How to Use Twitter

Step 1 Create a Twitter Handle

Creating a Twitter account is easy, just go to twitter.com  and sign up.  As you choose a username, it becomes what is called your twitter handle. That is what you share with others and how others find you. See for example the 6 Tips to Choosing the Perfect Twitter Name. This Twitter Glossary of Terms provides a definition for twitter handle:

Twitter Handle:

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 Step 2 Understand Basic Twitter Language

Truncated twitter posts: Because you need to fit your tweet in 140 characters, sometimes you will need to truncate words: stds R the most important 2 school  (eliminate vowels, use letters or numbers to represent the sound of short words). Check also this  Twitter Dictionary.

Shortened URL: Most web addresses are quite long and all characters count on a tweet, so you need to use any online URL shortener like bitly.com or tinyurl.com. Just add the URL to the required box and get a shortened version.

 Hashtag: A hashtag is a “keyword” that people use to share tweets on the same topic. So if you use the hashtag #educhat, then everyone that follows or searches for this hashtag will see your post. If you don’t use any hashtag, only your followers will see your post. But you want to reach more people and preferably people interested in the same topic. To search for a hashtag on “design thinking” for example, I type on Google: design thinking hashtag , and I find #designthinking. You may also look at this Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education. Here is also a list of Education Chats on Twitter, which mean people using a specific hashtag during specific times of the day, as in a chat.

@Mention:  You can use anyone’s @twitterhandle (username) on a tweet to catch that person’s or institution’s attention. This is very helpful to develop your network as you increase the chance of others seeing your tweets, following you or even responding to your direct questions.

Retweet: One of the options at the bottom of any tweet is  retweet symbol Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.56.39 AM. This allows you to tweet a post from someone else. It is a good way to develop your network as the person who was retweeted by you will see, and you increase the number of useful tweets with your followers. That means you start “curating” tweets from others as well.

Step 3 Compose a Tweet

Now you are ready to open your Twitter personal page and start tweeting! Click on the tweet icon to write. Remember you can only use up to 140 characters.

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As you start writing, you will see a word count going down. You will see that 140 is more than enough to catch the audience’s attention.  Many times you will add a web address (URL) to your tweet is just an entry point to something larger you want to share: maybe a blog post you wrote, or maybe a web page article that you found interesting.

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So the tweet below is using Graded’s Innovate 2015 hashtag #innovategraded. That allows everyone who is following this hashtag to see the post. It also uses a mention @JoeyJLee to the presenter, to catch his attention. Notice also some truncation to fit in. An image was added using the “Add Photo” icon at the bottom of the “compose New Tweet” window. A URL could have been added as well.

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Step 4  Grow Your Learning Network

Follow Interesting people: As you read blogs, follow conference hashtags or twitter chats, hear about someone’s work, you start to identify people that are interesting to follow on twitter. To find people on Twitter you just need to search their name on Twitter’s search box and click on follow. Many people will follow you back, but you need to provide interesting posts or they will unfollow you. So keep an eye on what people post and don’t be afraid to unfollow if their contribution does not bring you growth..

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Use #hashtags and @mentions : As explained above, always try to reach as many people as possible with hashtags. You will start to become known on that hashtag if you post often enough. You will be able to see if other people @mention you under the “Notifications” option on your Twitter page.

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Interact and Retweet What You See When You See It:  Don’t worry about looking at Twitter all the time. Twitter’s constant flow is there just as a window for when you are ready to check. Whatever comes in front of you will certainly provide more than enough new resources and ideas.  At times you may want to look at a specific person’s twitter stream or at a specific hashtag stream. You can always use the “Search” option at the top of your Twitter page for @twitterhandles or #hashtags.

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If you are ready to be more organised, then use TweetDeck, which helps get different twitter streams in columns. Just Sign Up for an account using your already created Twitter Account. Then just Add the Columns you want. You can check How to Use TweetDeck for more information.

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One response to “How to Use Twitter

  1. Pingback: We Learn More When We Share: Conference Tips | Teaching & Learning·

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