Ten Tweets to Learn Twitter

TwitterTwitter, like all social media platforms, is what you make of it. It can be used for good, evil, or become the proverbial black hole for your time. Through its use, I’ve connected with educators outside of my school building that have become invaluable members of my professional learning network/community/team/whatever. I like to call them my virtual friends (and I get teased about that on a regular basis). I also use it to interact with my students and parents by sending out reminders, updates, etc. from another account dedicated to my classes.

In a recent professional development, participants were encouraged to use an honor-system badging spreadsheet to create a fun, interactive, gamified aspect to the PD. They completed “quests” to earn experience points (XPs) and “level up” as participants. I thought it was fun since I started toying with gamification in my classroom last year. One of the ways that participants could earn XPs was to tweet about their experiences throughout the week and use a hashtag for the particular event. However, there were a few teachers who were unfamiliar with Twitter and were not able to level up as much in the gamified part of the PD as compared to those who are Twitter pros.

So I wrote this post as a quick how-to guide for them. I assume that anyone working through these tweets has already created an account, so make sure you do that first!

Go ahead and Follow someone too…

  • Twitter will automatically suggest some people to you from your contacts
  • You can also search for someone by real name or user name at the top of the screen
  • If you’re stuck, type in @AWTeachesSci in the search field and follow me!

Secondly, look at the graphic below to understand the surprising amount of info contained in a Twitter post (called a tweet).

TweetAnatomy

Anatomy of a Tweet

Now you’re ready to dive into ten quick tweets!

Tweet 1: Tweet text

  • At the top of your computer screen, where it says “What’s Happening?”… let us know what’s happening and click the Tweet button
  • On a mobile device, click on the compose button, which looks like an old-school quill

Tweet 2: Tweet a link

  • Find something online you’d like to share (like an article or website)
  • Copy the URL
  • Compose a tweet (add some intro text if you’d like) and paste in the URL.
  • Click the Tweet button! (Twitter will usually shorten your link for you)

Tweet 3: Use a hashtag

  • Hashtag (noun): a set of alphanumeric characters after a pound sign (#) that allows users to classify their tweet and search all other tweets that have been so classified by their respective authors
  • Sometimes these are used in jest and have no real purpose
  • There are a ton of education-related hashtags
  • The most general to use would be #edchat (click to see the stream)

Tweet 4: Tweet a photo

  • On a computer, (as far as I know – correct me if you know a trick!) you must already have the image saved somewhere. Then you click the camera button at the right edge of the compose tweet window and select your image. Add some text and click the Tweet button!
  • This is easier on a mobile device because you can take a photo instantly for posting. You still start by tapping the compose icon, then the camera in the next screen.

Tweet 5: Mention someone

  • You know that person you followed? Draw their attention to a tweet by using the “at” symbol followed by their username. (i.e. Hey, @AWTeachesSci, I just followed you!)
  • NOTE: If you start a tweet with a mention, it does not show up in your public timeline.

Tweet 6: DM someone (can only be done if they also follow you)

  • DM = direct message, as in a private message between you and one other user
  • You do this by clicking on their profile and the gear icon for more options to find the “direct message” option

Tweet 7: Retweet 

  • See a tweet you like? Click that cute little square of arrows to share it with everyone that follows you.

Tweet 8: Quote a Tweet

  • See a tweet you like, but want to add your two cents? Click that cute little square of arrows to share it with everyone that follows you, but choose “Quote tweet” and add your own comment too.

Tweet 9: Favorite something 

  • Okay, technically this isn’t a tweet, but it has its merit.
  • Click on the star icon to Favorite a tweet
  • Under your profile, you can view all the tweets you’ve favorited, which is great for things you see in your feed and want to remember or save for later when you have more time

Tweet 10: Get fancy!

  • See how many skills you can combine into one tweet!
  • Quick review of the possible components: mentions, photos, links, and hashtags

If you composed something like my tweet below, you are on your way to being Tweet-tastic!

My example...

Happy Tweeting my fellow teachers!

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