I will admit: I was skeptical of Twitter. I was one of those people: "What's the point of Twitter?"; "What can you do with only a few sentences?"; "What type of people spend their time simply reading what other people 'tweet'?"
I probably should tell the story of how I even got introduced to Twitter. This summer, I was in Atlanta with a group of six guys, taking in a weekend of July Atlanta Braves baseball. My buddy John was talking about Twitter and how he believed I had an account. I told him that I never use Twitter and had no idea what in the world he was talking about. He got a bit frustrated and said, "You are telling me that there is some other 'Craig Smith' that lives in 'Huntersville' that is a big enough Michigan fan to name his account 'CSmithGoBlue'?"
Apparently, in 2009, when I received my first Blackberry, I created a Twitter handle simply because the App was on my phone. I never used it. I never logged in. I completely forgot about it. My buddy John told me, "Log-in with your normal password, see if it works." Sure enough, it was an account I had created. I had NO IDEA how this single moment was going to impact my life professionally.
I found myself starting to investigate what this Twitter thing was all about, mostly while lounging around at the pool or with evening baseball on in the background (anyone else LOVE summer?). I stumbled across many educators that were using Twitter to share educational articles, professional development, and simply conduct ongoing conversations. I was blown away...people were using Twitter for more than "socializing"...they were using social media to better themselves as instructional leaders, teachers, school executives, etc.
When we started school, I mentioned that Ashbrook High School needed a Twitter account (@AshbrookHS) to help promote the school and share important information. Not only am I using Twitter to better myself professionally, but also am assisting to transform our school to 21st-century communication.
Now, there isn't a single day that goes by where I don't find useful resources via Twitter. I have "met" many school leaders that not only provide ideas, but inspire me to be a better administrator every day. In my Weekly Update's to my teachers, I always provide at least one instructional resource or article, and the majority of these have been found through Twitter.
I began conducting conversations with teachers about the endless benefit from utilizing Twitter. Some, like myself, seemed skeptical of how they could benefit from this social media. But, many teachers have voiced enthusiasm about getting "on board" with Twitter to reach out and share with other teachers in their respective disciplines.
I have even contacted some individuals that manage the professional development for our entire district and offered to conduct PD on how Twitter can better the educator, hoping to first work with other administrators and eventually offer the training to teachers. Hopefully, my district will take me up on the potential of providing PD to administrators across the district. If not, I may simply conduct an "unofficial" PD off-site somewhere in a very casual setting.
I find myself frequently saying, "Trust me, there is so much you can gain from Twitter." Amazing. I used to be one of those skeptics. Now, I'm an advocate.
Thanks for reading and please follow me via Twitter @CSmithGoBlue
The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.