Jan 17 2008
Twitter’s Two Networks
Over the last few months I have been using Twitter as part of my PLN (Professional Learning Network) and explored some of the issues for a classroom teacher on this blog. I consider it to be a fantastic tool in helping teachers connect and my own PLN has impacted on my teaching, planning, subject coordination, professional development and even children’s learning.
In my opinion if you can better understand these tools you will be able to use them much more effectively. It turns out that in fact if you are a Twitter user, you are part of two quite distinct networks. Listening and Talking.
Affectionately known as “lurking” you may follow many people and listen to their updates, their conversations, their thoughts. I have called this the “Listening” network. There is much to offer in this passive part of the Twitter network – follow the people you are interested in and you may pick up on little gems you may be able to use. But it has it’s disadvantages. The “Listening” network is based upon a passive interaction. You as a teacher are tuning in but cannot steer the conversation so long as you remain lurking.
As soon as you engage with someone in this “Listening” network things begin to change and the two network models above begin to merge and blur together.
The active part of your Twitter network is clearly this “Talking” element and, for me anyway, this is where I gain the most professionally. I may stumble upon a conversation thread and follow along, lurk if you will, to the point where I gain something for myself. But my most useful Twitter experiences occur when I actively engage my network either with a request or question.
So get out there and engage your network!
Whether you are a lurker, listener or talker it does not matter, as long as we continue to push these tools to affect change in our own professional sphere.