I'm still thinking about yesterday's post, "Are you a snob..." and the great comments I received. It made me think of my own use of Twitter and how it's changed over time. I started with Twitter when it was very new after reading about it on TechCrunch. At that time the majority of my professional development came from the RSS feeds I was following and reading on a daily basis.
Phase 1 of my Twitter experience was about a year of doing pretty much nothing with it. I really just didn't get it. Over time my network started to grow on Twitter and I started spending more and more time following the discussions going on there. As I spent more time on Twitter I found more and more people I enjoyed following and some that just annoyed me. I saw Twitter as a stream of information that I had to read every piece of - like email.
Phase 2 of my Twitter experience followed shortly after this as my network grew and grew. I found myself spending more time on Twitter and really letting my RSS aggregator suffer (there's only so much time in a day). I started using separate applications to follow my tweets like Snitter and Twhirl.
Phase 3 has just begun over the past month or so. I have switched my Twitter client to TweetDeck which has changed everything. I learned so much from this video from Jesse Newhart on "How to Effectively Follow 15000+ Users on Twitter... ." I don't believe I'll be looking to get quite that high anytime soon, but the lessons I learned from him have really helped me gain some balance back between my RSS aggregator and Twitter.
I would imagine most people have different experiences with the use of Twitter and their evolution would have some similarities and some differences. I agree with the comments from yesterday's post that how you use Twitter is completely up to you. You must evolve with it to make it the most useful tool for you. I find it as a great way to keep up with great tools, thoughts, and happenings in the EdTech world. I feel that Bill Ferriter (aka The Tempered Radical) put it very well...
I think the trap that we fall into when we use any social networking application for professional work is forgetting that the tool is about facilitating learning, not being popular. Judging one's influence through numbers overlooks the real purpose for jumping into any digital conversation.
I don't use Twitter to see how many thousands of people I can get to follow me (which should be pretty easy to see if you visit my Twitter page). I use it to facilitate my own professional learning and to expand my professional learning network. I must agree that I really don't care if the 'EdTech Rockstars' follow me or not. I'm just glad they are sharing what they are doing on Twitter.
Image: 'Twitter bird logo icon illustration'