I started tweeting in 2008, around the Beijing Olympics. It was cool that actual Olympians would respond to my tweets. When Summer Sanders responded to one of my tweets, I about fainted. Twitter was new, they probably didn’t know any better.
I followed a few celebrities. I found some of their off-color honesty hilarious and sad at the same time. In the meantime, my hilarious brother managed to rack up tens of thousands of twitter followers. (@sucittam if you are looking to add some hilariousness to your timeline). Here’s one of his tweets being featured on Ellen:
He opened my eyes to the idea that following actual REAL people is more entertaining and fulfilling. He was absolutely right.
I went through a phase where I followed a bunch of people who tweet as their beagle. I’m pretty sure I was the first one to use the term Tweagles, although I have no proof of that.
Then in January 2013, my indifferent view of people on twitter changed forever. My 29-yr old sister in-law, Danielle, suffered a massive brain aneurysm and it wasn’t certain she would recover. She was in the ICU at the University of Iowa for almost 6 weeks, and while my brother stayed by her side every day, his twitter followers rallied support that went viral. All of these people, most of which he’d never met, wanted to reach out to help. Benefits were organized, gifts were donated, and memorabilia was auctioned all to benefit Danielle whose recover was slow, but steady.
Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) wrote a beautiful article illustrating that the people we interact with on twitter are not just cyber-acquaintances. Danny Zucker makes the best point:
“We’re willing to accept the concept that cyberbullying is real, and it is. But if you can accept the idea that the negative is real, then you have to accept the idea that the positive is real. If strangers can hurt you, they can be friends as well.”
And just like that I leaped head first into the T of the MBToS. I realized that people like Fawn Nguyen, Andrew Stadel, Kate Nowak, and Christopher Danielson were real teachers just like I was. They had great blogs, and they were on twitter too. And if I wanted to get a real benefit from all of the resources I had found online, I needed to start posting feedback of how I incorporated them into my classroom. And then tell the creator of the activity about how it went. Through this I’ve really been able to experience the genuine human behind all of these @ symbols. These are not only great teachers who don’t just shine on their own. They want to freely share what they’ve done so that others can shine just as brightly.