11 things I’ve learned about Twitter and L&D

I only started using Twitter to learn about L&D in February.  Before that I used Twitter to follow Ricky Gervais, to keep up with the moaning of Brighton & Hove Albion fans, and so on.  My main learning point from that period was that Graham Linehan and Danny Baker are genuinely very funny people (technically more a piece of double loop learning: I knew that already, that’s why I followed them: so the learning point was yes, it’s a good idea to follow funny people).

So here’s what I’ve learned about L&D on Twitter, via @LearningFCO.  And I haven’t even scratched the surface – if that’s a DIY metaphor, then I’m still making myself a cup of tea, and wondering whether I need to go to B&Q for some white spirit, and whether I’ve lost the drillbits again.

1. There are some people on Twitter who spout endless aphorisms about L&D.  They seem particularly attracted to leadership.  Each day they tweet 50 variants on “Leadership is not about showing the path – it is the path” and “Your task as a leader is not to enlighten others – it is to allow others to enlighten you” and so on.  Follow these people, be amused for a day, and then unfollow, before your timeline collapses under the weight of Walt Disney’s evil nephew who went into executive self-help via a New Jersey mafia business in fortune cookies.

2. Hello @GordonTredgold.  Actually I think this is a spoof account.  With 94,000 followers. I have 62.

3. There is software which allows you to stack up tweets, and release them during the times when your followers are most active (vulnerable) on Twitter.  Releasing this software was the Twitter equivalent of the invention of the Gatling Gun in the 1860s, and had the same devastating effect.  There are, as yet,  no international conventions banning or limiting the use of time-release software on Twitter.  Or the use of Gordon Tredgold.

4. More seriously, I have come across concepts for the first time.  These include the flipped classroom, neuroplasticity, dark gorilllas, learning flow, working out loud, Bloom’s Taxonomy, the importance of ambient noise and wearable learning devices.  I’m going to blog about some of these.  That will force me to research them properly (or partially, if I’m being honest – the freedom to be half-arsed being one of the great things about Twitter).

5. I have come across some really interesting opinions.  Like @DonaldClark’s demolition of the traditional university teaching model and views on the future of MOOCs.  Like @sundertrg’s views on learning culture.  I am following interesting tweeters such as @C4LPT, @Marcoable, @FastCoLead, @toby_saffron, @Leadershipfreak, @SkipPrichard, @blinkist, @MattGuyan, @sukhpabial, @fuchsia_blue, @JoyAndLife, @ChangeContinuum, @edutopia, @ActivateLearn.. poetry, isn’t it?

6. I picked up the habit of referring to people by their username (@..)

7. I have hoovered up some really useful articles, hints and tips etc on facilitation, public speaking and learning pathways which I know are going to come in really useful at some point.

8. I have realised that you need the digital equivalent of a garden shed, garage or attic to store all the things that you know are going to come in really useful at some point.

9. I have just remembered that numbered lists are instantly more attention-grabbing than bulleted lists, and have just changed this blog accordingly.

10. Except that a quick piece of iPhone/Google research (from the pub) reveals that odd-numbered lists may, weirdly, be 20% more effective than even-numbered lists. So on to 11.

11. Rather like real life, social networking events on Twitter are most valuable not for the conversation, but for the contact-making.  For L&D, I discovered the 8am-9am (UK time) Friday Twitter chats run by @LnDConnect with the hashtag #ldinsight.  I’ve discovered lots of interesting L&D people this way.  And unlike real life, they don’t freak out if you start following them.

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So my recommendation to colleagues interested in L&D: get on Twitter and see what you learn.

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