Twitter has the potential to serve as a tool that can quickly and easily connect you to hundreds, even thousands, of educators around the world.
Since some of you may already be using Twitter, I've divided this discussion post into three sections. A: Twitter for Newbies B: For Experienced Tweeters followed by C: Who should I follow?

A: Twitter for Newbies
Here's a great introduction simply explaining what Twitter is from the folks at Common Craft: Twitter in Plain English
I've worked with numerous educators who are resistant to put themselves "out there" using social media, specifically with a microblogging format such as Twitter. It's often thought as a way for celebrities and people with nothing better to do to share the minutia of their lives with the world (lots of food photos shared, too :)
However, when used in a professional manner, Twitter can open up a world of opportunities, help educators form relationships with colleagues and experts from around the world, and give the administrator instant access to a wealth of resources, feedback, and support.
Before you get started, it's helpful to understand some basic Twitter terminology. I will review that and more in this introductory screencast for you! I will walk you through the account creation process, too. Enjoy :)

Twitter Intro from Lyn Hilt on Vimeo.


external image anatomyofatweet.png?width=750
The anatomy of a tweet description
Here's a great post on the Twitter "modes"- the different types of conversations you may see emerge among those in your network
10 steps for educators new to Twitter by Justin Tarte
Building a professional learning network on Twitter from Tom Whitby
Educators, do you tweet? from Eric Sheninger
An educator's guide to Twitter from Steven Andersen
Educational leader Patrick Larkin on Twitter's uses for administrators:


After creating your account, check out section C of this post for finding some great educators to follow to get information into your streams!

B. For Experienced Tweeters
You have an account, your profile is complete with description and image, and you follow a number of folks. You contribute regularly to the conversations! How can you take your Twitter use to the next level?
Participate in a synchronous chat
Hashtags are used to "tag" and organize topics on Twitter. Educators have created hashtags that help organize the conversations around certain grade levels, content areas, and specialties such as administration and instructional coaching.
"Cybraryman" aka Jerry Blumengarten is an excellent resource for all things education and digital. He's compiled a list of Twitter hashtag/chat resources that includes this "official Twitter chat schedule" of weekly Twitter chats with hashtags, days of the week, and times that the chats occur. An excellent resource! Recentlythis Google calendar of Twitter chats was also published for your reference!
Here are some ways Twitter can be used to support PD efforts:
Utilizing Twitter chats for professional development via Tom Murray


To make your tweeting lives easier, consider the use of an application such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to organize your various streams. I use Tweetdeck externally on my Mac for most of my Twitter usage (it can also be used right in your browser). I rarely visit my actual Twitter page unless I need to change something in my profile. On my mobile device I use Twitter for the iPhone, although Hootsuite offers a mobile platform too.
Twitter 102 for Educators from Josh Stumpenhorst:



C. Who should I follow?
This is a key question. If you do not follow quality contributors, you will not find Twitter to be a very useful tool because no good resources will come through your streams!
Here are twenty must-follow educational contributors (in my opinion, and there are MANY others, this is a great list to get started!)

Will Richardson @willrich45
Josh Stumpenhorst @stumpteacher
Kyle Pace @kylepace
Joe Mazza @joe_mazza
George Couros @gcouros
John Spencer @johntspencer
Bill Ferriter @plugusin
Jeff Delp @azjd
Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin
Eric Sheninger @e_sheninger
Pam Moran @pammoran
Chris Lehmann @chrislehmann
Dean Shareski @shareski
Chris Wejr @chriswejr
Scott McLeod @mcleod
Kristen Swanson @kristenswanson
Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller
Tom Murray @thomascmurray
Rich Kiker @rkiker
Andrew Marcinek @andycinek
Edutopia @edutopia
Jose Vilson @thejlv
Kristen Swanson @kristenswanson
Silvia Tolisano @langwitches
Dwight Carter @dwight_carter
Joe Sanfillipo @joesanfillipofc
Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy
Ken Zimmerman @iu13ims
Rafranz Davis @rafranzdavis

Here's a crowd-sourced document titled Connected Educational Leaders which links to a number of educators' blogs and Twitter accounts! Feel free to add to this list at any time!
And here.... wait for it... is a ginormous spreadsheet of Twitter users, categorized by specialty area, that you can peruse to find more folks to follow. Add your name to list!
As I've discovered you on Twitter, I've tried to add you to a Twitter list for our admin team. Twitter lists help you organize groups of users to more easily follow their activity.

Please tell Lyn your Twitter handle so she can help you connect with other educators and help you build a robust PLN.
See you in the Twitterverse!