The Twitteraholic’s Ultimate Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter

Most educators who learn to use Twitter effectively say they learn more from their personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter than they’ve achieved from any other forms of professional development or personal learning.

Unfortunately educators often dismiss Twitter, or fail to see the value of Twitter, when they’re first introduced to Twitter.

Our aim of this post is to provide all the information you need to learn how to use Twitter effectively as an educator.

We regularly update this post with new information.  This post was last updated Oct, 2013.

Twitter 2013

Click on a link below to go to the section you want to read:

  1. About the Twitter-a-holic’s Ultimate Guide
  2. Introduction to Twitter
  3. Signing up for your account
  4. What to do before following other people
  5. Tips on choosing who to follow
  6. Tips for engaging in twitter conversations
  7. Introduction to Twitter terminology
  8. Protected vs Private Twitter accounts
  9. Getting more out of twitter using Twitter Clients
  10. Getting Started with TweetDeck
  11. Using the Twitter app on your mobile device
  12. Posting links when composing tweets
  13. Connecting with others using Hashtags
  14. Tips for using Hashtags
  15. Participating in Twitter Chats
  16. How to create and use Twitter lists
  17. How to Schedule tweets
  18. How to embed Tweets
  19. Adding your own Twitter Background
  20. Preventing your account from being hacked.
  21. What to do if your twitter account is hacked.
  22. Keeping up with links shared on Twitter
  23. Getting more out of Twitter with Twitter Tools
  24. Using Twitter with students

About the Twitter-a-holic’s Ultimate Guide

The original Twitter-a-holic’s Guide was published in July, 2010 when I’d just returned from attending a large conference overseas and realized that while a conference can make you feel really overwhelmed and alone — especially amongst the 13,000 ed tech professionals participants who attend it each year — I never felt alone.

Why?

Because for Twitterers conferences are like walking into a big party where you know everyone and are meeting up with old friends.

So I decided to share advice on using twitter to help others since I’ve been using Twitter since March 2007 and wrote the post with assistance from my twitter network and readers comments — thanks everyone who helped!

For those who have heard of twitter and have dismissed it thinking ‘”Twitter is for people with too much time on their hands” — think again :)

Educators are connecting with each other on Twitter and using it like a lunch room that’s open 24/7 whenever they need help, assistance or just want to connect with others.

The post you are currently reading is an updated version of the original post which I published in 2012.   We’ve now redirect all traffic from the original post to this post; and regularly update this post.  This post was last updated Oct, 2103.


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Introduction to Twitter

Twitter is an online social network and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read tweets on their computer and mobile devices,  in the form of text messages limited to 140 characters.

Common misconceptions are that twitter is: for celebrities, sports stars and journalists: like posting an update to Facebook; or like an email where you need to read everything.

Twitter is about connecting with others as part of a global community who will help you with your learning,  improving your lessons, helping your students connect with other students and content experts.

Watch this video to learn how Twitter is used by Educators.

http://youtu.be/jt_ZMKiFtrk


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Signing up for your account

  1. Go to Twitter and create your account.
  2. Remember first impressions count!  Choose your username and an avatar carefully
  3. Choose a username that makes it easier for others to relate to you as a real person and conveys the right impression of who you are. e.g. Compare spwat3 with suewaters — which is easier?
  4. But don’t stress too much — your username can be changed anytime without affecting your twitter account  (Settings > Account)
  5. When you initially sign up for Twitter it takes you through a series of steps where you can select people to follow.  DON’T follow anyone when you first create your account.
  6. You need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Skip this Step” until you get to your main Twitter page as it is important to set up your profile information and post a few tweets before you follow anyone.

Changing your username

Watch this video on how to sign up for your account.


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Before you start following other people

  1. Complete your bio and add your blog/website URL (if applicable) — people use this information to decide whether they follow you.  Focus on providing information that helps others work out if you have similar interests/background.   (Settings > Profile).
  2. Upload your twitter avatar — people are less likely follow those using the default avatar as it’s common for a spammer to use a default avatar (Settings > Profile)
  3. Don’t start following people on twitter until you’ve published some tweets! Most people won’t follow a person who hasn’t updated.

