SAY YES TO THE TWITTER *
(*with apologies to TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress)
By: Kelly Silwani, Past President, Olentangy Local Schools
Episode Date: Spring, 2016
My slightly afraid of social media brain: “So, are you saying yes to the new Twitter account?”
Me: (with my finger paused over the enter button) “Ummmmmmm, YES!!!”
**Hit the “enter” key and loud cheering and applause erupts. . .in my mind, at least**
And with that, way back in 2016, I launched my Twitter account @silwani4scifi with some trepidation and much enthusiasm.
Twitter. People seem to either love it or are not sure how they should feel about it. I was the latter. I knew librarians and teachers that used it, but I didn’t really understand it and I wasn’t sure there would be a benefit. Many of my friends assured me that I could do as little or as much as I wanted to, and if I made my password super secure and not the word “password” I would feel better about hacking. (which is always a huge fear for me)
In March of 2016, OELMA held a free webinar to go over the basics of Twitter. I decided to at least create an account and learn the basics. The webinar leaders had asked us to come to the meeting with an account already created, which I did. The account was easy to set up, the hard part was coming up with a twitter name. For the record, I changed it at least once at the beginning. I also made the decision, from the beginning, that my Twitter account would be professional only. I would leave the personal stuff on Facebook.
**Please see Angela Wojtecki’s blog post from December 2016 for more Twitter tools. http://www.oelma.org/2016/12/ **
So now here I am over a year and a half later and exactly how do I feel about it? I. LOVE. IT! No question it is a must have for me in the teacher-librarian world. I’m able to easily connect with other library professionals and groups; much easier than with Facebook. Did you just read a book that you feel everyone should read? Authors love it when you tweet your stamp of approval and include them in the tweet. Many time they retweet your comment and you instantly gain more followers. I’ve been in PD sessions and using a common hashtag, participants have expanded upon ideas that they just learned. I’m not joking when I say I feel empowered. I’ve been able to share activities happening in my library and school. Slowly, over time, my list of followers and list of people I’m following has grown. I’ve encouraged and helped staff members in my building use Twitter. They love seeing pictures I’ve tweeted of activities we have collaborated on together.
Don’t be afraid. I started out slowly, even locking down my account as much as I could till I could get the hang of it. I eventually opened my account so anyone could follow me. Don’t worry if you choose to do this too. Twitter gives you the option to block people if necessary. Currently, I follow company presidents, authors, librarians from all over the world, education professionals, speakers, public library groups, Library of Congress, NASA and The National Archives, school administrators from many different school districts and more. The best part is that many follow me. What a great way to instantly spread the word about what we do and what we CAN do for our students.
Now to conquer Instagram. . . stayed tuned.