On Twitter and teaching


I was an early Twitter adopter, subscribing to the service back in 2007. Since then, I have used it for just about everything: from those primeval days when the question was “What are you doing?” and we spent our time telling people about what we were up to, where we were, and what we were eating, right up to the present time, when use tends to be more thought out, based on the hope of sharing something of value with those who follow me, or simply to generate attention and discussion about my work.

As a professor at a business school, Twitter has become a key resource for me: I consider myself privileged to teach in a highly regarded educational institution, allowing me to enjoy being with smart students in a highly interactive environment, one that encourages discussion and self-discovery; at the same time it keeps me on my toes, if only because of the amount those students pay to attend my classes.

Right from the start, I saw my blog as a way of obliging me to read, to keep up to date, and to think about what I teach, and have always believed that the methodology of a business school meant that anybody teaching there was a “natural-born blogger.” It’s been the same with Twitter: to begin with it felt a little excessive, but for some time now I have looked forward to the immediate feedback on Twitter that comes after a class or conference, something along the lines of what happens to Dr. Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”, which as a matter of fact, I often use to get discussions going in my classes.

http://youtu.be/Ws5tZ59JDDk

Twitter can help teachers raise awareness about topics, resources, links, and all sorts of issues related to their activities, as well as about the subjects under discussion, about sectors, and about case studies. Actually, it can work in this way for just about any professional, but in the case of teachers it seems a natural extension of their activities.

This morning, I came across Wilfred Mijnhardt’s comment on Twitter mentioning me: he used FollowerWonk to look for business school teachers, and found 829. He then looked at variables such as the number of tweets, followers, seniority, or their social authority, in a list I was topping, ahead of luminaries such as Clayton Christensen, Michael Porter o Rosabeth Moss Kanter, people that I have spent my life reading, or, to some extent, measuring myself against. He then used tools such as Twitonomy, Twtrland, Foller or Klout to expand his conclusions. In itself, this analysis has no greater meaning, I truly don’t believe that one’s professional activities can be measured quantitatively or competitively, and there are probably some professors missing who simply didn’t use the word “professor” or “business school” in their Twitter bio… but nevertheless; it was a nice feeling :-)


(En español, aquí)