful blog post about Twitter. And, the answer, just as the author promised, did, in fact, surprise me.

Twitter, as we know, is a social networking platform.  For working professionals like me, the emphasis is more on networking, rather than social – at least at first.  At least, perhaps, until one meets a Twitter follower at a conference, or, for coffee, as I did, many years ago.  We currently follow each other on Twitter, but, the connection actually began via the blog I was writing at the time.  We had a connection forged through the independent school community – she the parent of a daughter attending an independent school, and I a teacher.  At that time, her daughter was about to begin college about one hour away from where I reside, and so the opportunity to meet presented itself.  It was fun! But, I digress…

Admittedly, I don’t fully grasp the whole networking concept as it plays itself out in professional relationships. Which explains in large part my mis-read of Twitter, per the linked blog post. Unlike Facebook, where, at least in my case, many of my “friends” are actually people I know in real life, I don’t know any of those I follow and who follow me on Twitter on a personal level, and have not met them in real life, except for the person mentioned above.

So… what made me actually believe that those I follow and who follow me are actually interested in socializing with me on Twitter, i.e. having conversations, to the extent one can on Twitter? Beyond sharing resources and an occasional opinion about teaching, which is what connects me to the vast majority of those I follow and who follow me, what did I actually expect to converse about?

Call it naïveté, but, I did actually, expect those things. I did actually expect greater social interaction, and conversation about everyday things – just like in real life. I thought it was an abbreviated form of Facebook.  How wrong I was, and, my first mistake.

The second mistake I made was using Twitter as a platform, a microphone, for my views. Which, quite frankly, most of my followers, I suspect, aren’t really interested in. Besides, I have my blog for that.

My third Twitter mistake was tweeting much too much. And, that noise I spoke about earlier? I was contributing to a great deal of it, and I was not cognizant of it until I read the linked article.

Now that I have a better understanding of Twitter – what it is, and, more importantly, what is is not – I can use my time more productively when on there, not take whole thing so seriously, and have more reasonable expectations.  I learn a great deal from all of my followers, and I value them and the resources and information they share. Through them, I have gained tremendous insights about the world around me. In most cases, Twitter is better than the evening news in terms of late-breaking events.

What mistakes have you made on Twitter, or, on other social networking sites? What, if anything, did you do about it?

 

 

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Author:

I teach. I cook. I write. In that order. Along the way, I learn many things, especially about myself.

5 thoughts on “Is It Twitter? Or…Is It Me?

  1. I’m completely with you on not fully understanding twitter, but I’m not sure what you mean by “noisy”. Maybe it’s the people I follow, but I find the word “bland” more descriptive of my experience. I do get great links to articles and research that I wouldn’t come across any other way, but, otherwise, I find US based twitter groups and chats unhelpful. They seem so obsessed with being positive and supportive that it feels false. I scratch my head when people talk about “my PLN” in reference to twitter. I don’t know those people and can’t grow from hollow, polite conversations. My feelings are distinctly different when I connect with some of my international networks, particularly the British and Australian edu-twitter communities. They share who they are, how they feel, the questions they struggle with, and all sides of an argument. They interact with one another honestly, even (or especially) when they disagree. I wish I knew how to use twitter to find the kind of community I’m looking for to discuss US education issues critically and evidence-based.

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    1. Hi, Becca!

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. I always appreciate both from you. 🙂
      “Noisy.” Hmmm…Lots of chatter, with little substance. Lots of marketing and promoting, little personal connection. Lots of self-congratulatory admiration and mutual admiration – the Twitter Fan Club. As you say, “bland.” Both become even more so when folks tweet from conferences. As far as my PLN, it had more substance when I first began; the Twitter chats did as well. I, like you, am finding that there’s little authenticity in the US-based Twitter chats; you are correct about that. So, based on your comment, I am going to check out the non-US-based Twitter chats. Actually, I think the pre-eminent issue with education conversations in the US is that they lack critical analysis and evidence based on research.

      Liked by 1 person

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