Twitter is a microblogging tool that is all the rage right now. In a nutshell, you answer a question about what you are doing in a 140 character post. You follow people to see what they are doing; people follow you to see what you are doing. This can lead to what some may consider inane exchanges of information. Do you really want to know if someone is at Starbucks enjoying a latte?!?!?!
In the education world, Twitter is being used in deeper ways. For instance, educators are sharing useful links to websites and articles. Others are asking people in their virtual Twitter networks to participate in polls or to offer advice on curriculum. Twitter is also a great way for keeping up with experts and organizations related to education. For instance, you can follow the latest happenings at NASA, PBS and National Geographic.
I'm a big fan of Twitter because I believe it allows you take control of your own professional development. You can receive just in time advice, resources, and virtual colleagues based on your professional goals and interests. Once you get the hang of Twitter, I think you'll find it empowering and removes some of the isolation that classroom teachers traditionally may feel.
I have three basic bits of advice regarding Twitter:
1. Choose a username that is recognizable. Put your picture as your icon. People will associate you with this online persona, so think carefully about this.
2. Follow as many people as possible. You need a certain amount of people in your network to get the exchange of information flowing.
3. Don't try to keep up with the stream of information. Jump in when you can.
4. Share resources that you find. The more you share, the more good Twitter karma will come back to you.
5. Look at your friends' followers. Very often you can find other interesting people to follow by examining the networks of others.
6. I protect my Twitter stream, but I don't necessarily advise doing this. I did it to prevent spam Twitterers, but it honestly didn't help much. I still get strange people trying to follow me. If you keep your stream open, you'll attract more followers in general.
Here are some other resources for you to try:
Math and Science Related Twitterers