Six years ago I sat around a table discussing the eminence of Bob Dylan with another esteemed musician, Josh Ritter. We talked music, poetry, and listened to a soundcheck. Josh asked us what our favorites were and I sat on the stage of a historic Vancouver ballroom listening to the most surreal performance of Good Man I could never have imagined.
All of this is thanks to Twitter. A few weeks before the concert I remember mindlessly tweeting about how I would have loved to go, but the show was 19+. After a few tweets back and forth, Josh’s tour coordinator tweeted back at a conversation I was having and arranged this meeting, something that never would have happened had it not been for Twitter. While the network does not exist solely to enable sixteen year olds to meet their favorite artists, this is my go to story when I have to explain to others why Twitter is the most impactful social network I have ever participated in.
This story is simply an example of the power that this network enables. The transfer of this impact on my learning has been equally significant in my life. Many of the major insights I have had, articles I have been pointed to and conversations I have been privy to, have been because of Twitter. Although it is a huge network of fourteen year olds subtweeting about how angry they are at their best friends and boyfriends (I would know I was one), and companies shamelessly promoting themselves to the point of belligerence, there is something unique that happens on Twitter: learning.
Scholars, students, and all those in between are provided with a forum to share, follow, learn, discuss, and grow. Boundaries crumble as experts in a field tweet at high school students and college undergraduates eager to learn more. Twitter breaks down traditional power structures and facilitates equity in learning. Lively discussions occur in succinct statements of 140 characters or less. Blogs are shared, conference backchannels thrive, and communities grow and flourish.
This blog post is an appreciative nod to a network that had taught, humbled, and connected me. I don’t know that I would have realized my love for ed-tech had it not been for Twitter, and I hope to continue to grow my understanding and love for this domain through my favorite connected learning environment. Here’s to a great ten years, and what I hope to be an equally impactful ten more.