If you are new to Twitter, or any social media platform, you have probably done your share of lurking. Not creeping in the bushes with a flashlight kind of lurking…but watching the feed, reading through a chat or seeing what others post without contributing your own thoughts. I know I have and there is nothing wrong with that! I’ve been on Twitter awhile and I was all about the lurking and learning at first. It takes time to get used to the format, functionality and flow of any new platform. I had all kinds of questions like what’s the difference between the @names and #hashtags? What does this button do? Will they know if I follow/unfollow them? How do I make it do that? It can be a bit discombobulating trying to make sense of it all.
In the #txed chat earlier this month we got into a funny sidebar conversation about lurking and learning that led to the creation our new word – lurnking!
There is definitely some value in lurnking, just don’t stay there very long. Don’t be the kid at the back of the class that never speaks up. You’ll never experience the full value in connecting and learning (in person or on social media) until you move from lurnker to contributor. As with many endeavors in life – The more you give, the more you get!
I’ve purposefully become more active on Twitter participating and leading chats regularly. I cannot tell you how many great people I have met and actually feel connected to, even though we have not met face to face. I used to think social media was a way to stay connected to those I already knew and don’t see all the time. It is great for that, but there is so much more when you are willing to put yourself out there, share ideas and learn with others. That never would have happened if I stayed in lurnking mode! And the ideas – oh my goodness. They just never stop! I’ve had in depth conversations about dyslexia, professional learning, design thinking and learned all about #booksnaps from Tara Martin in just the last few weeks!
Twitter can be one scary place and educators really don’t need anyone else criticizing the important work we do. But I have found that educators who are active on Twitter are the most positive, supportive, smart, fun and energetic group of people. They are so committed that you could spend all your nights and weekends participating in learning conversations. I don’t recommend that because we all need unplugged time, but they will be there when you need them! You just may need to know where to find them. Read this if you need the basics of getting started on Twitter.
Here are some tips to find and connect with amazing educators on Twitter.
- Follow the Leaders: The amazing thing about Twitter is you can easily connect with education experts from all over the world in an instant. Here is a great list to get you started from Craig Kemp. You can find him @mrkempnz See who your favorites are following and connect with them too!
- Education Hashtags: There is a hashtag for everything! New to the principalship? search #cpchat (connected principals). Want to learn more about flipped classrooms and byod – no problem – #flipclass and #byod will get you there. George Couros recently asked his followers about their favorite education hashtags to follow. It was fun to see what was shared! Here is the complete list of education hashtags put together by TeachThought.com Maybe your campus or school district already has a #hashtag to follow, so you are able to share and see all the great learning happening with your school community. If not you should look into getting that started! My former campus uses #AustinLearns and it is awesome to keep up with them. What’s your hashtag, I would love to see what’s going on at your school?!
- Education Chats: Many educators have specific days and times to meet for a chat focused on different topics. There is no lack of chats to join, the trick is finding what is relevant and important for you. Here is the official list of education chats for twitter. If your is not on there, you can submit to have it added. Once you’ve participated in some Twitter chats and are no longer a lunrker, you may want to host your own. Here are some great tips on hosting your own chat.
Maybe you’ve already found your network, know all about social media and moved out of lurnker mode. If so, congratulations! If not, I hope you feel a bit more empowered to join the amazing conversation in education. We need your voice to be a part of it!
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