Instant PLN!

This is the seventh post in the Professional Development 2.0 series. If you have not already, I would encourage you to start with the first six posts:

When you first start using Twitter, it is honestly fairly boring. The problem is that you are not yet following anyone interesting. It is hard to know exactly where to start. Most people tend to agree that Twitter is not really that interesting or useful until you start following 30-50 people so that you have a wide variety of people with diverse experiences and who live in several timezones or countries.

Once you find a few people to follow whose opinion you respect, a good starting point is to look at who they follow. If you respect their opinion or have similar interests, then it is likely that the people they follow may also be of value.

How, though, can one find those first few people? There are a number of ways. You can search for education or various concepts and ideas related to education to see what people are talking about. You can also search for hashtags. A hashtag, designated by a # sign, is the symbol for a conversation. People use hashtags to organize their discussions. A popular education related hashtag is #edchat, so if you search for #edchat, you will see all the posts being made in that discussion even though you are not following everyone who is participating.

The easiest way to find some great people to follow and jump right into the educational discussions on Twitter is to subscribe to a list of people that someone created. Eric Sheninger is an influential, forward-thinking principal, author, and conference planner from New Milford, NJ. I met him first on Twitter and then in person. He has had an impact on my thinking and I can attest to the quality of the people he has assembled.

Eric made 3 TweepML lists. If you click on the link, you will see a list of teachers, a list of administrators, and a general list of people in education. Just click on the list or lists that apply most to you, check the people you want to follow, and then click “Sign in with Twitter” at the bottom. This will help you to have a great base of varied and knowledgeable educators from which to build.

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