Why Use Twitter?


Because it’s the greatest professional development tool ever.

And the best part?

It’s free.


Follow me – @principalspage


9 Responses to “Why Use Twitter?”

  1. Dave Sherman
    on Mar 27th, 2011
    @ 10:25 am

    Really? That was just an add for Twitter by the Twitter people. I have tried to use Twitter for my own PD, but there are so many “junk” followers that any question I ask related to education gets lost and I don’t get the benefit of a good discussion. The Twitter-verse is moving so fast with stupid Tweets (e.g. “I’m sitting by the pool reading People…” or “Going to take a shower now…”) that the substantial discussions can’t happen.

    I am going to try to block all the non-educator followers and see if that makes it better. Otherwise, I will be done with Twitter for good.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Dave Sherman, Maybe you need 2 lists. One for general junk (which there is a lot) and one for PD.

  2. Dave Sherman
    on Mar 27th, 2011
    @ 12:22 pm

    Maybe. Let’s see what people on Twitter say.

  3. Kelly Christopherson
    on Mar 27th, 2011
    @ 1:30 pm

    I’m going to say that, although I find twitter to be interesting, you need to devote an incredible amount of time to it so that people who follow you actually respond to your tweets. You have to develop a presence and devote time to grooming the relationships so that, when you tweet a question or tweet about a topic, people will comment and retweet and follow. It’s not as simple as joining and going. I’ve been on twitter since it first came out and I still don’t get a whole pile of responses when I tweet. However, there are some who have just joined that have put in a great deal of time, tweeting their lives both personal and professional, and thus have created a following of people who will respond when they tweet.

    In the end, I put my energy and time into developing the relationships within my sphere of influence, where there is a critical component to the relationships that require my attention. Having moved this past year to a new community and being the principal of 2 schools at this moment, I don’t have the time or energy needed to continue the online tweeting and plurking that I have done in the past because I am developing new relationships here. What many people don’t seem to fully comprehend is that you can’t split time (yet) and what you put into being online you cannot put into your face-to-face relationships – you don’t get that time back in any form. So, for those people who are suddenly finding online social networking, that time spent there is not being spent with other people.

    As for a PD tool, twitter has a great deal of “look at this link” stuff but as far as I’m concerned, I’m past the “woo, cool site. Wow, cool too” and more into developing my teaching and leading using multiple tools that are integrated into my day. So, my tool of choice is Evernote combined with Google apps using my itouch. I’ve quit being wowed by this or that app/tool. At some point you have to begin culling and begin to really develop your use of one or two tools that you can count on and which will enhance your work. Evernote and Google calendar, docs, reader do that for me. Twitter is a neat distraction with some interesting discussions but if I were going to recommend a social networking site it would be Plurk rather than twitter. You need too many tools and there’s too much “noise” that is difficult to filter – really I don’t want to spend hours setting up filters or lists or whatever. That’s why Plurk, for me, is much handier, a better use of my time, easier to follow conversations and a better way to grow PD than Twitter – we have to remember being popular doesn’t mean it’s a better tool or the right way to do things! It just means you’ve convinced people to follow you – not that you are right.

    As a busy dad – with 8 children – a husband, a coach – volleyball, basketball and track, a teacher, an administrator of 2 schools and a community member, there are so many people with whom I need to focus my attention upon and need to develop relationships that the social networks online aren’t a priority. Being new in a community and school division means I’m cultivating all sorts of relationships around me and I don’t have the time or energy for those online. Me thinks I have a good topic for my next blog!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Kelly Christopherson, I think you make some valid points.

    Nice to have you back. I figured you were snowed in.

  4. Kelly Christopherson
    on Mar 27th, 2011
    @ 4:28 pm

    It is nice to come out from the igloo. We just were able to thaw out the electrical lines so that the electricity can run. It’s nice now that we can have some connection with the outside world and see what is going on. I’m always worried we’ll come out of the winter freeze only to find that the rest of the world has blown itself up and we’re the only ones left since we’re so deep in the snow and cold most of the world forgets we exist until about April.

  5. Jason Johnson
    on Mar 28th, 2011
    @ 2:57 pm

    As a principal in rural america with not many resources or any other elementary administrators in my district, I find Twitter to be UBER powerful in developing a scope of learning that is beyond my geographical restrictions. I presented to area principals about the power of twitter and professional development in January. Some have turned to twitter and some haven’t, but the ability to routinely check twitter and pull infomration from streams of chats provides the staff at the school I work with some tools they have put into their arsenal.

    If you believe that twitter doesn’t provide any useful PD either knows all there is to know and needs to strat a charter school or is not in education to produce for students.

  6. Kathy
    on Apr 5th, 2011
    @ 3:21 pm

    I spend so much time wondering why I’m tweeting and reading tweets that it’s clear the ROI for me is in the negative. And yet, is it? How do we know? I have followers, I follow folks, I tweet often…

    Tell me how do you honestly measure whether Tweeting your Peeps is working?

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Kathy, I can’t tell if what I tweet helps anyone… probably doesn’t.

    But I can tell when people answer my questions on Twitter… and they can be an unbelieveable help.

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