How Twitter Saved My Career and My Family

I admit, the title of this post may be a tad hyperbolic. However, many people have asked me what I get out if Twitter and I would like to address that question. Now, I don’t believe that one has to “get” anything for an activity to be worthwhile. I have experiences great benefits, both tangible and intangible, from using Twitter.
Let’s start with the intangible. I just finished my third year teaching. The difference between how I taught last year and how I taught 3 years ago is unexplainable. To put it bluntly, my first two years teaching, I was awful. I would like to apologize to my former students for many of the mistakes I made. Much of the problem was not daily mistakes, but rather foundational problems in my own philosophical approach to teaching and learning. I was always trying to learn and improve. By the second semester of my second year teaching, I had found Twitter and Google Reader. My rate of learning and improvement increased exponentially because suddenly I was supported by and learning from hundreds of brilliant educators. I really credit the successes that I have experienced on my career to the wonderful group of people I interact with on a daily basis.
Second, there have been less abstract benefits to using Twitter. One of the helpful members of my PLN, Howard Chan, was instrumental in bringing me to Las Vegas to present at a conference in August (I will be at the Rio Hotel on Aug 3rd speaking about Moodle, open-source technology, and the next-gen library). This has helped me to start my own consulting business, JTB Consulting (see the about button up top for more info).
The people on Twitter helped me to start an awesome unconference called TeachMeet Nashville. It was awesome to meet members of my PLN from IA, NC, GA, KY, TN, AL, NY, the UK, and other places in person. Amazingly, TeachMeets are now going to happen in TN, KY, and Ga next year, and possibly NY and LA. The event was only as great as it was because of the people on Twitter.
My career has also looked up. I hope to make an official announcement in the next week or two, but I am going to be working within driving distance of family. I was 1,000 miles away. The administrator heard about me and reached out to me because other members of my PLN on Twitter recommended me. My wife and I are thrilled to be moving closer to family (particularly my wife).
Lastly, Twitter likely saved my wife from unnecessary surgery. My wife and I just had our second child and we had to have a C-section with our first child because she was breached (upside-down). Every doctor in our town wanted to do a repeat C-section. My wife found a thriving and helpful community of parents, midwives, doctors, doulas, and birth advocates. They gave us outstanding advice and pointed us to resources to do our own research. Thankfully, we chose to go with a midwifery group in another city. Thanks to them, the research done by my wife, and the help of people on Twitter, I have a healthy baby and a healthy wife. No surgery necessary.
So, what makes Twitter great?
It’s simple.

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