Even my grown children, digital natives, consumers of all things digital, seem to balk at Twitter. And yet, millions (billions?) of people use it, depend on it, and love it? How come?
Admittedly, I’m on it because I’m told I have to be. The people that tell me this are people I trust, so I’m putting my suspicions on hold until I can wrap my head around what all the excitement is about.
At first glance, Twitter seems so smart. It’s so efficient! Because posts are limited by character counts a lot of information is packed into a small space. Once you have made some decision about who you want to follow, your stream will be populated by tweets from those people or organizations. That is exactly what makes it such a double edged sword as well! Some people and organizations are prolific tweeters transforming your babbling brook of information into a raging torrent of whitewater. Taking a swig of information out of the Twitter stream sometimes feels like trying to drink out of firehose,
There are ways to slow this down. Social media management tools like Hootsuite are the best way I’ve seen to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s face it, in a first place tie for the most difficult aspect of Twitter is not Twitter, but our own lack of self-control in perusing through it. Here’s what I mean. The photo below shows what my Twitter feed looks like:
Contrast this with how Hootsuite looks:
At first glance it may seem I’ve only complicated the view. However, on closer inspection you can see that Hootsuite actually allows me more control . I can see my own tweets, tweets I’ve been mentioned in, and also, if you look at the home stream in the photo above you will notice that it has the same information as my Twitter home stream. I have the option of not even including it on this page. Perhaps the most useful tool is what is in the 4th column and beyond. Users can customize further streams by including specific #hashtags. Since I’m taking class through Eduro, it seems like a logical conversation to follow. I also have one for inquiry, but any more than a few topics and I find myself back in the heavy current of distraction.
Another great feature of Hootsuite is that you are not limited to your Twitter here. You can organize other social accounts like Facebook and Instagram in the same way. Hootsuite becomes your one stop shop for all things socia. Not only that, but anything you can do on those sites can be done from Hootsuite, like posting. You can even post on more than one site simultaneously. Am I doing any of that? Oh heck no, but know the options are there…and it’s free.
When you are ready to dip a toe here I recommend you try some of the videos on setting up an account. This “How to use hootsuite in 13 minutes” put out by Hootsuite, was really clear and really helpful.
Why? Why bother doing this at all?
Here’s the thing. Education is a moving target right now, especially with Covid and the subsequent need for home learning. If an efficient use of time leads to a balanced life, and if a balanced life leads to contentment, then we need to find efficient ways to hit that target. Twitter puts groups of likeminded individuals into contact with each other. Your personal learning network becomes anyone who sees your tweet. The wheel you’re thinking of inventing is probably being used by someone already. In ten minutes I found three things I want to try. The bottom line is that I need to quit trying to to it all by yourself.