Unit 3: Twitter

Twitter is a platform for microblogging, that is, blogging in very small doses. Updates are limited to 140 characters or less – slightly shorter than a text message. It’s true: some people do use Twitter to tell you what they had for breakfast, but for many more people it is a valuable tool for connecting with friends, colleagues, and the wider world. 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.
Signing up
•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.
•Give some thought to what you include in your personal details. This is a public profile that will allow people to locate and connect with you, and it should give some insight into who you are and what you do. Upload a profile photo if you wish.
•If you wish, you can set your twitter profile to be private. This means that only people following you will see your tweets. Doing this may reduce how useful you find the site.
•You are now on Twitter! The key to Twitter, however, is connections. It’s now time to connect with others.
•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 click Who to Follow <http://twitter.com/#!/who_to_follow> at the top of the page, you can view Twitter’s suggestions (based on your profile, general popularity and your location), browse by your interests, or see if any friends are already registered. If you know usernames of friends or colleagues, you can add them directly. We will compile a list of the usernames of PLN members and share this with you.
•In addition to following people, you can follow events or themes. There are several ways to do this. The “search” button on the Twitter page allows you to enter any term and see where it appears in other peoples’ tweets. You can also follow hashtags. Hashtags are added to tweets to identify them as related to a particular topic. A hash symbol(#) before a word turns it into a hashtag. A very popular educational hashtag is #edchat where many educators ask questions, offer advice, and share insights and resources. This programme has its own hashtag: #vicpln. Add this hashtag to your tweets!
•Tweeting: tweeting is the name given to updating on Twitter. Individual updates are called tweets. If you wish to address someone in a tweet, include their username after an at symbol (@). This is called a mention. Mentions are specially flagged for the person, but are visible to everyone. Retweeting is passing on a tweet that you have seen to your own followers, and will include an automatic mention of the original tweeter. If you want to send a message to only a particular user, replace the at symbol with a capital D. This will only be visible to them, and is called a direct message.
Extension
•Access twitter through Tweetdeck. <http://www.tweetdeck.com/> Tweetdeck is a downloadable program that displays your Twitter stream in columns that are simple to manage and customisable. You can add columns for hashtags you following, and there are default columns for your mentions and direct messages.
•Experiment with lists. These are ways of grouping Twitter feeds to manage your Twitter experience more effectively.
•Explore URL shorteners. Given the 140 character limit on tweets, services like these can make previously un-tweetable sites like blog entries much more manageable. The best known of these services is Bitly <http://bit.ly/> but there are many alternatives. Tweetdeck will shorten URLs automatically.
•Investigate other Twitter add-ons:
oThere are twitter apps available for all types of smartphones, allowing mobile access.
oImage sharing services like Twitpic connect directly to Twitter.
oThe Twitter Blog recommends many more. <http://blog.twitter.com/search/label/apps>
•Investigate some of these Over 100 ways to teach with Twitter <http://www.emergingedtech.com/2010/02/100-ways-to-teach-with-twitter/>. What ideas can you add?

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.

Using hashtags

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.

To see any related posts on that topic, click on the hashtag, and you’ll see search results of every tweet including that hashtag.

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 pln@slv.vic.gov.au

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

Return to Unit 3 overview

 

4 Responses to Unit 3: Twitter

  1. Miss Jackson says:

    Hi,

    Just wondering if you could tell me how you got the Twitter feed on to your blog? I have been trying but can’t get it to work!

  2. plnteam says:

    This is a sample comment to show you how to manage comments on your blog.
    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.

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