Twitter, a social networking platform used for microblogging, is a free service that lets you send the briefest of messages (with a maximum of 140 characters) to everyone in your network. It marries the mass appeal of blogging with the speed and ease of text messaging.
There has been a growing interest in how to use these new forms of social media for learning & development. Driving this interest is the fact that Millennials, or those born after 1981, make up 22 percent of the workforce now and will grow to comprise 46 percent of the workforce by the year 2020.
This is the generation that is most likely to be using Twitter. According to comScore, Twitter had almost three million monthly users as of June of 2008, which is triple what it had last November. In addition, those figures probably undershot the mark because they don’t measure mobile activity, which is a large part of the Twittersphere, as can be seen in the graphic above.
So given this level of activity, are companies using Twitter to it’s fullest potential for learning & development? The chatter following my last post on the subject does reinforce the view that human resources and learning professionals are experimenting with Twitter as a training tool. This is of interest because of the usage among Millennials in particular, as well as the fact that Twitter is a free service being used by millions of people of all ages.
Below are some of the possible uses for Twitter as a training tool from the “wisdom of the crowds”:
- Reminders of upcoming training events and reminders of key learning content
- Pre-emptive help for learning a new process or procedure
- Links to new articles of interest
- Online performance support tools communicated in 140 character limits. Most felt this requirement of 140 characters was a “good thing” in pushing training directors to be succinct about follow-up tools.
- Seminar/classroom attendee communications sharing a relevant point of view
- Team communications allowing employees a real time archive to how the team is progressing and issues they are encountering. They can also set up and install the twhirl application at their workstations so they can monitor what is going on.
- New hire training where new hires are invited to webcasts or conference calls on relevant issues they are dealing with on the job.
Twitter has gone mainstream over the last year. At the end of 2008 summer session, a congressman from Texas, John Culberson (R-Texas), was told by House leadership to stop Twittering his constituents from the floor of the chamber. Next, you may be getting a tweet from your CEO asking how you will use Twitter in your department.
If you are on twitter, be sure to “follow” me at: http://twitter.com/jcmeister
Happy New Year to all!