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Connection (and Moderation) in the Twitterverse

Cathy Higgins

Technology Director / Conval School District
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Editor's Note: As part of Connected Educator Month, we invite you to share your thoughts on what it means to be a "connected educator." This blog series includes some of the best submissions.

When Samer Rabadi, Edutopia's Community Manager, asked, "What Does It Mean to Be a Connected Educator?", I felt moved to participate in what he called "this culture of sharing." Here's my experience -- and I'm sure many of you have experienced something similar.

I used to use email as my primary means of connecting with other educators. And while I still use email on a daily basis in my work as a public school administrator and as a college instructor, I find it's a very different experience when I use Twitter, Facebook or blogging tools to ask questions, gather new resources, follow trends and engage in ongoing dialogue about topics of interest to me or to my colleagues.

I find Twitter to be my best means of knowing what's happening right now within the community of people I follow (my own Twitterverse). When I first got onto Twitter, I started following others and quickly found that, through the material they chose to retweet, I knew who else I wanted to follow. Before long, I was posting my own tweets and retweets. At one point, I realized I was gathering so many great links to resources that I didn't have time to actually read, absorb and use those resources! I learned how to scale back on the flood of tweets and balance my time to make the medium manageable and purposeful for me.

Then came a time when I stopped reading Twitter altogether -- I needed a break from that steady feed of information. I needed some time to reflect and regroup my habits and practices in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I think that is also a common experience for anyone immersed in this kind of sharing -- to step back from high-frequency use of a particular social media service for awhile. Now that I'm back into regular use of Twitter again, I realize what a wealth of talent and knowledge is available to me. It's a wonderful resource to have that kind of availability to people anywhere on the planet!

I think that to be an effective educator today, one must become a connected educator through the use of at least one, if not more, social media services. Thanks, Edutopia, for highlighting October as "Connected Educator" month!

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Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

Cathy, thank you for sharing your story. I'm hoping it will inspire others who may have felt overwhelmed when first connecting to give it a try again.

Can I ask--what's been the one thing that really helped you keep things manageable?

Cathy Higgins's picture
Cathy Higgins
Technology Director / Conval School District

One thing? I no longer try to read every tweet and every link within every tweet! For me, I think part of my strategy has been to be comfortable with skimming over some tweets till something grabs my attention. I used to try to read everything, because there was so much great stuff and I wanted to know all of it. Having stepped away from Twitter for awhile has reminded me to give myself permission, so to speak, to be detached from that desire. I'm okay with missing some of the conversations and great resource links, in favor of a greater feeling of balance.

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