Many of you get annoyed by Twitter users like me. You get tired of us talking about how Twitter builds a huge, brilliant, world-wide professional learning network (PLN) that provides inspiration, ideas and conversation about education.
You get tired of us talking about how Twitter allows our school communities to have a behind-the-scenes look at some of the goings-on of our districts.
You get tired of us talking about how Twitter provides opportunities to brag about the awesome accomplishments of our students, staff and communities. Twitter has undoubtedly taken me very far in my professional career.
But do you know what I was thinking this morning? Twitter has taken me places literally too.
Understand my PLN includes people who are world travelers, people who speak at conferences and school districts around the globe. George Couros, Joe Mazza, Jimmy Casas, Todd Whittaker, Dave Burgess…these and so many more Twitter users are way up in the stratosphere as far as making the most of the tool.
But even Average Joes like me–non-descript guys from northeast Ohio–can find real value by using Twitter. So where has Twitter taken me?
Because of Twitter, in the last year or so I:
- Was invited to Indianapolis to be on a panel discussion about Common Core State Standards at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Leadership Forum.
- Was asked to present at the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) fall conference on the use of Twitter.
- Permitted (at my request) to present at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Capital Conference on the use of Twitter and other communication tools.
- Was invited to be part of an Ohio Straight A Fund grant application (which we unfortunately did not win) with some colleagues across the state.
- Met and hired the best curriculum director you could ever wish for (@ToddStuart1).
- Have been invited to be a guest on a WCPN 90.3 radio program The Sound of Ideas to discuss with a few other Twitter users the pros and cons of social media usage among educators.
- Had maybe the best Mexican food I ever ate at the ASCD conference in Chicago because of the connection I made with my Twitter PLN, particularly Jimmy Casas, Dave and Shelley Burgess, Tom and Leah Whitford, and George Couros.
- Was interviewed for an article in the American School Board Journal.
- Was invited to co-moderate #ptchat, a weekly Twitter discussion about how to involve parents more fully in schools.
- Was given the motivation to start my blog, which you are reading right now.
- Met a whole bunch of Ohio superintendents that I feel comfortable talking with whenever we see each other at conferences, people who two years ago I never would have spoken to because I would have been too shy or too disinterested.
- Was given tickets to the Cleveland Gladiators arena football game when I tweeted about my poor experience at a Lake Erie Monsters hockey game (really long story, and not much value here, but it makes my point that Twitter has tangible benefits).
I understand that nowhere listed above is “spent a week in Bora Bora” or “was offered a job making a kajillion dollars” or “traveled the world inspiring millions of teachers and students.”
But what is listed is stuff that never would have happened without Twitter. It is actual, real stuff that expanded my horizons, introduced me to new people, and put some cool stuff on my resume.
All at 140 characters at a time.