Contributed by Mark Barnes
In a recent conversation a couple of non-Twitter users told me that they don’t use Twitter because they don’t understand it. “It’s hashtag this and hashtag that,” one said. “I say ‘hashtag #It’sStupid.'”
I replied that I understand. “It’s not for everyone.”
Upon further contemplation of that discussion, I realized that what I said couldn’t be more wrong; Twitter is for everyone. Here’s why:
5 reasons everyone should be on Twitter
1 Twitter is free professional development: Not a lot of people understand what it means to use Twitter as a professional development tool. Most people believe Twitter is like Facebook, a place where people share personal information, like the coffee flavor they’re enjoying at Starbucks. I could write dozens of stories about how I have improved professionally from Twitter. For example, I teach online education courses about technology in the classroom. Most of the amazing tools I teach I found on Twitter, because someone in my network shared a link to the tool. Still confused about this? Take a look at the video below.
2 Twitter friends become real friends: Those who don’t understand Twitter believe people in a Personal Learning Network are mythical creatures who reside in a mysterious universe called, Cyberspace; they can’t be real. I have met hundreds of my Twitter friends in person. I’ve presented with dozens of them at conferences and forged real friendships with a few. Real friends are valuable and hard to come by; finding them in a so-called mythical world is amazing.
3 Twitter can bring you business: It would be difficult for me to calculate the money I’ve made that is directly related to my Twitter network; suffice to say, it’s tens of thousands of dollars. Twitter friends have given me consulting work, based solely on the relationship we built on Twitter. Twitter friends, who found my blog, website and books because they follow me on Twitter have not only bought my books, they have invited me to present at their schools. These powerful connections can’t be underestimated.
4 Twitter is global: Social media makes learning, connecting, and growing business global endeavors. Imagine what you can learn and how much you can increase your business when you have friends all over the world.
5 Twitter is easy: Of all the social networks I use, Twitter is the easiest. You can register for Twitter, create a profile, and start tweeting in about 5 minutes. Twitter makes it easy to find people to follow with a search engine that will locate people in your profession or who have similar interests. You may think, “But you have thousands of followers, and I have none.” Never fear; people will follow back. Create an interesting profile, follow hashtags of interest, and send a few tweets. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll build an amazing Personal Learning Network.
Why wait. Everyone in the world should be on Twitter. Oh, and if you need a friend, follow me here, and tweet me. I’ll follow you back, and your PLN will be off and running.
Mark Barnes is a veteran classroom teacher, education consultant, and author of the critically acclaimed Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom and The 5-Minute Teacher: How do I maximize time for learning in my classroom (ASCD, 2013). Mark is the creator of the internationally recognized how-to video site for teachers, learnitin5.com, and the popular online magazine, brilliant-insane.com. Mark tweets at the handle @markbarnes19.
He is the author of Assessment 3.0, Teaching the iStudent, and 5 Skills for the Global Learnerpart of the Corwin Connected Educators Series.