The Difference A Year Can Make

One year ago (April 29, 2010), I was asked to attend an intense three day social media boot camp, called #Kipcamp. Kipcamp is hosted by the Kiplinger Program of The Ohio State University. We were introduced to the coordinators and facilitators, Debra Jasper (@Debrajasper) and Betsy Hubbard (@BestyHubbard) of Kipcamp by a Columbus State Community College administrator.

Kipcamp was an awesome experience as it exposed me to the world of social media. We discussed how businesses use Facebook, the importance and influence of blogging, and the use of Twitter, among other Web 2.0 tools. Prior to this, I saw no use for Twitter whatsoever. I didn’t care what or where celebrities ate for breakfast, what they decided to wear to lunch or some awards show, or any other random piece of information that I assumed was tweeted! So, when they spent the second day of the three day camp on Twitter, needless to say I was not thrilled. However, it happened!

What is “it” you ask? Well, I’m glad you want to know! What happened was that I was introduced to the possibilities of connecting with people all over the world through Twitter. I was taught the language and the basics of how to compose a message in 140 characters. I learned about a hashtag, how to DM, RT, and follow someone. It was a great experience, but to say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I left day two of KipCamp enthused, but not yet sold that Twitter was something I would or could use as a principal. You know, there are so many rules, policies, and fears surrounding social media and public education.

Day Three: I played with Twitter a little bit more and stumbled upon @Shellterrell and the Teacher Reboot Camp. I then followed the great Shelly Terrell and quickly found George Couros (@gcouros) and Connected Principals (@conprin), followed by Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) and The Educators PLN! It was like the scales from my eyes were removed! Tweets about emerging and relevant educational issues were nonstop and I couldn’t read them fast enough. I didn’t realize this world even existed!

As I took a leap into the Twitterverse, I first only lurked, meaning I read the tweets of others, but didn’t reply, retweet, or contribute in any way at all. However, about a month into it, I began to reply to others’ tweets, comment on others’ blogs, and retweet their information. I began to gain so much more from Twitter as I began to contribute. It was at that time that I understood what many education Tweeters referred to as a Personal Learning Network. A PLN is a network of educators who learn from one another regardless of distance and time. I was hooked!

Through Twitter, I have been exposed to Education Conferences (#educon) Teach Meets, and unconferences that occur all over the world. I even participated in my first online education conference-for free! Talk about relevant and engaging professional development! I have communicated with educators from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, England, China, and all over the United States through Twitter and I am so thankful for members of my PLN for adding to my growth as an educator. In no other time in my career have I had the privilege to learn from so many different people from all walks of life.

As of today, I am responsible for over 1500 tweets, I am accountable to 535+ followers, and I am following over 220 people, and I now have a blog called, Mr. Carter’s Office, all because of Twitter. It’s been a wonderful experience so far and I can’t wait to see what another year brings!

Be Great,


8 thoughts on “The Difference A Year Can Make

  1. Dwight: great post, thank you for sharing! I am on month 2 using twitter with a similar story, and profound results! I am thrilled to be a part of the twitter community and have learned a great deal from you and your insightful tweets. Thanks again!

  2. Pretty cool Dwight. I had no idea all of that was going on. Seems like a fast and easy way to learn and share.

  3. Hi Dwight,

    I am a year behind you in the journey. I signed up for Twitter after a workshop with Alan November, and just started my own blog. Thanks for the update, which inspired me to imagine what a year from now will look like.


  4. Dwight,

    I am really glad you decided to keep with it! You are a great addition to anyone’s PLN, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and sharing thoughts with you. In particular, I really enjoy the way you end every comment or post with “be great.”

    From one Educator to another, I urge you to be great tomorrow Dwight!

  5. Great post, DC! I was at the same camp and am not near as far along as you are! Smile!
    “Dream Big!”

  6. Dwight,
    Great blog post! You have inspired me to start Tweeting. I have connected to people from around the world. I have shared ideas with thought leaders from other countries. I have written blogs and responded to postings. I too have joined Educator’s PLN. Overall, you have motivated the motivator. Thanks Bro!

  7. I met Dwight today and I am not only using twitter but Tweetdeck! I am beginning my journey to become a digital leader ..thanks Dwight!

  8. Erica,

    It was a pleasure meeting you, Maggie, Claude, Troy, and Bill! Your enthusiasm for learning is contagious and your students are blessed to have you as their principal! I’ll be at your breakout session at Ingite 16!

    Be Great,


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