Over the past year or so, I've been mentioning Twitter as a tool for PD to different groups, including workshops I've given lately, and even to my own students--pre-service teachers soon to be entering the profession.
Honestly, I would have thought that my students would be ready and willing to jump onto the Twitter PD bandwagon, but they often are (surprisingly) reticent to start. I suppose I should not be surprised. They are more likely to use Twitter to connect with their friends...sort of the way I use Facebook. (I recently saw a tweet informing me that Facebook is the "mom jeans of social media.") #LOL #ROFL #hashtagging #whousesfacebook? #momjeansareawesomeandstuff
|Image courtesy James G. Milles - CC BY 2.0
I was recently at an education conference and met up with a former student. While we were visiting, the topic of Twitter came up. I asked her if she was on Twitter, and she replied that she was, but she never really tweets.
I thought that was interesting, so I asked her why not. Her reply gave me tremendous insight into the way younger people use Twitter:
"There's too much pressure to be witty or clever all the time on Twitter. So unless you have something important to say..."
Now that makes sense to me. Of course young adults (college students, etc.) are using Twitter in a very, very different way than I (a 30-something old-fogey professor) would.
I know there is an awful lot of banality and downright stupidity on Twitter, okay? But at the same time, there is a pretty outstanding group of educators sharing ideas, encouraging creativity, asking questions, and learning, learning, learning on Twitter every single day. And it's a shame that pre-service teachers might miss out on the conversation because of the social pressures of how they use Twitter in their personal lives.
So, maybe I should recommend to my students that they start a "professional" Twitter account and keep it separate from their "personal" Twitter? What do you think, fellow tweeting-teachers?