Monday, February 16, 2009

Advice for Teachers New To Twitter

Each day several new people start following me on Twitter. As I click through each profile, I make a decision whether or not to follow these people back. I generally follow all teachers back and will sometimes follow others depending upon what they do and the kinds of things they share on Twitter. As I was going through new followers on Saturday night, it occurred to me to Tweet some basic suggestions for teachers new to Twitter.  The first 3 are really essential to building your network of followers.
  1. Go to settings and fill out your Bio! This is essential to getting followers.
  2. Tweet a few things - share a link, an idea, a resource, a blog post, anything.
  3. Don't protect your updates. People often hesitate to follow back if they can't see your tweets.
  4. Use your real name and your real picture. You will eventually have to say "Hi I'm "xx" on Twitter."
  5. Look for people who will follow you back - that is what makes a conversation.
  6. Check out this spreadsheet of educators on Twitter add yourself: http://bit.ly/xfUn
  7. If you Tweet a question and no one answers, Tweet it again later. It is OK to ask more than once.
I also asked others to share their suggestions. Check them out below.
  • nycrican2: More advice for new teachers on Twitter, become familiar with the vocabulary on this site: http://twictionary.pbwiki.com/
  • JPerino: A friend who set me up on Twitter suggested using http://search.twitter.com/ to find others by topic...like EduCon 2.1
  • prodev: My best advice and I wish I'd discovered it sooner is http://TweetTree.com!
  • nycrican2:  How about the advice that new teachers on Twitter should click on their replies and direct messages links frequently.
  • adewitt2: Use it as a prof. development tool. Use it for getting info. from others.It's like the mgc 8 ball.
  • raventech:  I try to DM once it gets to be more personal/give & take. I @reply for general convo and definitely for thanks for RT's
  • ScottElias When u ask for advice & someone obliges, common courtesy dictates that u thank them. How that looks (@ or D) is up to u.
  • mwacker: join the twitter freaks group on diigo..there's some tremendous resources there
  • cfanch: My advice for connecting with students is NO to Twitter, Facebook, Myspace. Just my two cents on that.
  • ScottElias: Stick with it a while. There is a learning curve until you reach that "critical mass" where your feed starts to get interesting.
  • MagistraM: Ask questions, give answers, share challenges AND successes. Don't just lurk, but join in.
Do you have advice for teachers new to Twitter? Do you have questions? Please share them here.

Image Credit:  Alan Levine, SPLJ 2.0http://cogdogblog.com/2007/04/26/splj-20/

18 comments:

kathyfavazza said...

Add yourself to http://twitterforteachers.wetpaint.com/
and to Liz's Educators on Twitter spreadsheet: http://tinyurl.com/5tgla4
You will make more contatcts.

Lisa Thumann said...

Yet another wiki for folks to check out is http://twitter.pbwiki.com/

I also suggest that you set your DMs to come to your e-mail. I think that newbies to Twitter might not check the Direct Message tab frequently, or if they are to receive DMs, they are more likely to notice them if they come to their inbox at first.

Like you, Liz, when someone new follows me I look at their profile and what they've Tweeted recently. I'll DM them if they haven't completed their profile and they are an educator requesting that they do so when they get a chance.

Great post - thanks!!

loonyhiker said...

I always suggest that beginners stick with it regularly for at least 2 weeks. I think it takes that long to get comfortable with it and see the benefits.

Betty Online said...

I'd suggest that teachers try out a program like Tweetdeck. I like having Tweetdeck turned on in the background to give me alerts particularly as replies and direct messages arrive.

My other thought would be to reassure teachers that they don't necessarily need to keep up with Twitter all the time. Follow the conversations when you have time and ignore what you miss. It can be overwhelming if you take it on as one more thing to keep up with.

paul c said...

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Just getting up to speed. I even installed a Twitter widget on my sidebar.

GadgetGirl said...

I just posted an entry the other day on my blog about Twittering for the Security Conscious. Teachers who are new to Twitter may feel more comfortable having these tools in their back pocket.

hlvr said...

I think it is also important to have courage. Part of my learning curve with Twitter has been overcoming the fear of putting myself out there to people I don't know. It is probably an issue of not necessarily feeling worthy coupled with not being sure what exactly to say. But after I was able to break through the fear and start tweeting, I feel much more comfortable and competent to share and engage in conversations. Now I see the complete value of my PLN and wouldn't want to be without it!

Steve Wheeler said...

I posted up my top ten tips on using Twitter for teaching and learning last month and it seems to have been well received. Here's the link: http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2009/01/teaching-with-twitter.html - Hope you find it useful! :-) @timbuckteeth!

MagistraM said...

Liz, this was a fun conversation to follow on Twitter - and satisfying to see in final blog form. So many of my colleagues say that Twitter seems too time consuming to keep up with. I'd like to repeat what someone else mentioned - use it as a tool and a resource, but don't feel like it's an added burden or responsibility. It is a conversation that can be joined (and left) as you have time and interest.

Stacey said...

I have yet to incoporate twitter into my professional development, however it seems it is definitely a great way to connect with other teachers. I'm skeptical because I feel like it may become an invasion of privacy? Has anyone found that to be true? Or is it truly a great tool? Also, is there anyone to incorporate students when using twitter, or does it work better just between teachers?

Liz B Davis said...

Stacey,
In terms of privacy, I do think about what I put out on Twitter. I know that anyone and everyone can read what I write. I don't feel it as an invasion of privacy since I am aware of what I am putting out there. I think it really is an amazing tool and it is worth using it.

I do not, however, think it is a great tool to use with students. There are some other tools like www.edmodo.com that mimic Twitter, but are designed for use with kids. I haven't yet tried it out. Would love to hear about if you, or anyone else has.

Mike said...

Thanks Liz, you've convinced me to have another go, starting with adding you....though 2,005 followers is quite intimidating! I'm currently exploring Web 2.0 tools with teachers, and need convincing that Twitter should be on the list.

Alisha C said...

I am new to the blogging scene. Although, I set up one a few years ago, the purpose for my blog now is to further explore technology in education through my graduate studies. I found your blog site and read some of our posts and like the advice you give teachers new to Tweet. I had set mine up over the weekend and was nervous about including too much information in the profile. What you said about including some personal information to get followers or tweets makes sense. I'm also a new teacher and one who wants to integrate more technology into the classroom. Thank you for your suggestions.

Liz B Davis said...

Alisha,
Welcome to Twitter. What is your username so we can follow you back?

Rebeca said...

Its a great advice to use twitter in right way. Thanks for sharing this valuable topic.

Kirstel said...

I've never missed to check my twitter account after class, I was able to benefit a lot with twitter ever since I become a member six months ago though I limit the people I follow to fellow teachers, there I could gain and share new ideas about teaching.

Leo Havemann said...

Hi Liz, thanks for all this. I have put some useful links about getting started with Twitter in a blog post: http://ble-learning.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love.html

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