Sunday, 28 March 2010

Twitter - 1 Year On

I have now been a ‘tweeter’ for just over a year. I have tweeted 805 times (and counting), have 129 followers, and I follow 56 people. I also have the somewhat dubious distinction of being a ‘Twitter Elite in Warwickshire, England’. I think I am now completely bitten by the Twitter bug!

An important grovel: I realize that I haven’t blogged for many months, for which I apologize, but work has really taken off in a big way (no doubt the subject of further blogs) and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t found the time for blogging, that is until now ....

What’s happened?

Since I last blogged on my Twitter experience, a number of things has changed:

I have ‘met’ many interesting people, not just from the UK but also from Australia, Germany, India and the US, most of whom work/are interested in Learning and Development, e-Learning, Social Media, etc.

I now have 129 (at the time of writing) faithful followers. I decided early on not to follow everyone, especially those who have ‘Twitterrhoea’, as it would be impossible to keep up with everyone’s tweets. Accordingly, I am at the moment following just 56 people.

I have now used Twitter to ask questions of my followers, for example I asked recently what people felt were the main obstacles to designing and developing high quality and effective e-Learning; I was not disappointed with the response that I received.

I also take part in a weekly discussion group about learning, #lrnchat. It’s amazing what you can say in 140 characters and all discussions/debates thus far have been very lively and extremely informative. Also, I have met some more kindred souls as a result.

Whilst I use Twitter mainly for L&D purposes, I now also tweet about Cally (my beloved Labrador) and our adventures, plus cricket and tennis (two of my passions). I’ve also taken heed of some other people’s tweets and am now happy to include some social tweets, such as my latest: “Arrrh I hate this British Summer Time lark (apols to those in Scotland) – I have far too many clocks & it makes me really bad tempered.” However, when it comes to my work as a Parish Councillor I do not tweet about this, just in case I land myself in any trouble, as I can do that very easily without Twitter!

I now ‘retweet’ anyone’s tweets that I think will interest the vast majority of my followers. Using the recently added ‘retweet’ button this is a very quick and easy thing to do, plus I have also learned how to RT (i.e. retweet) people’s contributions where I can add my own comments or views.

Last but not least, when, on very rare occasions, Twitter goes off-line I feel quite deprived! Now, how sad is that?

Where next?

Some people can be extremely disparaging about Twitter, especially those people who tweet. However, Twitter is what you make of it and how you use it. Having used Twitter for over a year I now see how it can be used, amongst other things, with considerable benefit for ‘Social Learning’.

Twitter is a readily available and free tool. It is easy to set up a group of likeminded people, e.g. #lrnchat, and to moderate this use. Users can ask questions of followers, provide information, generate debate, and so on. The people I follow are not lonely, small-minded folk, as some have claimed. Most, if not all, are at the cutting and leading edge of Learning and Development and I have learned so much from them.

Yes, I am now a truly dedicated follower of Twitter!