I’m a Twitter Fan
Many know that I am a fan of Twitter. But honestly it is an “after-hours” tool for the most part for me. Twitter is blocked at school, and unless I want to ask a question to my network of Twitter friends during the work day, I don’t have time to login to the filter and then login to Twitter to follow it. My portal allows presence for a short window of time, and who wants to continuously login into the filter to follow it–it is more of a burden to check Twitter at school than the effort is worth, unless I have a question I know I can get answered there.
A Positive Example
Here is an example of how I have really used Twitter at school–a need I knew Twitter could quickly offer assistance with:
And as expected, I received several suggestions in a short amount of time to meet my need. Check it out:
So how many is too many?
Recently I’ve gotten many requests to follow seemingly strangers from Twitter. In the last three days there were 25. I’ve tried to figure out if there was a rhyme or reason, like maybe someone in a workshop demonstrated the power of having a Twitter network, or had the participants create an account and follow anyone in their presenter’s network. I really don’t know. But I thought I would just share how I decide to add people to my network, the ones I can rely on for feedback, support, or quick answers.
How to Cultivate a Network in Twitter
- Does anyone else in my network seem to interact with them? This is easy to see because when I click on their page, I can see the @ on the page. Have to be leery of those using the @ with Will Richardson, David Warlick, and maybe even David Jakes because these guys just do not follow many people. The @ does NOT mean they are interacting, though. It could simply mean they are a “wannabe” friend in Twitter. But in their favor, they are likely twittering about topics of interest if those names appear. Higher attention gets paid to @’s that are from my existing network.
- On that same page, I see what information is provided in the profile. Okay I need to make a disclaimer here. I realize people do not always include a lot of specifics. I guess the fear that they will be known in person makes some people use creative names and and strive for anonymity, but gosh darn, if I can’t tell what your professional context is (i.e. educator, etc.) I may just not follow you. Here, though, is a prime example of who I would NEVER follow (whose identity I tried to protect, though I’m guessing this person would not care.):
- From the profile I always look at the bio and the number of followers/following. In this example, you can see he or she has questionable (at least to me) hobbies, and is following 25,000+ people. How can anyone follow that many people and get anything out of Twitter?
- Also note for so many people this person is following, he or she has only updated 45 times. Since I use Twitter to interact with other educators, and add to my own learning as well, I don’t see this person making much of a contribution.
- I would go so far as to say these are the people that cause schools to filter tools like Twitter. Glad I can lay off these kind of people. I’m not so sure a middle schooler could though…so I do not argue that Twitter is blocked at school. I’m just glad I have a way access it for needs like the one outlined above.
So what do I want?
I want those in my network who suggest their friends who are new to Twitter follow anyone in their network PLEASE give them an introduction of sorts. If I hear it from you, then I might follow them. Otherwise, I’m content to stay with the group who currently resides in my Twitter network. I am stingy in giving out Twitter “love” (by adding unknown folks.) So if you want me to reconsider you’d better start interacting with others in my network.
Last, Twitter offers the option to make your profile and updates secure. I have done that at one time, but don’t anymore. If I get twitter @’s from people who make me uncomfortable, I block them which is also an option available in the tool. It makes me sad that there are people who get satisfaction from using a tool like Twitter in this way. I blocked this person right away.
Anyone have more tips for using Twitter as a networking tool?