Do you use Twitter as a professional resource?

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Last year at mLearnCon, the eLearning Guild’s mobile learning conference, I was struck by something that well known author and presenter, Allison Rossett, said. She was talking about the potential of technology and social media to transform learning, and declared that she learns more by “jumping on Twitter for 20 or 30 minutes” than just about anything else she does.

I’ve had a Twitter account for a few years (a close friend who works in social media strong-armed me into it) but I’ve rarely used it. I had an early impression that Twitter was just for following celebrities you don’t know, or self-centered narcissists who you do. And while a bit of that impression may be based in reality, ever since I heard Rossett’s intriguing declaration, I’ve been wondering whether Twitter could, indeed, be a great place to connect with other learning professionals and to accelerate my own learning.

Recently, a class assignment in my master’s program prompted me to give Twitter another look. The timing of my exploration worked out well, as a major learning conference was underway, and Twitter was all atwitter with learning tweeters! I quickly figured out the conference’s hash tag, which made it easy to scan all of the tweets originating from conference attendees. Some were very insightful; some were snarky, or even a bit rude; some pointed me to interesting articles and content I never would have encountered otherwise; and many came from a few of the same people who seemed to post every thought that crossed their minds.

But with all that said, overall I was left with a positive impression of Twitter’s potential as a professional resource. I definitely plan to continue my exploration of Twitter based on my recent experience. It’s also evident that many well known authors, respected professionals in the learning field, and even a few of my own colleagues are increasingly turning to Twitter to learn and to share their ideas. I think that a critical aspect of maximizing Twitter’s potential will be figuring out which colleagues to follow – which seems simple enough, but will probably take some time.

So what about you? Do you use Twitter professionally? If so, I’d love to hear what you think. Has it accelerated your own learning? Have you made valuable connections? Do you think Twitter is here to stay? And perhaps most importantly – who do you follow?!

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