From the “I still don’t get it” File…

I still don’t get Twitter.  I really want to.  I am trying hard to see how it can help me in my everyday work as a principal.  I wrote a post about this same topic on my old blog a long time ago.

I do see the importance of blogging, wikis, and social network sites such as Ning.  But the Twitter concept, with its 140 word maximum, escapes me.

I experienced a glimmer of understanding last weekend when I was Twittering from the NAESP conference, and a few others were joining me.  But, mostly, I see a lot of nothing being twittered.  The whole concept of “What are you doing” breeds worthless chatter among the Twitter-ites.  Do I really care that Budtheteacher is eating burgers, or that EvanCourtney is getting his basement ready for ping pong?  These are real Twitter posts that were written today.

I recently received an email letting me know that a 5th grade student from my school is now following me on Twitter.  I also have some of my students’ parents following me as well.  It’s a little weird.  I mean, I joined Twitter to broaden my professional relationships, not to chat with 10 year olds or write Tweets that might come across offensive to the taxpayers who are paying my salary.

That leaves me with the following three options:  1.  Ignore the followers and still write whatever I want on Twitter;  2.  Write only very PC stuff on Twitter regardless of how I am really feeling at the moment;  3.  Block all those who I do not want following me at the risk of offending them greatly (I think they get an email stating that I have blocked them.  Is that true?).

So I am not sure what to do about this minor dilemma.  Interestingly, the other day I read a post written on Mark’s Learning Log where Mark Walker asked the same question about Twitter.  He also posted this very funny video.

On the other hand, I have been playing around with Facebook, and I am liking it.  There is a Twitter-like section on Facebook where you can answer the question “What’s on your mind?”  The posts are added to all of my friends’ Facebook pages.  It appears as if the difference between this and Twitter is that I have more control over who I allow to be my “friend” on Facebook.  That makes me more comfortable with the concept of posting innane comments like “I had broiled salmon and a baked potato for dinner tonight.”  It is the same Twitteresque nonsense, but at least I am among friends.

I will be playing around with Facebook for the next few weeks to see if it fits with my lifestyle.  Unfortunately, Facebook is blocked by my school district, so I can’t use it at work to connect with principal colleagues.  Interestingly, Twitter is not blocked.

Does that mean I will be Facebooking at home and Twittering at school?

I really need to get a life…


6 thoughts on “From the “I still don’t get it” File…

  1. Dave, You make very good point. I guessing you haven’t hit the “tipping point” of twitter yet. There are a group of us principals on twitter now and it seems night time conversations are the most convenient for all of them.
    You need to follow these principals:
    @t_condren – she is really new to twitter too

    We are also doing a book study via twitter sort of so if you send me your email address I will add you to our book study. Don’t give up too soon. It took me a year to hit the twitter “tipping point” where it started to make sense. yes I post mundain stuff all the time too but I think Facebook is worse about mindless stuff.
    Hang in there and follow those above:)

  2. Melinda,
    Thanks for the comment. I would like to converse with a group of principals on Twitter. Here is my issue, however. I have so many followers who I do not know (like 100), that whenever I am on Twitter, there is a lot of meaningless chatter which interferes with a good conversation. All of these people are twittering like crazy, and it is annoying.

    Is there a way to create a private room on Twitter where all of the principals you mentioned could meet? If not, it is really hard to discuss in a serious manner – especially if you are discussing a book.

    Am I missing something with Twitter?

    I think sites like Ning may be better for professional development. I created one called Illinois Principals, but it could be used for all principals.

  3. Dave try Tweetdeck. It will allow for a column devoted to a group, and YOU decide who is in that group. Cuts down dramatically on the “chatter” and noise. You can have a column for those you follow, replies, dms, groups, and more. Best, it self updates and you do not have to refresh to see new material.

  4. Cathy,
    Thanks for the Tweetdeck recommendation. I have tried it and it looks promising.

    I am now following most of the Twitter names you gave me above (some did not work). Look for me to Tweet from the deck! Maybe this will be what I was looking for.


  5. Melinda said most of what I was going to say (I’ll forgive her for leaving me off the list!) I have only been on twitter for a few weeks and have quickly become addicted to the great ideas and sharing of resources. I have a lot of followers and those that I follow, however, most of the sharing is with other principals (because that’s the PLN I’m seeking).
    The principal job is lonely and twitter is really helping me out!

  6. One more thought….Twitter and nings 9as many other 2.0 apps) have rss feeds and can be enjoyed form the comfort of an rss reader. it is just another way to be innvolved and aware without having to bounce all over the internet.

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