John Evans sent me a message on twitter this morning that reminded me of his twitter birthday. Of course, being the curious type, I went to check my own.
Ends up my five year twitter birthday is coming up in only a few days.
I remember not really getting it when I first heard about twitter. I didn’t sign up at the beginning. Then, a little later, Darren Kuropatwa was doing a few inservices with librarians and had them signing up so I thought I better jump in.
Ends up it was a good idea.
I occasionally have a love – hate relationship with the service, but overall, it has absolutely widened my network, changed the people I communicate with, and has been the best place for connecting with new people that I have found online. I’ve found hundreds of new resources to use in my classroom and hundreds of professional resources that have helped me to see literacy, learning, technology and knowledge in new ways. I’ve been challenged, offended and had my share of good laughs from things I’ve found on twitter.
Being there for 5 years (which is about 163 in internet years), I’ve also seen the service evolve from a novelty/interesting place of connection, through to becoming an essential source of news and communication. I remember when hashtags and RT’s first came around. I remember hearing of the tragically downed Air France flight 447 that was flying from Rio to Paris and the death of Michael Jackson first on twitter. I followed the uprisings in Iran, Egypt and Syria closely on twitter. A service that is evolving and continues to change through the people who use it and the lexicons they can dream up.
Overall, I think twitter is a service that needs time to percolate before it becomes any use to a person. You need to build a network and actually talk to people. You need to wade through the garbage that is posted there and doesn’t interest you. You need to be patient and find the people who are right for you and your interests. It will give you very little in a day or a week, but over a month or two, the conversations you have, the people you connect with, and the resources you’ll find will leave you wondering how you ever did without it.