Sitting idly in the passenger seat of our red minivan enroute to our Outer Banks vacation gave me extra time to investigate Twitter. Honestly, I was struggling with the rationale for this microblogging tool, or the need to post status updates so frequently.
A couple of weeks ago, I subscribed to some recommended Twitterers from an online article. However, since I do not have access to Twitter during the school day (no cell signal and blocked website) the number of tweets at the end of the day was simply overwhelming to review them all. Having continuous access makes all the difference, when I can view the tweets at perhaps a maximum number of a few dozen at a time they are manageable.
I noticed some interesting uses of Twitter.
- To collect data. Twitterers poll people in their PLN, or Personal Learning Network. Tweets with hyperlinks to surveys hosted by Google Forms. This was cool because you could go the the Google spreadsheet and view the instantaneous results of the survey.
- To advertise. Twitter is full of people trying to establish an online presence for themselves. I even found people with two Twitter accounts, using one to promote themselves on the other, for example to comment about how great their latest blog post was. Self-promotion is rampant on Twitter.
- To campaign. I was solicited for votes for someone running for an office in ISTE.
- To get answers to technology questions.
- To forward interesting tidbits found online to folks who may be interested.
- As a backchannel at a conference or meeting.
Is there a monetary value to building a large Twitter following? Is Twitter the key to becoming a leader in the world of Educational Technology? My observations lead me to believe this might be the case. How valuable is building a Twitter following in terms of business building? Can a business be built through Twitter? Maybe.