Jeanne Reed (shown above) has an excellent blog entry, Tweet, Tweet Goes the Teacher Who Wants to Connect and Learn, that likens learners new to Twitter in this way:
Follow or don’t follow people and companies on Twitter. Be true to yourself and enjoy your time online. You’ll find what suits you after a short period of time. Do follow a few #hashtags for meaningful learning experiences. A post by Rafranz Davis, Not Easily Offended on Twitter, is a comforting read if you’re concerned about how you might react to tweets or how others might react to your tweets.
She then offers her top 10 reasons for getting on twitter, of which I found these particularly worthy of repeating here (although all are certainly worth reflecting on):
#5 – Branch out and make new friends that may or may not have the same exact views as you do. The personal growth and journey of learning beyond the classroom walls, down the block, and finally globally is extraordinary.
This reminds me of the old term, the echo chamber, a practice that it is so easy to fall into, listening only to those whom you agree with. Not only is it important to explore a variety of perspectives, but those that challenge ideas that perhaps you haven’t thought through or held. Many of us avoid conflict, not realizing that disagreements on Twitter or in blogs are a way to explore ideas and their foundations. We may find ourselves, if transparent and open, willing to re-evaluate our thinking, to correct our understanding so as to gain a greater perspective, deeper insight.
7. Follow #hashtags that have meaning for you.
This one is certainly true, now that I have cwittered who I follow. Where I once thought following lots of people was the best way to get exposed to new ideas, I now realize that following lots of people is incredibly arduous and difficult to keep up with. Worse, it can takes hours and days to unfollow thousands of people you may have followed in error. Instead, it’s easier to find hashtags that are meaningful and track those.
Some ways to track them include the following:
- Add them to your saved Twitter searches. Want to quickly come back to a hashtag over time? Why not save it and then you can pull it up as you want to when you are looking for fresh ideas and perspectives?
- Encourage a Hashtag organizer to use Twubs.com. Twubs.com makes it easy to keep up with conversations and you can use it to allow others to send out tweets relevant to a hashtag. You can also use it to embed your hashtag-based searches on a web site, wiki or blog.
- Use Hootsuite.com to track your favorite twitter searches. Hootsuite, instead of one column, presents multiple columns of tweets as a dashboard of content that you can use to track multiple hashtag-based conversations at once.
FOR THE BRAVE
Another approach–if you’re feeling geeky–that once worked was this one:
Save your Twitter searches to an Evernote Notebook using IFTTT.com. Tweets with hashtags are easy to track using If This then That (IFTTT.com) service, which will funnel those relevant tweets to an Evernote Notebook that you can come back to and review at your leisure.
You can still generate RSS Feeds with Twitter if you use Feedity.com, a free RSS from any web page service provided you refine the search a bit, as shown below:
Then, you can view your favorite Twitter hashtags in an RSS reader such as Feedly:
The benefits of tracking a Twitter hashtag via RSS using Feedity is obvious, but, just in case, it allows you to “archive” this twitter stream and keep reading them without having to be present for the chat.
Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com