It seems fitting this blog will launch with a post on Twitter as it has been the catalyst for the birth of this space. Last week at the annual NAFSA conference my colleagues, and new Twitter friends, encouraged me to create and share this online technology forum after I discovered the number of people who are interested in learning more about how to leverage technology, specifically as it relates to the field of International Education.
Originally, I was going to fit all things Twitter in this post, but as I started writing I realized there are far too many Twitter-related topics for one article, so I thought it best we do a sort of Twitter Series: Twitter and Beyond via a number of posts. This way we can focus on various topics that relate to Twitter, such as:
- Why Twitter?
- Using Twitter to Connect with Students
- The Various Uses of Twitter
- The Face of Your Account; Tweeting on Behalf of your Institution
I have to be honest and say that while I’m an early technology adopter I had a few false starts with Twitter. I couldn’t quite get my head around how to leverage the service and what it could offer me both personally and professionally.
I’m here to tell you even an old techie can learn new tricks, and hopefully my anecdotal experience will inspire you to do the same.
I started my Twitter account several years ago and had only tweeted very occasionally, but committed to tweeting on a regular basis at the annual NAFSA conference in Kansas City. I am here to say that Twitter completely revolutionized my conference experience. This was my 5th annual conference and, as usual, there is never enough time for everything. Twitter helped provide quick text bytes (140 characters) of information and events going on around the conference center.
Basically, an interactive, real-time, dynamic conference schedule.
The NAFSA organization itself had several people “tweeting” content as well as the countless NAFSA participants who are active “twitterers” sharing bits of content from sessions, conversations with other conference participants and general observations regarding their conference experience. (Note: if I have lost some of you with all this “Twitterspeak” a great online resource of Twitter terms is Mashable’s glossary Twitterspeak)
Through this interactive, real-time web of information I was able to receive updates on sessions I couldn’t attend or leave a meeting to head to where the “action was happening.” In addition, I walked away from Kansas City with a whole new community of International Education contacts (at least 25) who I would have never met had I not been reading/responding to their NAFSA conference tweets. That’s at least 300% more than I could have had meaningful interactions with at a conference reception.
In essence, you have to ask yourself: how can I use my time most effectively and maximize my educational experience? In a packed 4-day conference with 7,000 of your colleagues Twitter helps you disseminate and take away information you never would have gleaned simply by sitting in sessions flagging pages in your conference schedule. Add a new dimension to your professional development experience and try tweeting at your next conference. I doubt you’ll regret the new community and information you end up with at the end.
If you have another Twitter-related topic you’d like to read or write about, let me know in the comments section below.
If you’re interested in further information leave a comment on this post or tweet me! @mhizon
Looking forward to seeing you in the twittersphere.