Four or five times last week I found myself trying to explain Twitter to people who had heard references to the system from somewhere in the popular media (OMG! Oprah’s twittering!) but didn’t understand it.

Mostly, they don’t get the why.

Well, when it comes to social networking tools, I’ve pretty much given up on trying to finding whys for other people.

However, to give them some idea of why Twitter has become such an essential part of my day, I simply showed them my stream.

The people I follow are teachers in Colorado, Canada and right around the corner, principals in Philadelphia and Portland, education activists in California and New Jersey, people who do what I do in Virginia, Florida and England.

And a collection of more smart folks from all over the world who constantly present me with information, new ideas, a smile or two, and make me think.

My end of the Twitter bargain is to try to do the same for the people who follow me.