In early December, in the third of my DevLearn 2008 conference follow-ups, I wrote about my joining the world of Twitter, the popular "micro-blogging" service. Since then I must confess, I am completely hooked.
Twitter is both fun and valuable to me. Fun, in part perhaps, because it is new. But by following several dozen industry analysts and experts in various areas, I feel like I am learning at an accelerated rate. Some Twitter messages themselves—though necessarily short—are themselves insightful quotes or anecdotes. But more often, the "tweet" provides a link to what someone else has read and found valuable—whether a blog posting, a magazine article, or whatever. There is of course a lot that I just scan past, but I am actually finding the "noise-to-knowledge" ratio to be quite favorable for me.
So I'd like to encourage you to consider giving Twitter a try. Read my earlier posting first. Then watch the Common Craft video at YouTube titled "Twitter in Plain English".
Then sign up at Twitter.com and start looking for interesting people to "follow" and learn from. Once you find a few, you can easily find other interesting people by seeing who they are each following. Doing this, while effective, can take a little time. So, to save you some time, here is a list of some interesting people in the Learning and Development industry that you might consider adding to your Twitter feed:
- ThomasStone (that's me! Thomas Stone of Element K)
- billbrandon / Bill Brandon
- bschlenker / Brent Schlenker
- c4lpt / Jane Hart
- cliveshepherd / Clive Shepherd
- dmetcalf / David Metcalf
- dwilkinsnh / David Wilkins
- gwoodill / Gary Woodill
- JaneBozarth / Jane Bozarth
- jaycross / Jay Cross
- jclarey / Janet Clarey
- jcmeister / Jeanne Meister
- Josh_Bersin / Josh Bersin
- judyb / Judy Brown
- KevinDJones / Kevin D. Jones
- kkapp / Karl Kapp
- masie / Elliott Masie
- mobilemind / Tom King
- moehlert / Mark Oehlert
- Quinnovator / Clark Quinn
- tonykarrer / Tony Karrer
- WillWorkLearn / Will Thalheimer
- writetechnology / Michelle Lentz
No doubt there are many other learning leaders on Twitter, but these ones are some of the ones I've found so far (many of whom are also bloggers, see this recent post for an easy way to quickly start following their blogs via RSS). If you know of others, feel free to leave a comment and share.
Obviously, if you are a heavy smartphone user you might want to look into accessing Twitter from your mobile device. But even for your laptop or desktop computer, I recommend getting one of the applications available as an improvement over the default website interface. Two leading ones are twhirl and TweetDeck. For now I'm using TweetDeck and really like it. See this article comparing the two.
Also, if you are attending a conference this year, be sure to find out if the conference has a Twitter feed set up, so you can follow the group tweets and get more out of the event. Many conferences started doing this in 2008, and I expect this to be commonplace in 2009.
And finally, here are some additional links to blog posts and other interesting items on Twitter:
- "Twitter as Personal Learning and Work Tool: eLearning Technology" is a very good posting from Tony Karrer, with links to more.
- A video interview of "Stephen Fry On Joys of Twitter"
- If you are interested in analysts, here is a large directory of analysts who twitter, including many from Forrester, Gartner, IDC, and many others.
- An increasing number of companies are twittering, for many reasons including brand marketing. See this post "Brands that Tweet" , which provides additional links to articles about corporate use of Twitter, and a lengthy of list of companies who are doing so. See also a list of C-level executives who are on Twitter.
- Rohit Bhargava provides a nice posting on "9 Ways To Make Twitter More Useful For You", which is a follow-up to his entry "The 5 Stages of Twitter Acceptance".
— Thomas Stone (Tom_Stone@elementk.com)