Tweeto ergo sum … learning

Tweeto ergo sum … learning


I’m not interested in what you had for breakfast.

I’d studiously stayed away from Twitter.
How could anything of value be said in 140 characters? How could any meaningful connections be made through such bite-sized, transient interactions?

A passing comment from @MichelleOckers about how all her professional development in the last three years had come via Twitter, and a sneaking suspicion at AITD2015 conference that I was missing a whole level of dialogue, interaction and resources from my experience, a whole lot of questions and research … and I signed up.

I followed all the speakers from AITD2015 conference and a few more that they recommended. I lurked. I tentatively tweeted. I liked. I got retweeted. I followed. I got followers.



I lasted about 3 weeks. It was too much.
I had been enjoying the new platform, but was overwhelmed by the volume of (quality) content and a bit daunted by the calibre of people who seemed willing to interact and share with me.

I shared this sense of being overwhelmed with a few of those I was following. They nodded sagely and steered me towards a bunch of other tools for managing, capturing and curating the steady stream of content. I was back, and it was gold.

People were so generous. Answers for my novice questions, introductions, lessons in etiquette, shout outs to their followers, comments, RESOURCES, links to events, invitations to twitterchats, conference back channels, intelligent and gracious opinions.

It’s simply been the best thing I’ve done for my professional development, my network and my career in 20 years.


1% of your day. That’s all it takes to get started. You don’t even have to do it all at once. A minute while that webpage loads, 3 minutes between tasks, 5 minutes on the bus, 5 during lunch. 15 minutes to invest in your career’s most important asset … you.

I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve learned a few things about twitter that may be helpful if you’re considering joining.

1 lesson for each month I’ve been on (that’s only 8), each one 140 characters or less!

  1. Consider your @handle carefully. How do you want to brand yourself? Will people be able to find you?
  2. Concentrate on who you follow, not who follows you. Pick people at the top of their game and mix in some outliers and contrarians.
  3. Curate your finds (aggregate, filter, organise, contextualise). Try Diigo. It’s simple and you tag things to make them easy to  find later.
  4. Be generous. Acknowledge your sources, share quality and thank others who do.
  5. Give yourself permission to not read every tweet that comes in. You will never keep up, and that’s ok.
  6. Have a personality and an opinion but keep them civil, intelligent and positive.
  7. Use #hashtags to join discussions and follow topics. Find a twitterchat that resonates.
  8. Enjoy, explore, engage. The L&D twitter community are a great crowd who will welcome you to the twitterverse.

I’m no expert but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and happy to keep learning! If you’re interested in a particular field of L&D let me know and I’ll recommend some tweeps to follow. You can connect with and follow me @NeilVonHeupt. Just don’t tell me what you had for breakfast.

One thought on “Tweeto ergo sum … learning

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience of your first 8 months on Twitter Neil. Your tips are excellent. Generosity and contribution abound online, including on Twitter – so long as you have this mindset and follow and interact others who demonstrate behaviours consistent with it too. It’s been a pleasure to have you in my Personal Learning Network online via Twitter.

    Apart from following people who share great resources I am also increasingly looking for people who will interact and have a conversation with me. Amazing that it’s possible to do this in bursts of 140 characters – and it is, supplemented with Direct Messages (DMs) for private or small group chats.

    I’ve been using Twitter lists for the past few months to filter groups of people – almost like defining subsets of my PLN or small Communities of Practice. This helps to deal with the overwhelm. I do have a blog post in development to share my experience with lists.

    Also appreciate you blogging – you really have embraced the online space as a key part of your CPD. I’m sure it will get a mention in your EduTECH talk this coming week. Break a leg.


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