Hashtags & Chats: A Training Plan for Twitter Success, Part One

Guest post by Nicholas Indeglio

Before the emergence of the World Wide Web, competitive endurance athletes relied on magazine ads to find like-minded locals to train with, to compete against, and to engage as a race crew. The internet broadened that scope globally and now platforms like Strava, Zwift, and MapMyFitness provide slick user interfaces which allow athletes to connect virtually through shared workouts, weekly challenges, diet and nutrition, comment areas, and more. A whole new world of connectivity has emerged. Fortunately, similar networks exist for school leaders and the most powerful one is absolutely free.

Twitter provides a forum for cutting-edge professional development and it links principals with similar interests or challenges. Now, an elementary principal in rural North Dakota who wants to learn more about PLCs can hop on Twitter and connect with other principals from every state and country.

The quickest and most effective way to begin building a strong network on Twitter is by homing in on important hashtags and chats that are geared toward principals. By using the search feature in Twitter (indicated by the small magnifying glass icon), a user simply enters a hashtag and hits the Search button. From there, the user can scroll the results and begin following whomever they like: experts in the field, educators who are nearby, or those they just find interesting.

When you search for a hashtag, Twitter will display a results screen that features the most popular tweets using the hashtag, the most recent tweets, people who frequently use the hashtag or are referenced (these are great people to follow), photos (which are often useful infographics), news stories from recognized websites, videos, and live broadcasts from users via Periscope (similar to Facebook Live and YouTube Capture).

The “definitive” list of active education chats can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/ and is maintained by Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1), Chad Evans (@cevans5095), Connie Hamilton (@conniehamilton), Tom Murray (@thomascmurray), and Jonathan Rochelle (@jrochelle).

For beginners, these hashtags are a great place to start because they attract a large number of prolific tweeters in the area of educational leadership:

  • #AppleEDUChat – the Apple Distinguished Educator’s chat features content that focuses on critical thinking about educational philosophy and instructional practices
  • #Admin2B – an active chat for aspiring administrators and educational leaders
  • #APChat – a chat for assistant principals coordinated by NASSP and Jared Wastler (@jcwastler), an ASCD emerging leader and Maryland Assistant Principal of the Year
  • #EdTechChat – a live, weekly chat highlighting information related to instructional technology with a focus on pedagogy and sound practices
  • #mnlead – a chat about social media and digital citizenship moderated by Bret Domstrand (@bretdom) and Kimberly Horst (@khurdhorst)
  • #PrinLeaderChat – a chat for principals coordinated by NASSP and Dr. Winston Sakurai (@winstonsakurai), a National Digital Principal of the Year
  • #satchat – a heavily attended Saturday morning chat for teachers, principals, superintendents, and educational companies, moderated by founders Brad Currie and Scott Rocco with occasional guest hosts
  • #sunchat – similar to #satchat but with a more free-form structure

Stay tuned for my next post on February 7 about whom to follow on Twitter.

What topic would you like covered in an educational Twitter chat? It’s possible a quick search on the site will bring up just what you are looking for. If not, let a chat moderator know.

Nicholas Indeglio, EdD, is the principal of Downingtown Middle School in Downingtown, PA. He is a 2017 Digital Principal of the Year. Follow him on Twitter @DrIndeglio

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