How to use Twitter for professional development

Most people who actively use Twitter started out in the same place – wondering… what the world is this for? At first glance, it may look like a useless time waster. But, the reality is that the value you get from Twitter depends on how you nurture it. And, truth be told, it’s not very hard to do. To take the mystery out of it – and speed up the process of getting you to the value, here are our tips for you.

Have a twitter account

It’s free and fast – www.twitter.com. Before you create your username think about whether you are using this account on behalf of yourself or your company. Pick a name that is relevant, professional and easily understood by others.

Find interesting people

During the set up process Twitter will ask you if you want to follow a list of famous people. Don’t. Skip all the steps where they are asking you to import contacts or engage in other ways of connecting with people. Use these methods instead:
1. Use the search box (about halfway down on the right) to look for people who are tweeting about topics that interest you.
2. Search for known people or brands by their names.
3. Watch what your friends are ReTweeting. If you think the content is interesting, click through to the original tweeter and follow them.

How to follow someone: Click on the user’s name to go to their page. Then click the “Follow” button in the upper left.

Use your smart phone to dip into the tweet stream

It’s not likely that you’ll be able to consume every tweet sent out by the people you follow. But, when you have a spare 5 minutes and nothing to do – using a free twitter application on your smart phone gives you a chance to see what others in your field are talking about.

Some interesting and useful people to follow in the eLearning industry

Twitter username Description
PulseLearning Shameless plug – we’d love it if you’d follow us. Useful, concise, interesting, relevant information
kkapp Professor Karl Kapp – one of the foremost authorities on using immersive 3D environments for learning
marciamarcia Her tweets are focused in 2 areas – learning in all its digital forms and social media in general
CLOMedia Tweets from the editors and contributors at Chief Learning Officer magazine
Bersin Bersin & Associates tweets about research, reports, conferences, news and insights for our industry.
eLearningGuild Frequent tweets on a wide variety of learning-related topics.

Note: To find specific people or usernames use the “Find People” link at the top of the Twitter website.

We hope this gives you a head start on using Twitter as your new on-demand, free professional development tool.

Let us know what you think – comments below are open. What are your recommendations for how to better use Twitter for learning?