I recently read the blog post, Twitter Snobs or Efficient Learners written by Bill Ferriter. In this post Bill states, “whenever the number of people that I’m following grows to more than 200, I simply get lost in the streams of information that come through my Twitter feed. At that point, Twitter becomes useless, doesn’t it?” This is something that I can relate to, however, I have found that you CAN follow more than 200 people on twitter and STILL can the benefits of learning from them.
Why would you want to follow so many people on Twitter? Well, if you’re only interested in following one group of people, say 2nd grade teachers, then maybe you can stick to less than 200. During my first year on twitter I restricted my twitter use to following only elementary principals. At one point I realized that there were a lot of great resources being shared and I wanted to share them with teachers in all of my grade levels and departments. So I started following all kinds of educators on twitter. I do agree with Bill that if you follow many people, when you check your twitter feed, it is hard to get much out of it. This is why you have to utilize the lists function in Twitter.
If you go to my profile page and select lists, you can see what lists I follow, or just go here. (*Note-I don’t have everyone I follow in a list and I would like to go through my tweeps and update it). So, if I want to check my twitter stream to see what teachers that use Daily 5 are tweeting about, I can just click on that list. I do have some lists that are set to private, for example my list of favorite people to follow. Not because I want to hide that from you all, but because I would hate for someone to have hurt feelings about not being on that list.
Another great feature of lists is that if you find someone on twitter and you would like to follow everyone on one of their lists, you can just simply click on that list and then subscribe to everyone on that list. It certainly saves a lot of time over clicking on each individual twitter profile and subscribing! The one problem I have encountered is that if you are using the ipad/iphone twitter app when you follow a new tweep, you cannot add them to a list; you have to just wait until you’re on a computer to do so.
Here is an explanation from the Twitter Help Center on how to use twitter lists to get you started. Here’s a youtube clip I found to show you how to get started.
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Very well said. I also read the original article. At first I agreed that it is difficult to follow so many, but then I thought of the great resources I might have miss if I only followed special educators or ed tech folks. Creating a diverse PLN has provided me with some of my best ideas and has made me a better educator in the process.