Twitter is a quick and simple way to share links and ideas, ask questions, and connect personally and professionally. Many educators use Twitter as an important part of their professional network. It will also be a great way to connect with other Victorian PLN participants throughout the course.
Twitter is a communication platform which allows you to send very short messages (it’s called microblogging). Your posts (‘tweets’) are limited to 140 characters or less – slightly shorter than a text message.
While some people do use Twitter to tell you what they had for breakfast, for many more people it is a valuable tool for connecting with friends, colleagues, and the wider world.
How to sign up
- If you don’t have an account yet, head to twitter.com
- Choose a username and enter your password and email address. Your username may be your real name (if it’s still available), but it doesn’t have to be.
- You can add information to your profile. You’ll be using this account as part of the PLN, so your profile should be about you as a professional. Upload a profile photo if you wish.
- You can set your twitter profile to be private. This means that only people following you will see your tweets, but doing this may reduce how useful you find the site, especially as part of the PLN.
Find people to follow
Twitter allows you to follow people – this means their tweets will appear on your page. Twitter offers several ways to find people to follow:
- If you know the usernames of friends or colleagues, you can add them directly. Start by finding our SLV Learning Twitter account. Enter slvlearn into the search box and you should find our account. Click Follow. If you can’t find us, our direct Twitter link is here.
- You might like to look at the profiles of other people to see who they are following. Click on a person’s profile, then click on Following to see who they follow. You then follow people from there.
- We have also suggested a few educators to follow. You can find the group here. Click on the Subscribe button to follow all of the people that we suggest, or select the ones that interest you.
In addition to following people, you can follow events or themes. Twitter uses a system called hashtags to allow people to tweet about a topic. You don’t have to include a hashtag in your tweets, but if you want to comment on a subject or event then include the hashtag.
The PLN programme has its own hashtag: #vicpln. If you search for it in the Twitter search box you can see comments from previous PLN participants and other people interested in what we have to share. Below is an example of a tweet that we sent to the #vicpln community when we were writing this post. Feel free to include the #vicpln hashtag whenever you want to talk to the wider community.
Send out a tweet
To send out a new tweet, make sure you are logged in and then click the Compose new tweet box under your profile.
You might not have too many followers so far, so let’s send out a message to the #VicPLN community to get started. To do this, you just need to include the hashtag #vicpln somewhere in your tweet.
You only have 140 characters, so you’ll need to be brief. Send out a message like this:
Hi, I am (your first name) and I’m new to Twitter. I’ve joined up as part of the #VicPLN program.
Here are some of the features of the box for sending new tweets (click to enlarge).
The #VicPLN people are all very nice so hopefully you’ll get some replies. A few people might even follow you!
Please add your twitter username (which is called your Twitter handle) to your blog post for this week so we can follow you. Or, you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you spend some time finding some people to follow. Remember to keep checking back on the #VicPLN hashtag to see what is happening within the community. We will spend some more time looking at Twitter in the weeks to come.
Go to the next task – Victorian PLN on Facebook