This morning, I woke up to find an automatic tweet on my Twitter account.
Wow! 11 years. I still remember when I first joined Twitter as a way to connect with other educators as I moved from Kindergarten to Grade 1. I saw what Zoe Branigan-Pipe did through her Twitter connections, and I was eager to solidify some of these professional connections as well. It’s been a really interesting 11 years, and my use of Twitter — including how I connect with others — has changed over the years. A closer exploration of the numbers helps me tell my Twitter story.
12,000 – This is the number of people that I’m following. When people associated with education follow me, I follow them back. I remember a Twitter discussion with George Couros many years ago, when he spoke about doing something similar. The following can encourage discussion. It can give others an audience for their voices. I recall my first few days on Twitter, when I only had a couple of connections. I felt as though I was talking into a giant wind tunnel, and I was the only person hearing the echo of my thoughts. As I interacted more online, more people followed me. I was no longer just talking to myself. This inspired me to share more, but it also inspired me to read more of what others shared. While I always attempt to read a couple of educational books a year, I’m not a big reader of long educational reads. But thanks to those that I follow, I’ve found way more blog posts and educational articles to read. I now make professional reading a part of my day, even if it’s not in a heavy 200+ page book.
12,400 – The number of people that follow me. The interesting thing about big numbers though is that you often get lost in a sea of tweets. The same holds true with the number of people that I follow. My timeline updates 24 hours a day. There’s no way that I can read everything, and I know that there’s no way that my followers can read everything that I tweet. Sometimes a hashtag helps. Occasionally mentioning specific people in my tweets assists with spreading the word. But I know that a lot of what I say just gets lost out there. Maybe that’s okay. Sometimes it’s just the process of saying things that makes me feel better, and for those individuals that might happen upon these words, I hope that they mean something to them. I also try to engage with people who have contrary views to me: this sparks discussion and helps me see things differently.
191,200 – The number of tweets that I’ve sent in 11 years. Apparently, I feel far more confident writing things down than I do saying them in person. It’s interesting to see how my tweets have evolved over the years though.
- I used to engage in a lot of conversations. I still do with some people, but usually around topics of interest: play, inquiry, Self-Reg, parent engagement, and kindergarten. Twitter has become a lot more political in the past few years, or maybe that’s just the nature of the people that I follow. I understand. There are a lot of important issues being discussed, and sometimes we all need to speak up. As Doug Peterson mentioned in a recent blog post, I try to be positive. As a result, occasionally I struggle with the tone and feel of some discussions. How will others interpret my words? Am I correctly interpreting theirs? So sometimes I read along and become the passive observer, sometimes I chime in with a question/wonder, and sometimes I avoid the tweets altogether.
- Now I share more. During the school year, my sharing is often around classroom happenings. In the summer, I often tweet about books. Linking my Instagram account to Twitter means that many of my posts are cross-posted from there. I also share my professional blog posts through Twitter, along with other blog posts that I read each day. If I add a comment to a blog post, I usually tweet about it as well. My summer camp position also has me tweeting about aha moments and wonders. Am I a selfish tweeter? At times, I think so. But I also believe that people should use social media in ways that work for them. While my use of Twitter has changed over the years, I wonder if it will change again in the years to come. Maybe it’s almost cyclical in nature.
- I’ve learned when to log-off. Our world right now is scary, and with the Ministry announcement for September, the tweets have begun. There are wonders. There are concerns. There is fear. I understand it all, and I do peruse a lot. But sometimes I need to walk away. It becomes overwhelming for me, and I can’t stop the questions. I need to wait and see what our Board shares after August 4th, and then I can go from there. The number of my tweets ebb and flow, and as August nears, I wonder if I will begin to observe a change in the pattern.
For those that have been a part of these numbers, thank you! For the many people that I have engaged with, met with, and learned from over the past 11 years, thank you! For those that have challenged me, inspired me, and caused me to reflect, thank you! My Twitter experiences may have changed over the years, but I’m still incredibly grateful that I joined this social network. What have your Twitter years looked like? All of our numbers tell a story, and I would love to hear yours.
Nice review of things, Aviva. Thanks for sharing that.
You missed the one big moment though – when you elected to change your Twitter name! Remember how we had a chance to vote?
Oh yes, Doug! How did I forget to include that?
Thanks for being an important part of my Twitter journey.