Twitter can be a big, intimidating place for a teacher, professor or administrator who wants to carefully cultivate his or her online presence. The micro-blogging platform doesn't have to be hard, though.
Education Week has been running a great blog series recently, focusing on helping educators to become better tweeters. This week, they linked to a helpful slide presentation by Alex Courous, which mentioned a few ways that teachers can become better networkers online.
Education Dive liked the recommendations so much that we were inspired to create a Twitter-specific list that should be able to aid you aid you at the K-12 or higher ed level as you figure out who to talk to and follow in the Twitterverse. From local organizations to the educators on Education Dive's A-List, here some of account types to consider as you build your follow numbers:
Why they are important: Educators' fields of expertise and interest vary as widely as K-12 grade levels and university class subjects. For nearly every area of specialization, however, Twitter makes it easy to search and seek out colleagues from around the world. No one knows the trends and policies affecting your job better than other people with the same job, and you may even find them to be valuable sources for opinions and answers to work-related questions.
Why they are important: Publishers and curriculum developers have to stay up to date on changing needs in the classroom, and many of these companies have vested interests in listening to to the professionals who use their services. Twitter can be a great place to connect with curriculum makers and advisors of all types.
Why they are important: Hashtags can be the means to connect with fellow convention attendees, but many major conferences have their own Twitter handles as well. These account can provide excellent resources for up-to-the-minute panel changes, scheduling updates and other information. In some cases, they may also be watching for feedback and intentions from attendees, making them eager to connect with you.
Why they are important: Online social networks can be deep and complex communities to navigate. Engaging with them via Twitter, however, can offer easy points of entry, usage tips and curated links to profiles, conversations and best practices.
Why they are important: Whether you work as a college administrator, a high school science teacher or at the head of your institution's IT department, there are bloggers out there keeping track of news doing research to share with you. These good Internet citizens can be helpful sources for staying in the know, and if you blog as well, you should definitely be connecting with the education world's thought-leaders.
Why they are important: Students do not learn in a vacuum; nor do educators teach in one. Finding ways to keep tabs on student and parent concerns can illuminate what's important to the education's customers.
Why they are important: National newspapers, magazines and tech websites can all enrich your Twitter feed with breaking news and in-depth analysis of trends and events that you need to know about. Not only will following them give you access to retweetable Twitter discussion-starters; it will also show your followers that you know what you are a talking about when unload your personal opinions.
Why they are important: Do you have a favorite Web app, iPhone app or social network for connecting with other educators? Chances are that if you do they are on Twitter and dishing out advice or technical knowledge that may allow you to improve your workflow. You may even be able to connect with someone who can help you tailor your use to your job's specific needs.
Why they are important: Whether you are sharing knowledge with fellow teachers and researchers around the globe or merely working with a small, project-based wiki to collaborate within your department, Twitter can be an excellent front door for checking out what's going on, what's being updated and who's posting on your wiki of choice.
Why they are important: If you work in education, you probably feel strongly about a number of issues that affect how things are done around your school and campus. For many of those issues, there are organizations who share your feelings and can help keep you engaged with information and opportunities related to the changes you want to see happen. Whether you want to donate your time or get involved with an event, Twitter can be great place to stay informed and pass details along to colleagues.
Want to see more education news and resources like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to the Education Dive email newsletter! You may also want to read our "22 Twitter hashtags for higher education news" and "22 Twitter hashtags for K-12 education news" lists or follow Education Dive on Twitter.