Is Twitter a faculty development tool? I would argue that it is perhaps the BEST tool we have. Of course I am not arguing to replace your mentor at your institution….I’m not giving up my mentor Amal Mattu no matter how much I get into Twitter!
Many years ago I decided to give Twitter a try. A friend of mine mentioned to me that there was a new social networking tool available, so I reluctantly decided to give it a go. When I first started out it was nothing more than me commenting on what I was doing at the time. I remember a friend and mentor of mine, Dave Manthey, asking me why I waste my time on Twitter. I remember telling him that there may be something to this, but I need to figure out what it is. Over time, I began to notice some tangible results. Results I could attribute only to Twitter. It’s simply amazing what getting involved can do for you and your career. The really cool part is you get to contribute to others’ careers and help them as well.
Here is just a smattering of what Twitter can do for you:
1. Meet great people with the same interest.
This is the most valuable aspect for me. I have met some truly spectacular folks on Twitter: Chris Nickson, Mike Cadogan, just to name a few. I’ve met folks from Australia, Europe, South Africa, and many other countries. The really cool thing is that you end up seeing the same people at international conferences, and you already have a relationship built on Twitter.
2. Get invited to speak.
Next year, in March, I will be an invited faculty member for the SMACC Gold conference in Australia. I honestly believe that my involvement with Twitter and the social media world led to this invitation.
I could give many examples of this. Twitter has definitely helped me develop more as a speaker and get more invites.
3. Get invited to publish.
I am not the biggest fan of writing, but I have been invited to join other folks on papers and to write chapters and other pieces. All because of Twitter.
4. Mentor from a distance.
Whether you realize it or not, Twitter allows you to develop mentoring relationships in real time. And you end up becoming friends with these folks. Awesome.
5. Brand yourself and your ideas.
This is the cool part. You get to grow your academic profile. And it’s much more fun if you develop your own Twitter logo. Here is the logo I use for the iTeachEM blog and podcast. Logo creation and branding gets your name out there even more….and good things will happen.
6. Get questions answered from the FOAM collective.
Have something you need to know but can’t find the answer? Try the FOAM collective on Twitter. I have had more questions answered this way than anything else.
7. Stay up to date with the literature.
I was initially doubtful that I could use Twitter to stay up to date. But, people really do post a lot of cutting edge stuff. Stuff that is way ahead of the text books.
8. Join the world of FOAM…
Getting involved with the FOAM world has really opened my eyes and has led to a lot of great things for me in my career.
9. Stay up to date with the latest and greatest book releases.
I have heard about many great books just by being connected to the Twitter and FOAM world…
Here is the key thing about Twitter: You get out what you put in. Don’t be quiet. get out there and start now! The more you contribute the more helpful the Twitter and FOAM worlds become. But, don’t expect to sit back and let the cyber collective do all the work for you. You have to GET into it for it to help you...
You won’t regret it!
What has Twitter done for your career? Please post your ideas….