Twitter gives me a headache…

A week after diving into Cohort 21, the speed at which my head has been spinning is finally starting to slow down.

It has been a strange week. I spent Monday resting a back ache, then I caught a cold and spent  Tuesday and Wednesday home sick watching Barney and Dora with my sick 3 year-old. It might have been partially because I could barely breath out my nose, but I found myself awake in the middle of the night thinking of things I could be tweeting, of posts I should be reading and of things I could be doing in my classroom. One morning while trying to tune out Barney, I tried what Garth had suggested, and was checking Twitter on my phone. I felt completely overwhelmed with all the posts that were showing up in my feed, and was feeling guilty for not having the energy to read about “How game-based learning influences design thinking?” or “12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know”. Throughout the day (and week), my phone was beeping and buzzing with updates not only from my fellow “Cohorters”, but from educational experts from around the world…it was all just giving me a headache! By Wednesday, I felt I needed to take a break. Was I already in too deep 5 days into this experience?

Luckily, by Wednesday evening, everyone was feeling much better, and Thursday was back to the normal daycare/work routine. My work day began with our monthly faculty meeting, and as luck (?) would have it, the main topic of discussion was technology. After some initial school business and announcements, we broke into 3 groups and rotated through 3 sessions. My first one….Twitter…I felt a bit of trepidation and anxiety. As my group sat around the large table in the Archives, I listened to how our residential housemasters are using Twitter as an extra tool to communicate with parents. They are tweeting house events and pictures, and are retweeting tweets from sports teams if  one of their members is mentioned. What a fantastic and quick way to disseminate information, and help parents not feel quite so far away from their sons in boarding, I thought. Next, another colleague, Melissa, started showing us how she was using Twitter to take in information, by building her PLN (my ears perked up). As she was logging into her account, the questions from the group started flying: “Isn’t Twitter blocked on the school firewall?”, “How many parents are following Sifton House?”, “How much time does this take you?”, ” Can someone PLEASE explain what a hash tag is?!”  Suddenly, amidst all these questions, I started to feel more comfortable. I knew the answer to at least some of these questions! I quickly opened up my Google Drive and found our trusty folder with the workshop materials and found the Language of Twitter page we had been given and shared it with a few of my colleagues. As the questions were answered, and the presentation continued, one thing Melissa said really struck a cord. She also said she checks her Twitter on her phone. For her, it is normally when she has a few minutes while she waits for her kids at the bus stop. Melissa acknowledged there was a lot of information to filter through. She suggested scrolling through a few tweets, and grabbing anything of interest that might be there. You will miss some tweets, but you just need to let it go.  Let it go – she was right. I couldn’t read it all, I needed to be ok with missing an amazing, useful, inspiring tweet.  If it is really something that worthwhile, someone will probably retweet it anyway, right?

With those few words, let it go, I left the session feeling a lot more at ease about the journey we have embarked on as part of Cohort 21. I actually felt like a semi-expert after being on Twitter for all of 6 days, and realizing that I wasn’t the only one who was initially overwhelmed by the information overload it provides.

With the initial anxiety and feeling of being overwhelmed subsiding, I’m looking forward to see where this week takes me!


6 thoughts on “Twitter gives me a headache…

  1. HI Carolyn,

    Great post, and no doubt many people will empathize with you. One thing that I can strongly suggest is the use of Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, or even by setting up lists. These are organizational tools that will help you filter through all that information.

    I heard Melissa speak at the CIS Ontario curriculum leaders conference, and really enjoyed her presentation – she’ll be a good sounding board for you no doubt!

    Glad everyone is feeling better!

  2. Hey there Carolyn,

    Yeah, I definitely have that Twitter headache feeling. I haven’t been at it as much as you have and I am still trying to figure out hashtags vs @marks and all that jazz – it is definitely intimidating. Another week is upon us so hopefully you and your little troopers stay well !

    Cheers, Brad

  3. Hey Carolyn. Glad we’re in this together. I shall be gleaning all that I can from you about what C21 is doing… Such cool stuff. If you want a quick tour of Tweetdeck, I’m around :). And BTW I was so overwhelmed with Twitter when I first joined that I put it down…. For 3 years! Haha

  4. I hear you on the twitter headache! With such a busy life I only want to accommodate new tools if they really add net value. The verdict is still out on twitter but I’m investing what I can to give it a fair chance! 🙂

  5. I loved reading this post…I feel like this with so many new tools as well. I think Twitter was one of the C21 tools that took me the longest to understand and appreciate. Once you start playing around with it (and I highly recommend Tweetdeck for this), it can be a happy friend in your toolbelt, rather than a mysterious, unknown stranger.

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