Twitter Tapestry

As I continue to peruse Twitter for all things edtech-related and concerning Tennessee education, I have expanded the group that I follow immensely. I am reminded of the statement that Adam Taylor (@2footgiraffe) made about how Twitter is like a waterfall from we must only expect to get a cupful of information or collaboration at a time. When I initially began following some fellow Tennessee educators and education enthusiasts, I found mostly people promoting their own interests and blogs. Though this still continues on a pretty large scale, I have found others who are also engaging in more altruistic collaboration and an interest to share their successes, struggles, and discoveries in the world of Common Core State Standards and other education-related subjects.

I have begun to follow more administrators around the world who are experiencing all sorts of results of integration of RTI, Common Core, and various other initiatives. Despite the frequency with which I monitor Twitter, I do scan tweets fairly rapidly, looking for particular noteworthy items, especially those that I think will appeal to and engage or inspire my followers. I re-tweet far more than I originally tweet, thus reducing the attribution of much ingenuity to myself, but hoping to be relied upon more as a disseminator of useful tools than as a source of great profundity (which I feel is quite difficult to express in 140 characters, anyway).

For those who continue to be intimidated by Twitter or who are still convinced that Twitter is simply a celebrity venue for communicating their mundane experiences and gossip throughout the day, I would encourage you to look beyond what can be potentially an overwhelming flow of random chatter and to avoid the Twitter litter typically produced by sophomoric casual conversationalists and predatory saboteurs to see the true resources and tools that are shared daily and motivation of fellow educators who are in the trenches seeking the same goal, what is best for our children. I would advise those just beginning their Twitter journeys to find a friend who is already rather Twitter-savvy to assist in what may seem some simple strategies to focus on what you may really be seeking.

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Avoiding Twitter Litter

As of late, I have been mildly irritated by the disadvantages of using social media, namely the spammers and the shameless advertisers. However, because I find great advantages in using the freely provided venue of Twitter for professional growth, collaboration, and networking, I have chosen to endure these with a few strategies to aid in my avoiding such annoyances.

The first is a pretty obvious one to most Twitter users, the “Report for Spam” and “Block User” buttons. When I find that I have a new follower with inappropriate tweets or an @ mention that contains a shortened URL attempting to send others to some potentially malicious location, I am very comfortable using these two buttons to prevent the users, authentic or Spambots, from interfering in my online adventure.

More recently, I have seen spammers subjecting certain hashtags to their filth; one of the most unfortunate of these in my experiences is the ever-popular #satchat. I noticed this morning that a new hashtag, #satchatec had replaced this for some participants. It was not long, however, before this too was being overrun by inappropriate drivel from multiple tweeters with lewd comments and photos of scantily clad women associated with them. My only proposed solution to this is to develop yet another hashtag (which will likely be discovered by followers of popular hashtags who intend to sabotage them) or to develop a keen sense for who the major contributors to the hashtag are to identify who will pose questions and whose views you most want to see expressed. I follow these users to include them in my general Twitter feed. Certainly, this form of filtering will neglect some of the new contributors, but a re-direct to another forum or venue for continued conversation may deter the spammers from pursuing the conversation further. I am particularly fond of TitanPad.com or TodaysMeet as venues for open conversation which can later be referenced.

As for the advertisement disruptions on Twitter, I am willing to encounter these in favor of opportunities to win Twitter contests or to discover some new gadget, and Twitter seems to keep these sponsors to a minimum for the numerous positive elements that the social media giant presents. One or two ads appearing at the top of my Twitter feed does not do much to dissuade me from the wealth of resources I find beneath them. I simply scroll down.

Although I would love to see additional tools provided (which may already exist but of which I am currently unaware) to prevent the static in the Twitterverse, I am quite content with the discernment that I can use to navigate through the tweets and make my own discoveries fairly painlessly. The garbage that makes it into the Twitter feeds is more disturbing perhaps than some of the trash found strewn on the shoulders of a busy highway, and the reporting of spammers takes a little longer to execute than the process of simply picking up items to throw them away, but I am thankful to Twitter that such tools exist to maintain some level of appropriateness for those of us who wish to encounter new ideas without repeated exposure to the same menaces of spam.

My Web Presence – In Need of Updates

As I have been increasingly spending time on Twitter, I find myself with numerous websites in need of updating. Because most apps will allow me to tweet content, I find it very cumbersome to return to websites and editors to update the content on my websites. In a sense, Twitter is my most up-to-date, yet least visually appealing, web presence. Realizing this, I still have a hard time cutting ties with the hours of work that went in to my old websites. Here are a few of my old websites that I hope still contain some valuable links and content (despite my negligence in updating them):

Mr. Fuhrman’s 3×3 (Main Site)

Freesources

Of course, I have a few more than this, but not that have enough to share without some major updating.

My Twitter accounts, however, are fairly current:

@tfuhrman

@LES_Lynchburg

If I do indeed begin to update my websites (which is somewhat unlikely given my intent to blog), I will provide links on my blog and/or Twitter accounts.