I have used Twitter for several years now with students as a way to engage and connect outside of the classroom. Aside from using it as a way to project my personal persona for outside of the classroom, it has also proven quite useful for supporting students when they need it.
I have used TweetChat.com to participate in discussions such as #SmallBizChat and #EdTech chats that happen on a regular basis. I really quite enjoy these chats because they help test my understanding of a subject, as well as expose me to the answers of other participants. Inevitably I gain a few new followers after a chat, and hopefully built upon my professional network.
For my students Twitter has operated like Technical Support, where they can direct message me and I get a text notification right away. This has proven useful on numerous occasions where something in Blackboard was not working properly or a student was having difficulty and could reach out to me for help.
In one instance, a student contacted me when I was working out of town. Because the class was following me, I could post that one of their classmates was in need of help, could someone possibly support them? Within a few minutes I had found the student some help and they wrote me back to let me know that all was well. It is a great way to develop a Peer Support Network and get learners working together.