Why Twitter Just Became Indispensable For Music Programs

OK, many of you have been in the following scenarios. What do you do when:

  • You are at Disney with your group, and suddenly there has been a mistake discovered in the itinerary. You need to leave...NOW... but your kids are all over the park. You have a phone tree set up, but it is going to take Who Knows How Long to get the word out, not to mention what will happen to the details during the inevitable telephone tag.
  • Practice starts in 30 minutes, and thunderstorm watch turns in to a tornado warning for your vicinity. People are en route, now what?
  • Snow is accumulating too fast this afternoon, and the principal tells you you need to reschedule the Holiday Concert, and you tell all the students during school. But how do you alert the public?

Now, obviously these are issues that have come up over the years, and we've all figured out ways to deal with them. But yesterday Twitter made a very important upgrade that is going to radically change the speed and efficiency of our communications. People can now use Twitter's Fast Follow feature to get text messages from your Twitter account without themselves having an account. Yep, they simply send a text to 40404. That's it, done, and free.

Fast Follow. Anyone in the US can receive Tweets on their phone even if they haven’t signed up for Twitter. This is a simple way for people to get information they care about in real-time. For example, let’s say you want to get Tweets from New York City’s office of emergency management (@). Just text ‘follow NotifyNYC’to 40404 in the US.

This alleviates alot of the concerns out there about whether or not students can be required to have a Twitter account, or share they mobile number with you, or whether they should have your mobile number. No longer an issue. Just have them Fast Follow your program's Twitter ID. Did I mention this is FREE??

Your excuses for not implementing a music program Twitter account just ran out friends.

If birds couldn't sing, all we'd have is a bunch of tweets

Feed Me!

Like most tools, Twitter is really great for its core purpose, yet 140 characters can make it woefully inadequate for other uses. Anyone who uses Twitter knows this very well, and as the teaching profession continues to "flock" to Twitter we are at the same time witnessing a desire for something that has been largely absent since the coming of "Web 2.0."

The missing "something" is organized conversation.

Twitter works OK for small talk, but when you want to go deep on a subject and include as many thinkers as possible, it just doesn't work well. Not to mention that Twitter is extremely "in the moment." Miss a little, miss a lot, with Twitter. Twitter was made for "here is what I think" and what is needed right now (especially in education) is "how can we put our minds together to improve?"

All this to say that if you are a teacher who is new to the Professional Learning Network (PLN) movement, you need more than tweets. For music teachers, Joe Pisano has just given the profession an incredible opportunity by launching musicpln.org, a site that has conversation at its foundation. This is an incredible opportunity for our us, and we need everyone on board in order to have the type of critical mass that a discussion board needs at launch. Sign up and say hello. Read, but more importantly, post your thoughts. For other teachers, check out the educator's ning at http://edupln.ning.com/.

The default behavior on the web these days is to take, not to give. We need more givers. We all have something to contribute. Give us a song or two in the midst of your tweets, the profession will be stronger for it.