What is Twitter?

Twitter is like a notification/response system that allows you to contact near instantaneously with other people using just 140 characters. When you follow a person you will receive their messages (called tweets) and when they follow you back they receive yours. People who you both follow will receive messages you send each other.

Watching from the outside, Twitter like the the dumbest thing you’ve heard of “Why would anyone want to tell others what they are doing in 140 characters.” And yet to dismiss Twitter is a mistake because it’s an incredibly powerful tool for your personal learning and connecting with others.

Here's information on getting going with twitter.

Go to Twitter.com and click “Get Started NOW
Twitter for Teachers

Read these two posts to learn more about using twitter:
  1. Are You Twittering? Here’s How I Use Twitter explains how to set up twitter
  2. Using Your Twitter Network For Help & Providing Their Recommendations
    external image bio.jpg
    external image bio.jpg

Most important aspects of setting up your account are:
  1. Use a twitter username that makes it easier for others to relate to you as a real person. e.g. Compare spwat3 with suewaters — which is easier?
  2. Your username can be changed anytime without affecting your twitter account by changing your name in the username field in your account settings.
  3. Make sure you complete your one line bio and add your blog URL (if applicable) in account settings because people use this information to decide whether they will add you to their account.
  4. Make sure you upload your twitter avatar asap — important to fit in and not look like a new
    external image avatar.jpg
    external image avatar.jpg
    user. Upload it by clicking on picture tab in account settings.
  5. Don’t start inviting people to follow you on twitter until you’ve updated i.e. start writing some tweets first!!! Why would anyone follow you if you haven’t even bothered to update?
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    external image updated.jpg
  6. Easiest way to find and add people to your twitter account is to ask an experienced twitter user to ask their twitter network to add you (you can always ask me here for help). Make sure when they do start adding them you add them back plus thank them for adding you to their account!!!
  7. Make a commitment to try twitter for a least a month because it always takes time to appreciate the values of new tools. Make the time to have conversations with people it makes a difference to value you achieve from using it.
  8. Make sure you start initially by following at least 40-100 people because if you follow too few people you won't necessarily appreciate its potential.
  9. Similarly don't initially start by following too many people i.e. more than 200 because it can become overwhelming. Also if you are following a large number of people and only being followed by a few then other people are less likely to add you to their account.
  10. If you follow me, and only follow a few people, don’t have your twitter account set on all @ replies!!! You’ll get every tweet I send and then blame me for excessive tweeting :).
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external image replies.jpg

A bit About Using Twitter

While twitter is fun and great for conversations — keep in mind:
  1. Online is forever. If you didn’t want it online don’t say it in the first place.
  2. It’s extremely easy for others to misinterpret your written text. Remember this!
  3. Think about how what you say reflects on how people visualise you.
  4. @ replies go to the person you are tweeting to and anyone that is following both you and the person you are doing the @ reply. Except if your followers have their account set to all @ replies (which means they receive all your tweets).
Remember to:

  1. Use @ replies when you are tweeting to a specific person — e.g if you were asking me a question you would start your tweet with @suewaters.
  2. Limit your use of DM (Direct Messages) to really important private messages. These messages often take longer to access depending on what twitter client people are using and take more time to respond to.

Using A Twitter Client

The power of twitter is in the instant notification/response to tweets of people you follow. A twitter client is a MUST; using the web interface isn’t the way to go. They provide instant notification of the latest updates and easy response to the tweets.
Which Twitter client you use is personal — experienced twitter users are known to fight in support of theirs. Popular ones include:
  1. Twhirl
  2. Twitterfic - popular with Mac and iPhone users
  3. Snitter
  4. Twinkle - popular with iphone users which you download through your Apps Store

Twitter Tools

There is an abundance of twitter tools that you can spend hours checking out. Here are just some that I’ve enjoyed using:
  1. Twitter Karma - an easy way of checking who is following you and who you follow
  2. Twittervision - displays tweets from twitter’s public timeline on the World map in real time
  3. TweetStats - use this to analyse the statistics on a twitter user
  4. Twitscoop - works similar to Google Trends but analyses the words used in the twitter public timeline to identify the hot topics on twitter right now
  5. My Tweet Map - displays the location of your follower’s tweets on a World map — interesting for seeing where they are based.