I have been tweeting for two years.

I know many of you have been on twitter for much longer but it is amazing to think how fundamental to my day social media, especially twitter, has become in this relatively short period of time.

The first person I followed was @mpesce who presented an interesting talk at an education.au conference and was very convincing about the potential of this newish microblogging site.

I came home and joined, telling Kelli McGraw, a NSW DET and ETA colleague about twitter. Kelli joined and became the second person I followed.

Some of the other firsts included Barack Obama, Tom Massarella my brilliant techie colleague from school, Howard Rheingold, danah boyd, Jimmy Wales, Mike Wesch, Ward Cunningham & Steven Johnson. I admire all of these people greatly and feel more closely connected to their ideas and work because of twitter.

I found it terribly exciting to start finding people admired for their books, innovations, educational brilliance and significance to our online, hyperconnected world. I bet it was the same for you. I still find it amazing that colleagues from work, friends and teachers mingle with so many (international) others who are all striving and sharing.

In the weeks that followed my first tweets, so many of the people who I hear from daily came into my life via there tweetstreams and blogs. Nowadays, many of my NSW DET colleagues are on twitter too, sharing and collaborating.

What was your experience? How were you introduced to microblogging?

Who were the first people you followed on twitter?



    • David Chaoman

    • 14 years ago

    It was interesting to go back and look through who I first followed. The first few included @firstdogonmoon, @annabelcrabb and @BernardKeane. It was not long after that I started to see the power of connecting with other educators – and a great many teachers where then added – @jnxyz and @nicolemockler where among the first.

  1. I was introduced to twitter after attending a regional History Teachers ICT conference hosted by @richardcford. I quickly followed a series of celebs and politicians and then weeded down my list to those I really felt I connected to in terms of ideas and focus like @firstdogonmoon, @BarackObama, @algore. The first six months was very tentative use and few followers or followings. Not until the ETA conference in 2009 did my twitter use really take off. The next person I followed was @darcy1968 – who also pointed me in the direction of developing a PLN and a blog. Within a month I had connected with other Engish and History teachers in Australia and overseas. I am well over my 1000th tweet and increasing my PLN daily.

    • Jan

    • 14 years ago

    Like most of you I have found Twitter to be an amazing way of forming strong professional and personal networks. I have learned much from so many people and I enjoy discovering new things that I can share with others.
    I was introduced to Twitter by Kelli McGraw (@kmcg2375) who is a young teacher at my school. Inevitably then, Kelli was the first person I followed. next came another teacher at my school, Imelda Judge (@imeldajudge).
    After that I followed Darcy.
    Kelli very kindly introduced me to her personal network and the rest they say, is history.
    Twitter is an important part of my day; connecting, collaborating and creating.
    Not only have I benefited enormously but so has my school.
    Thank you to all those I follow and who follow me.

  2. My first followee was Kevin Rudd. 3 Days later I then un-followed him and left Twitter for some time.

    After re-finding a need to use Twitter, I followed my boss @pryorcommitment as he had been sharing some stories of it’s use and people who use it.

    I then added people who share a lot such as @c4lpt @etalbert @stuhasic @Darcy1968 @achurches and @web2classroom

    Next was the DET people – this connected me to like minded souls and allowed me to begin conversing.

    Now I am happy to follow anyone invovled in educational technology, but am quick to block spammers, marketing and life coaches!

    So in short I followed people i could watch first, then took risks and followed those i could converse with. Worked well for me 🙂

  3. My first follows were the hosts of MacBreak Weekly a TWiT podcast: http://www.twit.tv/mbw, so @ScottBourne @hotdogsladies (Merlin Mann), @Ihnatko (Andy Ihnatko) and @leolaporte.
    Then it was mainly tech media people until @betchaboy.
    The first DET person was @Darcy1968.

    • Fiona Rose

    • 14 years ago

    This is interesting because I often think “How did I start following that person?”. I signed up to Twitter months before I actually started using it. My first follow was my sister @LyndalRose and then various friends and former colleagues. Most influential early on was @josepicardo – I had been reading his technology and languages blog for a while and decided to give the Twitter thing a go.
    I sort of have 2 PLNs – the MFL twitterati from the UK and then there’s all my Oz teacher tweeps. I love it and I wish there were more languages teachers from Oz on Twitter!

    • Paula Madigan

    • 14 years ago

    My first contact in the world of Twitter was my school colleague @SimonBorgert. Very quickly from there I followed @pryorcommitment (SED from my old school region), @darcymoore and @pipcleaves and then the rest, as they say, is history.

    I love twitter – I have learnt so much in the last 10 months and I have really enjoyed the professional dialogue and social chats along the way.

  4. My first few follows were @BarackObama, a news service that seemed to update every 30 seconds and a couple of people I was working with at Macquarie ICT Innvations Centre – @devans17, @annemareemoore and @chetty. I got lost and overwhelmed by the news service which seemed to dominate my feed, and left for a few months. Finally came back after seeing a talk at an EdNA conference by @moodleman, who gave some great advice. Deleted the news service, found a few nteresting DET teachers like @darcy1968, @tonysearl and @stuhasic and haven’t looked back.

