I write this blog today, after several days of thinking about the twitter perfect world we live in. I follow people who inspire me, uplift me, encourage me, and at the end of the day, will help me if I ask. On the flip side, who is following me? Well in the last two weeks, over 200 new people felt what I had to share was worthy of their time, and for that I am thankful. The realistic part of twitter followers for me is a two part vision. First, new followers in education, become people I in turn follow. So in two weeks, I found 200 new people to learn from. SCORE! The second part, is that those followers can share my ideas with others. How many of us choose to follow someone, simply because we see someone we follow, share them as a resource? I have, many times, and with much success. The best part of new followers is that one day you might get to meet them, and find out just how much you truly have in common.
Rodney Turner is my first example.. After a co-following twitter adventure I finally met him at #iste13. Turns out we actually like each other… 🙂 Also turns out that we really have some things in common with regards to our passion in education. Lastly… I discovered we also have in common a huge need to have the lighting be perfect when taking selfies!
Amanda Dykes is another great follower story I have. When I first started on twitter about 2 1/2 years ago, I was new to the whole game. One of the first people I followed was Amanda. At that time, I assumed it was like the elementary school playground, and if I played nice with you, you would play nice with me. So when Amanda didn’t follow me back immediately, I was unsure why. In time, I found Amanda and I had a few things in common. Our kids are the same ages, we LOVE #shoesinedu, and we had similar ideas about education. So I did the craziest thing… I started sending her tweets. Several tweets… and engaging in conversations made up of 140 characters at a time. Then one day she followed me. Amanda is the reason I am one of the directors of #EdcampATL. She connected me with Nikki Robertson when I announced I was moving to Atlanta last year, and had no #edcamp friends at all. I didn’t meet Amanda until #iste13 – but the connections I made with her long before that day made it seem like a reunion, not an initial meeting at all.
So my final message is this. If you followed new people, engage them in conversation. Share ideas and build relationships. Following alone is just a numbers game… the value is when you reach out, connect, share, and make it a PLN, not just a following. I highly suggest you read Amanda’s blog post about #iste13 in regards to people, and how they are the most important tool in learning. Follow the hyperlink on her name to read that!