How I Use Twitter Professionally – Updated!

About six months ago I wrote a blog post called “How I Use Twitter Professionally“. Since then I’ve refined or changed my use a bit, so I thought it was worth refreshing the post. So, the content below is the same as before, with old stuff stricken through and new stuff underlined.

My tweets are public.

I’m trying to encourage conversation and collaboration, so my tweets are globally accessible.

I don’t follow a lot of people.

I currently follow 70 144 people, of whom about 40 100 are actively tweeting (let’s say at least weekly). Some of these aren’t related to education; for example, I follow The LEGO Group (@LEGO_Group).

I can keep up with this: I read every tweet, unless it’s an especially busy day in my face-to-face life.

I can’t read it all anymore. This is easily the biggest change for me. I’m relying on my tweets to retweet the really good stuff so I have a better chance of seeing it.

I accept anyone as a follower, pretty much.

Except for a few obvious accounts, I let anyone follow me. Since my tweets are public, anyone can read them (even without a Twitter account), so letting people follow me doesn’t reveal anything extra. Plus, it’s easier when you don’t have to approve people.

I don’t accept Direct Messages (DMs) from people I don’t follow.

This cuts down on the spam. Now it’s just mentions, and there aren’t too many of those. This is a good idea for anyone, so I thought I’d list it here.

I follow hashtags for a while.

Recently I followed #SeLNO for the Thunder Bay Region’s event; you can still see stuff by searching for that tag. I don’t follow the very busy tags, although I sometimes apply them to my posts (#D2L, #onted, #blendedlearning).

More recently, we ran #OTRK12, and I watched #gafesummit from a distance. Awesome learning there.

I try to follow the people in Northern Ontario.

We face many of the same issues, and perhaps we have solutions to help each other. I like that idea.

I let Twitter post my tweets to Facebook.

I don’t really use Facebook professionally, but sometimes my tweets catch the eye of some of my Facebook friends who aren’t on Twitter. Some of them are reading this post (you know who you are). It’s one more way to expand the conversation. (I imagine some of my friends are tired of all the education-related stuff.)

I don’t cross post to Facebook anymore.

I tweet too much. No one on Facebook wants to read all of that stuff. The handful of FB friends who do are also Twitter users and teachers, so they just go to Twitter to find me.

I use Tweetdeck; it rocks.

Chrome has TweetDeck as an app; I like that I can have columns for a variety of things I want to look at. Currently I have my Twitter timeline, my Twitter Interactions, my Twitter Messages (DMs), columns for #gafesummit, SGDSB, #NaPoWriMo, #OntEd, and #niprockart, a Twitter #NeLChat search, my Facebook Timeline and my Facebook Notifications, and a bunch of lists. It’s great.

I use Lists

Some I create, some I follow. Lists are a way to categorize users you’re interested in semi-following. For example, I have a TweetDeck column for SGDSB Educators, maintained by @ColleenKR. Although I do follow some SGDSB teachers (like @WallwinS, @GeraldtonSteve, @fryed, and others), I don’t know if I want to follow every teacher in the board. This way I can dip into the SGDSB conversation flow and track more people without cluttering up my timeline.

I say things for myself, and I say things for others.

I tweet things that I want to remember or revisit (great for “note-taking” at a session/workshop/conference). I also tweet things to inform others or start conversations.

I talk a lot

I try to ask questions and help out when others ask questions. I’m proud to say I was recently included as an honourary member of the SGDSB educators list because I help out the teachers up there, so I think my contributions are valued.

More importantly, I’m developing relationships with these distant folks, and the growth of my PLN has helped me out in my work as well. Thanks, everyone.

If you want to follow me…

I’m @bgrasley. No pressure, of course. Use Twitter however it works best for you!

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