Twitter as a Tool for Professional Learning

For some, the social media site/app Twitter is written off as a place of indecipherable abbreviations (to meet the now-former 140-character limit), viral hashtags, and celebrity “beefs”.  Yet, to discount Twitter out of hand is to overlook a force of 330 million active monthly users around the globe, who together send over 500 million tweets every single day (Newberry, 2018). Those hundreds of millions of tweets have impacted the world in ways unimaginable just a few years ago; whether in politics, such as in the 2016 US presidential election or the Black Lives Matter movement, or in business, in which customers can now communicate directly with brands and CEOs, and companies like the fast-food giant Wendy’s can reinvent their image with edgy Twitter-based marketing campaigns. Furthermore, like as outlined in a recent post on this blog about Facebook, ill-advised tweets have the power to destroy careers and reputations, such as the infamous case of former PR executive Justine Sacco. In short, Twitter is a force that cannot be overlooked in contemporary society.

As I wrote about here, Twitter is also valuable as a tool for teaching, learning, and career advancement. Specifically, Twitter facilitates the development of web-based Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs. A PLN is an invaluable tool- it can provide professional development that is meaningful right now, addressing immediate professional needs at no cost through related hashtag searches, the tweets and shared resources of other educators and organizations, twitter chats, and “just in time” communication and collaboration. Furthermore, this collaboration can lead to the development of more traditional networking relationships; active participation in #edchats, for example, are an easy way for a user to communicate and share ideas directly with an organization with whom they may want to work for in the future. The fact that on Twitter anyone can follow and communicate with anyone else without approval allows for instant access and the understanding of the Twitter space as a less-personal, more professional social media platform than Facebook. This also facilitates networking and career advancement; if used intentionally, Twitter can be thought of as a giant open-networking event with whomever the user wishes to try to network with. In this way, Twitter perhaps offers the greatest potential among social media sites for professional learning and career advancement.

Reference

Newberry, C. (2018, Jan 17). 28 twitter statistics that all marketers need to know in 2018. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/twitter-statistics/

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