Twitter Shoutouts

“Showing off Twitter. Tell me where you are from and why your PLN is important.”

I was at a technology conference and a “big name” conference speaker sent one of these tweets out and of course received 20-30 responses from around the world in five minutes from his thousands of followers. I must confess that I usually respond to these when I see them. It feels like I am supporting a “Twitter evangelist” and I am a definite believer in the power of my PLN. I want to help people show how useful Twitter is.

I have been thinking about the message that this activity sends to people who are new to Twitter. First of all they usually think Twitter is only about “what are you doing” and that the answer is something mundane or ridiculous. I think Twitter shoutouts can come across more as bragging than as anything productive:

“Hey, let me show you how great Twitter is by showing off how many people listen to me and when I say tweet, they say ‘How high?'”

I know that this is not the intent of any presenter, but that they are trying to show the power of a PLN that is both worldwide and always available, but I am not sure that this is how it comes across to people unfamiliar with Twitter. The Twitter shoutout does show how far your network reaches, but does not demonstrate what your PLN can do.

So I have a suggestion, a minor tweak to this presentation of Twitter. Demonstrate how educators actually use Twitter. Ask a random member of your audience what unit or topic they are studying with their class. Then tweet out and ask for resources on that subject. Then instead of “Hi, I’m Concretekax from Michigan and my PLN rocks!” The speaker can then show how PLN’s help each other.

Wouldn’t educators be more impressed seeing results that are practical and useful. I would definitely think the teacher picked out of the audience leaving with real resources would see the power of Twitter.