As I was perusing the Table of Contents for a purchase of a Kindle edition book this morning, I stopped and fixated my eyes on one particular chapter’s title: Apps and Personal Relationships. As an aspiring administrator, I, like many others, read an inordinate amount of material covering a wide range of topics; from assessments and proposal writing to leadership and walkthroughs. But this title put the words ‘Apps’ and ‘Personal Relationships’ in the same sentence.
It was at that moment that I realized my Twitter PLNs had made a drastic change in my perception of digital relationships. Some of my readers may be surprised to know that I’ve been a tech person long before tech was cool. I bought an Apple Macintosh computer instead of a PC in 1985 because I couldn’t fathom that the DOS based systems of the PC market could possibly blow away the intuitive operations of the Apple Macintosh. So much for betting on Gate’s marketing abilities…
My computer obsession had always taken me away from people. I could, then and now, spend countless hours alone at my computer doing any number of things that would probably drive many others crazy. I’ve taught myself countless programs as a business owner because I couldn’t afford to have a tech come in and handle the process. Computer literate was a misnomer: I was out in front of almost every business owner I knew. Few people could understand my consuming obsession with tech. But even with the advent of the interactive Web 3.0, I was still alone at my computer. Of course I used email because that is a given communication tool. I used all sorts of programs for marketing, spreadsheets to create cash flows and identify trends. But much beyond that, I wasn’t really communicating with people outside my normal circle of contacts. How is it, I wondered, that people can have their faces buried in their phones, chatting and Tweeting to people they’ve never laid eyes on?
Fast forward to my computer time today. As a result of a needed surgery, I’ve had some time off from the daily grind of work. I found myself drawn to my computer just as I would have been under normal circumstances. I’ve had time to read great books like “Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times” by Eric Sheninger (2014) and “Teach Like A PIRATE!” by Dave Burgess (2012) to name two. As engaging as these books were, something was missing. I was tired of the one-way circuit.
I decided to ‘venture’ into the world of Twitter. I had a Twitter account but, surprise! I only used it to keep up on topics to save me time. Well, long story short, I dove into the waters, drank the Kool-Aid and have converted from the one-sided world of tech to the two way world of Tweeting!
Now I know to some of you, this will be a ‘Duh…’ moment. I had dabbled in Tweeting to a parent through a single channel so I could keep her up to date on the progress of her newly placed son in my class. I ran into some tech issues (like the site being blocked) which soon put an end to my classroom use for the tool. (When I later mentioned it to a person who was in a place to fix it, Twitter access was restored. Phew!)
Some of you may say that I was reluctant because I am not a millennial. Nothing could be farther from the truth! To know me is to know that I am not afraid of tackling most anything, least of all a piece of technology! I guess I just couldn’t wrap my head around why I needed to talk to people I didn’t know…
But, as you can imagine, this story has a happy ending… (Most of my stories do!)… I am a digital convert and discovered the Twitter chat on “Teach Like A PIRATE” (#TLAP) as well as an upcoming Twitter chat/book study on “Digital Leadership”. I have certain chats logged into my calendar and my husband laughs when I tell him I can’t go to wherever because I have a Twitter chat to get to! I use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to keep up with the feeds and it is so invigorating that I have trouble resting my brain when we’re off-line! I often wind up re-reading a section or searching online or writing notes about a great idea. Sleep often has to take a back seat!
Quite frankly, this has really provided me with a refreshed window of energy. I’ve met lots of people from around the United States who share my passion for relationship building, engaging instruction and best practices for technology integration. If you haven’t dived into the world of Twitter, absolutely do so. I have met so many great people, gotten so many great ideas that I just have to say, “How Cool Is That?” Follow me @chrisduane819 ! See you there!