by Randy Clark

How Do You Explain Twitter?

When, after months of encouragement from dear old dad, my daughter opened an account on, “The Twitter,” she sent me an email saying, “Dad, I opened a twitter account today. You tweet too much. I unfollowed you.” Oh well, at least she dipped her toes in the water. She called the same evening and we discussed lists, hash tags, columns, and TweetDeck. She spent her formative years in college on Facebook, so twitter was new and foreign. So, how do you explain Twitter?

The next day, she texts, “I hate this twitter sh*#, it doesn’t make any sense.” I called and suggested she look for conversations important to her. The next day, she called and said, “I’m finding a few conversations.” We talked about the importance of an avatar and a bio; she updated her profile with both. For the past year, I’ve described Facebook as a place to keep up with people, and for old acquaintances to stalk you. Twitter is a place to find like-minded people you never would’ve met, like the retired senator I chat with, or my friend in Tel Aviv.

She’s Using Twitter To Be A Better Teacher

My daughter has taught high school economics and social studies for the past four years. Next year, she will teach AP (Advanced Placement) for the first time. She called me today; she found a group of experienced AP teachers on twitter who have taken her under their wing. They have a chat every Monday. She said, “Dad how do I stop — I’ve found so much I want to read and study and share. Thanks for staying on me about twitter.”

I read somewhere (I don’t recall where), “…twitter is like a pristine brook, in which you occasionally dip your hand and drink from. Then you step back and let it flow.” You can’t follow every lead, can you? She called again the next day, “I’m gathering so much great material, and so many ideas for next year’s classes, I have to wonder — why isn’t every teacher on twitter?”  Her school doesn’t block twitter, and they do allow phones in the classroom. She now has several ideas of how to involve the students with twitter as an educational tool. Who knows, they may tweet a retired senator or a friend in Tel Aviv.