Feb 03

How My Use of Twitter Has Changed

Recent blog posts by two respected colleagues got me thinking about how my use of Twitter has changed in the last year or so. George Couros shared a post about how his interactions have changed over the years, especially related to how his network has grown. I encourage you to read George’s post, it’ll make you think.

First of all, Twitter changes for people as their network grows larger.  Learning from 100 followers is one thing, but having 100 followers move to 1000 shifts things.  The way I could respond to mentions on Twitter has changed due to sheer growth in the network, and I am actually trying to be selective so that I am not overwhelmed with it.  That changes your perspective.

I agree with this idea, but for me, the change hasn’t been about how I respond, it’s about the responses I get back. I’ve found that the bigger everyone’s network grows, the less likely I’m going to get responses to a question I share. One would think that more people “listening” would lead to more responses. For me, however, there have been numerous times lately where I’ve shared a thought or question, hoping for a response, but received little or no feedback. That’s disappointing. Perhaps people’s feeds are moving so fast that they simply miss my tweet due to bad timing.  In previous years, Twitter used to be my go to place for feedback, but it hasn’t been the case lately. I hope that changes.

Dean Shareski’s post is a little different. Dean’s use of Twitter has always been a little different. Dean’s a little different. And I mean that as a compliment. He has stated it before, but Dean uses Twitter as a social space, a place to have fun, share some ideas, and get to know people. He acknowledges that his use of Twitter has decreased and he states why below. I do wonder if the new spaces, such as Voxer, will become old spaces, kind of like Twitter has become.

As far as twitter, I see my own interactions decline. In 2012, I tweeted almost 13,000 times. Last year it was about half. I get it, that’s still an insane amount but nonetheless, it’s a significant drop. It’s just not as playful. I’ve shifted much of my conversation to places like Voxer with smaller numbers and that’s likely a reasonable and healthy transition. But I miss the opportunity to connect with new people in an informal way because most new folks have been told that twitter is a great space for PD. They’ve come for the learning.

I want people to go to a space where they can learn. Twitter is a good place, not only for pd related items, but for getting to know the people in those spaces as well. To me, both are important. I hope Dean is wrong in the sense that people are only coming for the learning. I hope they are coming for the people as well.

For me, my use of Twitter has changed. I haven’t looked at totals, but I’m pretty sure the number of tweets I’ve sent has decreased. This might be due to the lack of responses I’ve gotten when I’m looking for feedback. Maybe I’m not spending as much time on Twitter as I have in the past. It doesn’t feel like it, but maybe I’m just reading and not tweeting. I know that over time, I’ve started to follow more accounts that are not related to education. With Twitter as mainstream as it is, it’s a news source for me more than just about anything. This might also be a reason that it’s become less of a two-way street. I’ve also gotten good at not worrying about issues others have with Twitter. Some have said people are very self-promoting. If this bothers me too much, I stop following those people, it’s not a big deal to me.  I don’t worry about the echo chamber. Sometimes we need support. I try to share the good stuff I come across as much as possible. One thing I’m trying to do better is tag the author of a post to make sure others get to know the people behind the thoughts. I’m sure I don’t do this enough, but it’s important to me.

Twitter is still my main space for finding good things to read, a place where I can connect with people, and an important space. It’s had a huge impact on me as a person and an educator. I hope it stays that way.


I used to think following lots of people was fine as long as you filtered them out in groups. However, I think as more people follow more people, it's creating an issue. I still love the randomness but as you say, interactions have diminished. Some of that is twitter's algorithms but also changing perceptions and habits.