  5. I joined Twitter in September 2007, just to check what all the fuss was about.

    I started to follow mostly US and UK bloggers whose names I new. I haven’t yet identified the first Aussie, may be @suewaters.

    I fell in love with Twitter and settled into a sharing routine, pretty quickly. I enjoyed getting up each day and looking at what the other half of the world had been up to. Now, I only go back about and hour or two.

    I do follow social media types, since some of their posts have a different slant to those of educators.

    I look at all the wonderful things #nswdet people are doing each day. It is very inspiring. Elaine

  6. Thanks folks, I appreciate your comments.

    I feel I can hear some people clicking ‘next’ to get back to that first page ;O)

    Someone must know a faster way to arrive at the first page?

    BTW @etalbert was the first DET person I found on twitter and Elaine quickly became my main source of good web 2.0 resources/knowledge with her excellent collections of slideshares. @heyjudeonline and @suewaters were (are) important tweeps to me, as they shared so generously, especially at their blogs.

    There are so many people now who have helped me, helped us all – you are fantastic!

    ))))))))))))))thanks to you aalllll(((((((((((((

    • Steve Madsen

    • 14 years ago

    Chris Betcher and Vicki Davis would be the people I first followed.

    • Rob Abbey

    • 14 years ago

    I got interested through seeing @silkcharm, @Trib and @betchboy at work. Then you and @lasic worked magic to get me hooked. Widening the scope led me to @cburell and @wraptinweb. @cshirky and others revealed the new media vs the old debates and a wealth of fascinating education practitioners to learn from and to be stimulated to learn more.

    • Rob Abbey

    • 14 years ago

    rob abbey = roadster5555 since my pet is a bmw mbike

  7. Great idea.
    I love Twitter for the same reasons many have outlined here – keeping up to date with people, sharing ideas and resources, particularly in developing and nurturing a global PLN, real-time or near tracking of conferences and trends and adding value to live events & programs. It’s wonderful being able to ‘attend’ so many excellent conferences around the globe and converse and interact with others, courtesy of hashtags, search, tweets and RTs.

    I had to look up how long ago (http://whendidyoujointwitter.appspot.com/) I started using Twitter (921 days on 18 October 2007) and the first people I followed.
    This included some like-minded local colleagues and OZ bloggers (Al Upton, Jo McLeay, Graham Wegner, Judy O’Connell, Julian Ridden, Carol Skyring and such well knowns as George Siemens, Will Richardson, Alan Levine, Dion Hinchcliffe, Tim Lauer and Ewan McIntosh.

    Since then, I have added many more local, Oz and internationals to my Twitter network, including some of the good folk from DETNSW (including Darcy) and branched out to a more diverse network including political satirists (eg. fake Penny Wong).

    It’s been enjoyable reading other people’s stories and seeing the similarities. Thanks Darcy.

    Yvonne (@southoz)

    • Kerri Beezley

    • 14 years ago

    I am only fairly new to Twitter (5 weeks) after a professional development day where Darcy introduced us to the concept of a PLN – so the first people I followed were @Darcy1968 and people like @kmcg2375 @madiganda @BiancaH80. I still feel a little intimidated by the whole process and haven’t had a whole lot to say but i have learnt a lot!
    I am very envious of the DET network and what is happening there and the enthusiasm of the DET people who tweet. As a CSO person I feel a little left behind with the way DER is being implemented in our schools.
    Thanks again Darcy for your great introduction to Twitter.

  8. It’s fascinating to read about others’ Twitter journey as well as reflect on my own. I signed up not long after a tech conference and remember listening to a Chris Betcher podcast on how it takes a while to ‘get’ twitter. This was pretty accurate but once I had started to follow more and more people, particularly language teachers, it all fell into place. I began by following @jessmcculloch, who continues to inspire, as well as language teachers in the UK, Joe Dale, Isabelle Jones and Helena Butterfield. Closer to home I began by following Chris Betcher, Anne Baird, Judy O’connell and Sue Waters. My twitter PLN now has 3 strands – language teachers, Australian educators and people living in and blogging about Japan. It works beautifully.
    Thanks Darcy

    • thand

    • 14 years ago

    First tweets were with the blogeratti- Howard Rheingold, George Siemens, Will Richardson, Ewan MAcintosh, Stephen Downes, Leigh Blackhall, Scott Wilson et al. All those I had in my own blogroll- and now migrating to follow them on Twitter. Interesting to see how some have not transitioned to Twitter- best working still in their blog. Obviously there is a divide in how the two media serve different purposes. But the blogosphere is still the reserve of more thoughtful work rather than the spasm response of always feeling the the need to tweet.

