Some years ago I was teaching summer school to seniors for a program where Seniors traveled across Canada learning about other cities. One lady in the course, who had written several books, was concerned that the internet would add so much to her already busy life she would become overwhelmed. I must admit that my adoption of social media gave me a similar feeling. Some days just reading Facebook posts could take an extraordinary amount of time. As a result, I have found that Twitter much more fits my lifestyle. The brevity of posts and that I can pick through the content that is more related to my interests; Neuroscience, technology, Education and learning, is more appealing to me. I am also able to pick people who I follow and find interesting people and forums.
For general use there are many programs to support Twitter users. An easy to use program for organizing Twitter information is Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/).
Of interest for On-line teaching in adult education is the idea of using Twitter to communicate in a chat with participants in a course or people who have interests in similar topics. A unique hashtag reference is created for a group. Participants can then join the chat through http://tweetchat.com/. A set time can be created for synchronize communication with participants and the chat can be moderated.
Dr. Beaudin, et al. has conducted research that shows that Twitter is useful for educators to share content and resources for professional development (Beaudin, L. & Cowie, B. (2014). Educators’ Perceptions of and Practices for Using Social Media for Professional Development. In M. Searson & M. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2014 (pp. 2434-2439). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)). Twitter was second, only YouTube, as a professional development resource. Twitter can be very useful to break the isolation teachers face in their profession. It is a useful resource for finding information and people. Twitter can be used to simply gather information or it can be used as a sharing platform.