Sometime through 2008, I joined twitter as a way to connect to other educators. The concept of 140 characters seemed limiting, as I had not heard of, nor used, shortened URL’s, figured out how to send pictures, or attach blog posts to the tweets I was sending out. I was quite new to the technology (although, to be fair, twitter was quite new to most, if not all, in the summer of 2008). Since then, twitter has become more user-friendly and the number of educators connected on it has grown by leaps and bounds (soaring up through the sky might work better for a twitter comment).
For the next 4 years, I slowly tweeted out information, connected on the hashtags of conferences to discuss what was going on in the sessions I attended and slowly built up my PLN. I may have started as a Lurker, but over the four years, I became a participant. Then, in the Spring of 2012, everything changed. I moved from a retweeter, re-sending out little messages to my followers to connecting my blog to the tweets, commenting on other blogs, and moving into discussions with other educators around the world. I became connected. It didn’t happen overnight, and I couldn’t put a firm timeline on it, but it happened. I began receiving messages from other educators, authors, and researchers as we discussed educational issues that mattered to me. It opened my mind to other possibilities (some a little too advanced, technologically, for me).
I am a learner. I always have been. Twitter (and other connected social media sites like google plus) allows me to continue to learn from some amazing people. It also does one other amazing thing: it equalizes everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student in a senior History class in New York, a professor of educational research in Melbourne, a teacher of maths in Sri Lanka, or an administrator in Coquitlam, we can all talk to each other around the issues we find interesting: sharing our stories.
I don’t think I could ever go back to the days before being connected. I wonder what the next 6 years will bring; what new tool or site will connect even more educators and let even more of us share our stories.