Making Professional Connections with Twitter

I’m currently serving on an ad hoc marketing committee for the National Council for  Geographic Education (NCGE). One of my goals is to encourage the use of social media to facilitate connections between the organization, its current members, potential new members and nonmembers alike. Twitter is a vehicle that can accomplish my goal even for the less-tech savvy and social media sceptics.

Twitter is more than a microblogging app to push thoughts out, it’s a way to make and develop connections. Twitter has become an important tool for me to stay up-to-date with my professional interest in technology-integrated teaching and learning, especially in geography. It has also expanded my personal learning network and professional connections tremendously.

An excellent example of using Twitter for professional connections occured recently. Dr. Andrew Shears(@andrewshears) and I  connected on Twitter over a year ago. Our connection drew closer when he accepted his first full-time geography position at UW- Fox Valley. I’ve been “down the road” from his new home at UW-Stevens Point for 26 years. One Sunday morning Andrew posted a question to Twitter and I was able to help him out. The conversation is included on the right. The power and immediacy of social media like Twitter becomes clear from this example. A new faculty person connecting with an experienced one sharing and addressing issues related to their careers.

Some would say that they are not “techy” enough to be using Twitter. I would argue that those are just the people who could benefit from Twitter if they are curious about using social media for professional development. The key issue for most is knowing how to connect to the right people and how to filter the “wheat from the chaffe”. Those are topics for a future blog post.


About Michael Ritter
Retired Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, science textbook author, educational technology blogger, podcaster, and freelance media consultant.

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