I had an interesting experience at a meeting recently. Serious items were being discussed, and I was making my contribution to the conversation.
I happened to mention that I had come across the information I was about to share via a colleague on Twitter, and no sooner were the words out of my mouth, than I realised that a certain amount of mirth filled the room.
Why was I surprised to receive such a response? Had I said that I found the information ‘on the internet’, or that it had come to me ‘via email’, I am sure I would not have had the same response.
And yet, the fact that the source was a trusted professional (whom I have actually – not just virtually – met) seemed risible to some of the people in the room just because of the method of discovery of this interesting and important piece of information.
Now, I am aware that there are still many who think that people who use Twitter are engaging in little more than a daily dose of ‘Heat’ magazine, following vapid celebrities for their inane chatter. And I will admit to following my share of celebrities, too, but I have chosen to follow them because they offer me something which I like: film commentary (Mark Kermode); giggles (Dara O Briain and Sarah Millican); veggie recipes (Simon Rimmer).
But looking through the 300-odd people whom I follow, the vast majority are fellow education professionals, most of them language specialists, to whom I am indebted for ideas, camaraderie, virtual hugs and a wealth of information.
Will the response from ‘real life’ colleagues stop me tweeting? No way! In fact, I feel a little sorry for those who have not yet discovered the power of Twitter. It’s an incredible network, through which I have met some fabulous people, and learned an amazing amount.
Whatever the reaction, I am going to carry on tweeting!