  9. The first people I followed were @rmbyrne, @web20classroom, @teachpaperless. I then checked out their follow list and also followed people who’s blogs I read.

    I’ve learned more from my PLN on Twitter in one year than I have from the last 8 years of traditional professional development.

    • jonesytheteacher

    • 14 years ago

    I think the first person I followed was Lance Armstrong. Just to be delivered the thoughts of someone like him, as they happened, was pretty cool (and it still is). I can’t honestly say when I started to follow educators, but one of the first was @Darcy1968. From there Darcy introduced me to the massive PLN I now tap into everyday. Its become a way for me to collect and share ideas, keep in touch with friends and explore developments in my interests, instantly. Combined with RSS feeds, my connectedness with my profession has grown incredibly. Thanks Darcy for the boost, and the chance to reflect.

  10. @Steve_Collis is at my school and at the start of the 2009 year he ran a PD on Twitter so I started following him and nine others in the same session. Out of those nine people, eight bascially did nothing thereafter. I trawled through Steve’s follows and chose some to also follow such as @datruss. However, I took another 6 months or so before I really became involved in Twitter.
    I then looked for economists and followed @joshgans.
    I now follow various writers, journalists (mainly due to #spill eg @BernardKeane, @latikambourke, @julie_posetti) and the occasional funny ones such as @godwingrech (fake), @Eyjafjalla, @theashcloud and @l8carlwilliams (Dec).
    My educational PLN is my number one use of Twitter but it is always fun to have the side conversations as well, particularly with @Darcy1968 because we share a love for similar books (by the way I liked Solar but nowhere near as much as McEwan’s other books).



  11. I followed @mrrobbo because he was the one who suggested that I join

  12. On my first page of people I follow there is @ZebraBites (who is a director of qualitative research), @wonderwebby (she works at IBM, and is multitalented), @KitchenDani (swim teacher), @sunnydnella (all round good person), @penguini26 (academic and composer), @zose99 (works with textiles, single mum of 3). What all these dynamic women have in common is that we were all on an online mother’s group together. So they were people I already had an online relationship with and all of them were already my facebook friends.

    Creeping into that first page are some other YA writers: Margo Lanagan, Ben Payne, Lili Wilkinson – all people I had real life relationships with (though I had only briefly met and presented with Margo Lanagan at the MWF). There’s also someone who was a regular reader and commentor on my blog and someone I’d met doing the Masters of Creative Writing. There is only one person on the list of about 14 first followees that I don’t know and she is incidentally no longer an active member of Twitter. After that I began following and being followed by a predominantly writers, editors, students of writing, and the wider writing community (publishers, writer’s centres). Pretty early on I got put on a list that bounced round the net of YA writers who tweet and that sculpted my reciprocal list somewhat.

    My husband @mnjorgensen rejoined Twitter a month or two after I’d joined which is when I started making reciprocal connections with teachers. Funnily I also have connections with teachers on Fascebook, but more because of the types of books I write (YA) than because of my marital relationship!

    • Bernard Court

    • 14 years ago


    • kmcg2375

    • 14 years ago

    @Darcy1968 was the first person I followed, and after that I raided his contacts to find other ETA people (@karenyages), searched for university contacts who were likely to be into ‘this kind of thing’ (and found @anyaixchel), Googled for more info on Twitter and social media (found @zephoria and now follow her research), and then got around to following and catching up on the theories of @mpesce

    Raiding other people’s contact lists was my MO when I was new – I still do this of course! And downloading Twhirl and then Tweetdeck made the Twitter experience so much easier.

    This post and the comments following it are lovely by the way – hanging out with a group of English teachers over the weekend I was reminded of the ‘eye-rolling’ that tweeps cop from non-tweeps when social media based PLNs come up in the conversation…this is in stark contrast to the lashings of gratitude, openmindedness, motivation and praise that are found in the ‘pay-it-forward’ model of professional collegiality that is fostered through Twitter!

    I joke about Darcy being my Twitter ‘maker’ (for the True Blood fans out there!), but the metaphor is apt. I think special bonds are formed when ‘insiders’ invite/encourage people to join an activity or group, and the explicit collegial links that are made when forming a PLN that reaches beyond your own school/context provide a sense of belonging, community and support that is just as important (more so??) than the excellent resources that are shared as a result.

    Thanks for persuading me to stick with Twitter during those first few confusing weeks Darcy! And thanks to everyone in my growing PLN for populating my ‘all-day-staffroom’ 🙂

  13. So many of these thoughts resound. Thanks to all 23 of you for posting your comments and everyone who DM-ed a response, I appreciate your time and stories!

    • Lyn

    • 14 years ago

    You Darcy! Unfortunately my satellite broadband and lack of mobile phone coverage really limits my tweeting. Yes there are still areas of our great nation that don’t get mobile phone coverage, decent broadband or wireless.

  14. […] emailed colleagues to tell them about Twitter but the community of NSW educators online grew very slowly. This was the time just prior to […]

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