Complete your profile

Watch this video on how to upload your avatar. edit your twitter profile and change your Twitter background.

Watch this video to learn how to post your first tweet.


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Tips on who to follow

  1. Choose about 100 people to follow initially.  You can always add more as you go and this helps you not feel overwhelmed when starting out.
  2. Find people to follow who have similar interests or with blogs you like who either share great info and links or who willingly engage in conversations.
  3. Follow a few people you know and follow who they follow.  Look at who they chat with or check their Following list. 
  4. Find a twitter mentor who will help and guide you.  Get them to ask their followers to add you.
  5. You can always ask me to help by sending an @suewaters tweet. Make sure when people do start adding you that add them back quickly and thank them for adding you to their account!!!
  6. Don’t just follow anyone — follow those who have the same interests and who you like.
  7. Remember following does not have to be forever — you can regularly update/change who you follow to suit your needs.
  8. Think about how you want to use it — to follow latest news? to follow other educators? to share what you know? to connect with others?
  9. Check out the Edublog Awards Best Individual Tweeter 2012 list to find educators others recommend following!
  10. Participate or check out the different weekly hashtag conversations.  They are a great way to find new people to follow (refer to hashtag information below).
  11. Check out new followers before following.  Look at their bio, how many they are following, how many follow them and their latest tweets.  This information helps you work out if they are the type of people you like to follow.

Watch this video to learn how to follow people.


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Tips for engaging in the conversation

Twitter is very similar to a face to face conversation.  Think of Twitter as a conversation with work colleagues in the lunch room.   A mixture of small talk, relationship building, helping others, getting help and sharing is just as important on Twitter as it is in the lunch room.

  1. Be patient.  It takes time to build your Twitter network.
  2. Use it everyday for four weeks, even if only for 5 minutes per day.  Some people find that setting a goal of 15 minutes a day for the first few months helps.
  3. Remember twitter is a two way conversation — you need to answer as much as you ask but most importantly share, share, share.
  4. Participate and say something, anything.  Don’t always expect people to always answer.  It does depend on who many you follow and what you’re asking. 
  5. Get involved in the conversation. Don’t be afraid to reply and if you don’t get a response back, don’t be offended. It happens — you’ll soon see those that do/don’t engage in conversations
  6. Learn the twitter language and how to use it well i.e. @, DM, #, hashtags, RT
  7. Use a twitter client where possible and not the web interface.
  8. Avoid using up all 140 characters as it makes Retweeting harder
  9. Remember online is forever. If you didn’t want it online don’t say it in the first place.
  10. It’s extremely easy for others to misinterpret your written text. Remember this!
  11. Think about how what you say reflects on how people visualise you.
  12. Educators love following people who share great links since it saves them time. Steven W Anderson’s (@web2classroom) is a great example of this type of Twitterer. Read Steven W Anderson’s (@web2classroom) My Super, top secret tips and tricks for getting the most out of twitter to learn his secrets for finding helpful links for his followers.

Watch this video to learn how to reply, retweet and engage in Twitter conversations.


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Intro to Twitter language

Handle

  • Your Twitter username.

@ mention (also known as an @ reply)

  • an @mention is used when a person is having a conversation with another twitterer.
  • You’ll also use @ mention when referring to other twitter users.  This means the other users will be alerted of your conversation.
  • You’ll only see @ mentions if you follow both twitterers or you are looking at another person’s tweet timeline.
  • Your @mentions are located under your @ Connect in the new twitter interface

DM (also known as Direct Message)

  • Direct messages are private messages sent from one Twitterer to another.  They can’t be seen by other users.
  • You can only send a direct message to a person who follows you and they can only reply to your direct message if you also follow them.
  • It’s bad twitter etiquette to send a direct message to someone that follows you that you don’t follow back — they can feel uncomfortable asking you to follow them when you initiated the direct message.

