If you’re already using Twitter, don’t skip over this post just yet. You might learn something new! If you’re not or you are using it but you don’t quite “get” it yet, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.
So, here’s our Twitter quick-start guide to get you going.
Twitter is an incredible tool for educators that will allow you to: Create or enhance your personal learning network (PLN) as a teacher and engage your students in ways that may not be possible with other, more traditional, teaching techniques. At last count, Twitter was being used by about 34.5 billion people (yes, bigger than the entire population of Earth and all the other planets in our solar system combined… but who’s counting?) and a big chunk of those users are still trying to figure out what they want to do with the thing. You don’t have to be one of them.
With Twitter, you follow the thoughts and comments from other Twitterers, and they, at their option, follow you. By following and being followed, you form a loose confederation of Twitter “friends” who come together to discuss a particular topic.The downside of Twitter is that, if you’re not very careful, you can become overwhelmed. Quickly.
Step 1. Get a Twitter account.
All Twitter names begin with @ followed by the name you select; that name can be anything already not in use. Some people use their own name, while others choose a moniker that fits their personality.
Step 2. Select no more than 10 people to follow.
As will become apparent to you later on as you begin to follow lots of people, you’ll see that most Twitter folks like to tweet (send Twitter messages) a lot. So, it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of all the messages that will start flying back and forth, especially while the Twitter culture is new to you and you may not yet have all the tools to cope with the coming onslaught.
Who should you follow? If you have a friend or colleague using Twitter, get their name and start following them.
In addition, you can start by follow us @SimpleK12. And, here are a few active teachers you might want to follow and learn from:
In addition, you may want to follow a couple of other, non-education, people just for fun. You can use the Search feature at Twitter to find lots of people to follow.
Step 3. Stop here, stop now, do not go any farther.
Take a break from doing anything extra on Twitter, for at least a week. We’ll call this your “Observation Week.” Just like everything else, online or off, every group has its own set of unofficial operating rules. Twitter is no different. So, simply hang out on Twitter for awhile and follow (but do not post any of your own messages, just yet) the people you signed up to follow. Learn the terminology and the general protocol. Observe. Watch. Pay attention.
And, especially do NOT start following anyone else, just yet.
Step 4. Carry on. Okay, you’ve taken a breather and you’ve learned how Twitter works, more or less.
Now it’s time to get involved. You’ve been following a few people, so it’s time to make your first posts. Go ahead, do that… and see if anyone responds. If they don’t, there’s no need to worry, as this is a slow and cumulative process. Over time, people will respond to you and, if you have something valuable to share, you’ll be surprised at how soon your fellow tweeters will start passing your comments around.
Step 5. Check out some add-on tools.
There are hundreds of add-ons made by third parties that work with Twitter. Every Twitter user will tell you their favorites, and mine is Tweetdeck at http://www.Tweetdeck.com. Tweetdeck lets you organize who you’re following into groups. By doing that, you’ll be much more organized when it comes to Step 6.
Step 6. Go crazy. Add loads and loads of people to follow.
Most people who tweet follow hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Do it. And, post lots of tweets (as long as you can keep them relevant and on-topic… most people will stop following you if you post nonsense).
Step 7. Return here in a few weeks and tell us how your doing.
We would love to hear what you would say if you were advising first-timers on their foray into the Twitterverse.
Twitter is a tremendous learning tool because it lets you find and connect with people who know something you don’t! But, you have to go slowly and give it a chance to work its way into your routine.On top of that, it’s loads of fun.