So last week was a tough week for me personally.  I was practicing my hockey skills Sunday afternoon and fell on the ice where I literally lost my front two teeth.  Anyway, besides being completely mortified I felt blessed to have such amazing family, friends, and colleagues to help me through this painful and embarrassing time.

I was out of work last Monday and Tuesday as I waited for my mouth to heal enough to return to work without scaring others, so of course I was on Twitter trying to stay connected!!  I came across a Tweet from Phil Morris (@Morris_Phil) who mentioned switching from Tweetdeck to HootSuite for his Twitter chats.  Of course I immediately went to see what HootSuite was all about….and I was hooked!

Although Hootsuite has many benefits here are my top 3 favorite things about Hootsuite

  1. It is a one stop shop to manage your social media – Using one single dashboard you can respond to messages and view post/comments all on one single screen – no clicking around!
  2. When using Hootsuite for a Twitter chat it organizes questions in one column with the answers in a separate column right next to it – no more scrolling around to match the Q# with the A#!!!
  3. You can modify your “homescreen” to meet your needs –  I like mine to show “My Tweets”, “Home” (curent posts, retweets, likes, etc. from all those I follow), and “Likes” (all the tweets I liked showing in one feed)!

HootSuite wasn’t the only post that got my attention last week, I also came across BPS101 Twitterpalooza (#101alag)!!!  Batavia School District 101 created a week long Twitter chat; one question was asked each day (at 7am) around the common topic of “Feedback”.  I thought this was a very manageable way to create an online community of learners who could share resources and collaborate!  

So many times in a Twitter chat I find myself lacking struggling to keep up with the pace of the dialogue or bored that the conversation is not moving fast enough.  By setting up the Twitterpalooza as BPS101 did, educators had all day to read, reflect and post their response to the question.  

It was time to reflect.  How could I who, I admit, am new-ish to Twitter (but finding many professional benefits from being more active) combine what I learned from Batavia School District 101 and Hootsuite to add value to the educators I serve?

I kept thinking about the idea of hosting my own Twitter chat, but I have never done it before and what if no one participated?  Well, I was nervous before I started this blog and yet week after week I find myself typing away with my number of active readers increasing.  

With a nervous excitement in the air I announce the Kane County Regional Office of Education’s first ever Twitter Chat hosted by yours truly!  In an effort to kick off Kane County Institute Day we will hold the Twitter chat the week of February 26th.  We will ask a question a day with the #leadassistinspire

I will follow the traditional Q&A format, I will ask a question or post a discussion topic as indicated by Q1, Q2, etc. and participants post correlating answers (A1, A2, etc.) to match which makes it easy to follow along (especially if you use Hootsuite 🙂

So although down and out last week, my family, friends, colleagues and those I follow on Twitter had a way of making me think of something other than the 2 years of high school I spent wasted in braces and gave me something to research, plan, and get excited about!  

I can’t wait to be even more inspired via our Twitter Chat on February 26th!  I look forward to learning from you all!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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