NEVER click on a link in a direct message from any one unless you are absolutely sure the link is fine:

  • There are a lot of Twitter worms that work by hacking users account by stealing their account credentials when the user clicks on the link.
  • This triggers your account to mass tweet the same direct message to your followers accounts.
  • My rule is regardless what they are saying I won’t click on a link in a direct message since they are very good at making the message sound like you really need to check the link.
  • The best approach is to tweet them using an @ mention to ask them to confirm it is a safe link that they have sent via DM.

# (Hashtags)

  • Any word starting with the “#” hash (pound) symbol is known as a hash tag.
  • Hash tags make it easier to search and follow the twitter conversations on specific topics.  Hash tags are covered in more detail below.


RT (also known as a Retweet)

  • Any tweet starting with “RT” means someone is re-tweeting some one else’s tweet.
  • Used to quickly share tweets by someone else that might contain links, news or anything you think your twitter followers will find interesting.
  • Retweeting is an important way twitterers share information across the Internet.
  • You won’t always see “RT” at the start of a retweet as it does depend on what twitter client you are using.  Some clients enclose the Tweet in quotes while other clients may add via and the original twitterer’s username at the end of the tweet.
  • If you are a blogger than it’s important to add a Retweet option to your blog posts as Twitter is an essential way people now learn about posts worth reading.  We use the AddThis Social bookmark plugin on our posts.

MT (also known as a modified tweet)

  • Any tweet starting with “MT” means someone is re-tweeting some one else’s tweet but have modified the tweet.   A re-tweet might be modified to make the tweet fit into the 140 characters or to add your extra thoughts to the conversation.
  • Used to quickly share tweets by someone else that might contain links, news or anything you think your twitter followers will find interesting while making your followers aware that you have modified the tweet.
  • Retweeting and modified retweets are an important way twitterers share information across the Internet.

Modified Tweet

Favorite

  • Favorites are represented by a small star icon next to the tweet and are normally used when a twitterer wants to save (refer) to a tweet later.


Search (Discover)

  • Learning how to search twitter well is a key skill for getting the most out of Twitter.
  • You can search for any person, keyword, hashtag etc using the search box at the top of the new twitter interface or use the new # Discover section.
  • The #  Discover section is all about discovering new content.  Here you’ll find curated tweets from people who you don’t follow and can search for content.  When geolocation is activated (Settings > Account) you’ll also see curated tweets from what going on near you in real time.
  • Try it out for yourself!  Next time there’s an important news story locally or globally go to the # Discover section add the name of the location or event and check out the latest tweets as it is being reported.

Interactions and Mentions

  • The Interactions tab offers a simple way to see how others on Twitter are interacting with you. 
  • Just click on Interactions on the Connect page (@ Connect) and you see all tweets directed to you (@replies and mentions), new followers. your Tweets that have been favorited by other users and any twitter lists you’ve been added to.
  • Click on the Mentions tab on the Connect page if you only want to see your @replies and mentions.

Interactions tab


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Public vs Protected Accounts

By default, when you sign up for Twitter your account is public and any one can see your tweets.

Some twitter users prefer to use Protected twitter accounts where their updates are kept private — where only approved followers can see their tweet updates. You change your privacy options in Settings > Account.

If you choose to use a Protected Twitter account then you need to understand there are people who won’t follow some one who uses a protected twitter account.

For those who won’t follow protected twitter accounts it is important to understand there are numerous reasons why an educator use protected account and it might not be related to concerns of posting an inappropriate tweet.

It is also important to be aware that if you tweet to several people in the same tweet, and one person has a protected account, the other people won’t see your tweet if they aren’t being followed by the protected Twitter user’s account.


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Getting more out of Twitter Using Twitter Clients

A twitter client is a MUST as they provide instant notification of the latest updates and easy response to the tweets.

Which Twitter client you use is personal.

The most commonly used Twitter clients are:  

TweetDeck and Hootsuite are popular desktop Twitter client because of their ability to add extra columns makes it easy to filter and keep up with conversations using the columns.


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Getting Started with TweetDeck

TweetDeck is one of the most popular desktopTwitter client because it’s ability to add extra columns makes it easy to filter and keep up with conversations using the columns.

The other benefits of TweetDeck is it allows you to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, using your TweetDeck account, and synchronize your configuration when you use TweetDeck on different computers and mobile devices.  No need to reset up your columns of @, searches, inbox, hashtags, lists and so on again!

