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May 15, 2011 / Rabbi Meir Wexler

Why Twitter?

Although Twitter has been available to the general public since 2006 I just started using it this year.  Twitter is a powerful social and networking tool. In the months since I began tweeting I have used Twitter primarily for educational purposes. I began by reading tweets from other educational professionals both in general and  Jewish educational fields and starting following some of them. The more tweets I read the more I understood how they could be incorporated into educational settings. Whether it was a link to a video I could use as a trigger clip to a lesson plan, to someone’s philosophies or personal mission statements on education, they always left me thinking how I could refine and enhance my skills as an educator.

I created my own education #hashtag list (#edtech, #jed21 and #jewished for example) and started partaking in a few Twitter ‘chats’ on education or education technology.. As you probably know by now you are limited to 140 characters per tweet so one’s words must be straight to the point. Whenever I sat at my computer I would be sure to have my twitter feed open so I read and saw what people were sharing. I liked connecting with educators spanning the country, in real-time, in laser focused conversations.

There is definitely a feeling of being connected to other educators on Twitter which continually provides a support system and reenforce the importance of being an educator. You feel like you are constantly engaged in a professional development arena with people of similar interests who want you to be successful too. That being said, I am still trying to get a handle (pun intended) discerning which people tweet for genuine or self-serving purposes.

Having experienced this feeling of continual learning, I am now at a point where I speak to other educators and persuade them to try Twitter. For some educators microblogging is such a paradigm shift and so out of their comfort zone that they do not want to even begin learning about it. For other educators, the feeling of connectedness and continual support outweighs the fear of the unknown and they take the leap. And although microblogging can be intimidating and leave you feeling overwhelmed at first, over a few months you slowly begin to understand why over two hundred million people are tweeting too. Not too long after that you will start asking why there are only two hundred million people tweeting.


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