Educators new to twitter, here is a little walk down memory lane…

Remember your first days of university? You weren’t sure what to expect and you had to put yourself ‘out there’ to connect to new people?

Do you remember going to a class and not knowing anyone?

Imagine for a moment that you enter, for the first time, a small class and the teacher is trying to start a conversation. When you say something in that class you aren’t really sure who is paying attention… (That’s a Tweet). Someone says something and you respond… (that’s an @reply). The person next to you likes what you said and leans over to quietly tell you so… (that’s a Direct Message). Soon you have the confidence to share your ideas in a bigger classroom… (that’s how you build a following).

You jumped into a new learning environment and made it interesting. You can do that on Twitter too, but just like your new experience at university, you’ve got to put yourself out there, you’ve got to be willing to meet new people, and you’ve got to put some time into making new relationships that can be lasting and meaningful.

It doesn’t work if you don’t try.

It doesn’t work if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons.

But if you are willing to make the effort, you are going to find a community of learners that want to connect to you, and learn from you, and give you more than you could possibly give back.

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A little over a month ago, a few of us started a conversation and it grew into Gr8Tweets. For the month of March, we would promote the use of a hashtag (#gr8t) in order to collectively share some of our favourite Tweets in one place. When we came across something we considered GREAT, we would retweet it with #gr8t.

The Gr8t caped Twitter Bird

I really enjoyed planning and launching this with Laura Deacs, Darren Kuropatwa, Sue Waters, Liz B. Davis, Heidi Hass Gable and Bud Hunt. Special thanks as well goes to the many wonderful people who jumped on board with blog posts tohelp promote the idea. And even more thank you’s to those that contributed Tweets to #gr8t.

I think this was a great way to synthesize some of the links and ideas that people share on Twitter every day, and for me it highlighted why Twitter has become such a special part of my PLN. I plan to continue using the hashtag when I find something really worth sharing.

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So for those of you that may still be struggling to ‘get’ twitter, check out the resource page on the Gr8tweets wiki. And remember your first days of university. Remember that it takes work and effort to build a meaningful community of friends… and when you decide to join in, put yourself ‘out there’ and give it a fair chance. Once things get rolling, the effort fades and the benefits soar!