Wordles – Looking back on the year and more!

At this time of year, it seems everyone is reflecting on “a years worth of tweets/status updates.” So, of course that got me thinking about doing the same. I really enjoy using Wordle, so I decided to make two – one of my most used words on twitter (from TweetStats) and from this blog. Here are the results. First from Twitter:

It’s no surprise that some of the largest words involve “band”, “music”, and “students.”

Here’s the wordle from this blog:

Again, very similar.

I’m pleased with the results, and it’s fun to reflect back on what I have been tweeting/writing about. Try it out for yourself! I’d be interested in seeing what you come up with!

Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!

How social media has helped me come out of my shell

I am the quiet observer type. But, I have found that using social media outlets, especially Twitter, has made it much easier for me to communicate with my colleagues, and especially people that I am just meeting for the first time. I find it easier to have meaningful discussions with new acquaintances.

Here are my personal observations. 1. I am more comfortable and confident holding conversations with colleagues & new acquaintances. 2. While holding these conversations, I feel that my thoughts are more succinct and clear. 3. I actually feel like I can communicate more effectively to my students. 4. I am no longer reserved about sharing my thoughts and comments with people who I hardly know.

I know there is a lot of talk, especially in education circles, about the use of social media by students. Some fear that using these online communication methods are somehow destroying students’ abilities to communicate effectively and properly “in the real world.”

My question would be this. Why then, have I found that my communications skills have improved? Is it simply because I previously learned proper social interaction before this whole social media thing happened? Or, has social media actually influenced the way I communicate?

I have always been a shy person, but I would no longer put myself in that category. Perhaps writing this blog has helped, too. Maybe through writing this blog and using twitter, I have realized that “putting my thoughts out there” isn’t a bad thing. In fact, maybe it’s a good thing…a really good thing. I have learned so much and had such great conversation with other educators and professionals through these social media outlets.

I don’t know that I can draw any conclusions about young people, but I know that these outlets have helped me to communicate more effectively and more comfortably. Just food for thought.

Twitter & Music Educators

If you are not yet familiar with Twitter, I encourage you to check it out. Rather than try to explain it to you, I will quote Wikipedia:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook. For SMS, four gateway numbers are currently available: short codes for the United States, Canada, and India, as well as a United Kingdom number for international use. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via email.

I have really just recently started using Twitter, and have come to find that I have some colleagues in my own school district that are new users as well. What I would like to do, however, is figure out some way for music educators to start following each other on Twitter, so that we can share information, etc.

So, if you get a chance, please find me on Twitter, and we can start “following” each other. I am on Twitter as “dougbutchy.” Hope to hear from you soon!