Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why I like Twitter

Two months ago I joined Twitter. My first post was inane--Something like: I'm trying to learn

sk08i07 Giant Moose at Moose Jaw SK 2008Image by CanadaGood via Flickr

how to use Twitter. I've learned a lot since then. What have I learned and why do I like Twitter?

1. Pass it forward:

I like Twitter because it gives me a super easy way to share resources and ideas. I subscribe to many blogs with Google Reader and come across great ideas and writing all the time. I also follow suggested links in other people's tweets and this leads me to great resources. For example, recently I came across Kathy Cassidy (@kathycassidy on Twitter), a grade one teacher from Moose Jaw. Since she gave her website address as part of her Twitter profile (I like it when people do this), I went to her website. (,%20 This amazing Grade One teacher is having her students blog. Last week on Twitter, she asked for people available to talk to her class on Skype about what they learned in Grade One. She has posted one of those talks on her website. Last year her students recorded their reading using Vocarro. Then other people could comment (parents, aunts, grandpas, etc.) about the reading.

So you get the picture. I come across great resources all the time via Twitter and Google Reader. What is the simplest way to share those resources? It is via Twitter. If someone is on Twitter, I can simply put @ in front of their user name and post the link with a short description of the resource. I admit it is easiest if that person is following me because I could even send the resource via a direct message. I am hoping that most people on Twitter are like me and that they check their Twitter mentions using Search with @ and their user name. Thus if (like Margaret Atwood) you are receiving lots of messages from those people you don't follow, you can still receive those messages.)

Yesterday at church, I spoke with a friend who teaches kindergarten. I told her that I've been coming across lots of kindergarten resources. I asked her to please sign up for Twitter so I have an easy way to pass those resources forward to her. I'm hoping she will do it. (Hi, K. J.)

2. Building a network

I like the people I have found and that I follow on Twitter. They introduce a different world of ideas and link to other people.

Recently during my morning walk, it started raining. I noticed that the raindrops, falling in a puddle, sent little circles outwards from the point of impact. Sometimes the little circles m

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29:  Heavy rain...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

et and overlapped. Sometimes they did not. I think it is like this with building networks in the digital world. There are so many networks happening as each person discovers those people with similar interests to themselves. Since each of us is unique, each of our networks will be unique.

This morning I came across someone new to blogging who is also on Twitter. His name is Ken Wilson (blog site: and Twitter: @kenwilsonlondon). He is big in English as a Second Language or Foreign Language circles. I had never heard of him before. When I started reading his blog posts, I was intrigued because I used to teach English as a Second Language when I lived in Hong Kong. So I decided to add Ken to my network of people I listen to on Google Reader and on Twitter.

I'm sure that if someone was interested in crocheting, Nascar racing, and geocaching, they could build a network with nodes which would represent each of these disparate interests.

I am trying to build a network of Twitter people (T-buds) from Saskatoon. With Saskatoon people, I am less demanding regarding who I will follow. Many Saskatoon people tweet about their plans for the evening and not about ideas. They don't often pass along resources. However, I believe there is power in establishing a local network (as Mack Male has done in Edmonton) and so I continue to work on finding and following people who live in Saskatoon.

I am also working on building a network of those who are into social media and using it with students (blogs, Twitter, Animoto, VoiceThread, podcasts, wikis, etc.). I also like to follow people with great ideas who inspire me (danah boyd, Seth Godin, Zen Habits).

One suggestion for you if you want to build your networks on Twitter: Find someone that you really admire and then click on the list of who they are following to find others who are influencing the person you are following. Read the tweets of those people and then you could follow them.

3. Searching on Twitter

I like Twitter for the search capacity it offers. I started to realize the power of search and the use of hashtags (when people establish a common way of referring to an idea or place in Twitter e.g. #yxe for Edmonton) during the Open Education Conference in Vancouver earlier in August (#opened09). Since all sessions in this conference were available in live-streaming video, people from around the world were virtual attendees of this conference. As I searched Twitter using the hashtag #opened09, I could see what others around the world (and even those present in the room with the speaker) were saying about the presentation. It was an amazing experience. I realized later that I was a "vicarious attendee" of the conference because I experienced so much of it through the tweets of those who were attending in a face to face manner.

Hotel Bessborough from the rear.Image via Wikipedia

I regularly search for tweets with "Saskatoon" in them in order to find people living here. Some of the searches that I use often, I have saved so that I can easily do them repeatedly.


The above are just three of the reasons why I like Twitter. I like to share resources, build a network, and search for ideas and conferences.

One thing I need to figure out though is how to use Tweetdeck or some kind of tweet aggregator. So far, I have been following Twitter by simply reading back through all the tweets that were posted since I last logged on to the computer. This has been fine while I have ha

HP Mini and TweetDeckImage by bwana via Flickr

d a little more time this summer. However, my busy fall schedule is kicking in. I don't want to miss important conversations and resources that are shared on Twitter.

I want to teach other people in my world how to use Twitter. I will be talking with those in the school board office, at my local school, at the university, and at the public library about teaching some classes on Twitter. However, I need to master the use of a tweet aggregator before I can teach others.

If any of my readers have other suggestions for ways to use Twitter or why they like Twitter, please comment below.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. I have similar reasons for using Twitter but I thoroughly recommend TweetDeck. Attractive look, in-built URL-shortener and the ability to follow several tracks in separate columns. As a result I almost never look at the Twitter page in my browser.

  2. Thanks Alastair. If I can't figure out how to use TweetDeck, I will call on you for help.

    I'm not sure about the URL shortener. After the failure (and resuscitation) of that one service (was it Bit-ly), I've tried to use the long URL's all the time. Of course, Twitter shortens them automatically in my tweets.

    I'll give TweetDeck a try.