TweetDeck

To get started with TweetDeck you just need to:

1. Download and install the desktop version of TweetDeck.

2. Launch TweetDeck and sign up for a TweetDeck account.

  • You can’t sign in with your Twitter account, and need a TweetDeck account, because it allows you to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • For example, I manage my own Twitter account and the Edublogs Twitter account using TweetDeck.

3.  Here’s a quick summary of the main features of TweetDeck.

Summary of TweetDeck menu:
TweetDeck menu items

4.  Just click Compose a tweet icon to write your tweet.

5  Here’s a quick overview of what each icon on a tweet does.

6.  You can move a column, customize, change alerts and delete columns by click on the down down arrow on a column.

TweetDeck Column Settings

Watch this video to learn how to use TweetDeck.


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Getting started with the Twitter app

There are a wide range of Twitter apps you can use on your mobile devices however the most commonly used is Twitter’s own Twitter app ( iOS | Android ).

Refer to the following video tutorials to learn how to use the Twitter app.   I was unable to find any good video tutorials for Androids and I recommend you watch the video tutorials for iOS devices as the Android Twitter app version is very similar to the iOS version.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Twitter app on your iPhone.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Twitter app on your iPad.


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How to Post Links

It’s common to see links posted on Twitter appear as shortened links because it makes it easier to include a URL within the 140 character Twitter limit.

Previously if you wanted shortened a link when writing a tweet on the Twitter.com web interface you had to use a URL shortening services, such as tinyurl.com and bit.ly, and then paste the shortened link into the tweet box on Twitter.com.

Twitter has now introduced automatic link shortening which means you no longer need to use a third party service to shorten your links.  All links posted into the tweet box on Twitter.com, TweetDeck and their mobile Twitter apps are automatically shortened.

Please note some twitter clients automatically shorten links for you using services such as bit.ly. For example. if you are using the older version of TweetDeck your links are shortened using bit.ly.

While you can continue to use another URL shortening service the benefits of using Twitter’s automatic link shortening include:

  1. It’s quicker.
  2. Unlike other URL shorteners, Twitter’s shortener, t.co, creates a link that is a shortened version of the original link and includes the full domain name so your followers will know the site they are going to when they click the link.
  3. Shortened links in Direct Messages are a common method used to hacked Twitter accounts . URLs converted by Twitter’s link service are checked against potentially dangerous sites — this is designed to help protect users from malicious, phishing and offensive links.


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Connecting using Hashtags

A hashtag is any word on twitter that starts with the “#” hash (pound) sign.

Hash tags make it easier to search and follow the twitter conversations on specific topics.

How it works is everyone agrees to use a standard hash tag in their tweets when they tweet about a specific topic.  Then you set up a search for that hashtag using your twitter client, or use twitter search tools such as Twitter Search and Twitterfall to track the conversation.

Hashtags are also commonly used at conferences to share thoughts on presentations, organize  meet ups and coordinate after parties.  For example, the hashtag used at ISTE 2013 conference was #iste13

Here are some of the commonly used educational hashtags:

  1. #arted – art education
  2. #Comments4Kids- used by educators to tweet student posts that deserves to be commented on such as a post that is awesome or student that needs encouragement (learn more about Comment4 kids here)
  3. #earlyed – Early education
  4. #edchat - used for discussions between educators on thought provoking topics.  You can read more about #edchat here
  5. #ELTchat-used for discussions between EFT educators on thought provoking topics.
  6. #lrnchat - -used for discussions between educators interested the topic of learning (learn more about #lnrchat here)
  7. #edcamp- Edcamp are educator unconferences and #edcamp (or variations of #edcamp with the conference) is the hashtag used for them  Here’s where you can learn more about Edcamp.
  8. #ukedchat - ukedchat is a more UK-educator friendly version of the very popular twitter discussion #edchat.
  9. #cpchat -where Principals can go to connect on Twitter and have an ongoing conversation with other Principals (learn more here).
  10. #d5chat – daily 5 hash tag
  11. #ebshare - Edublogs Twitter hashtag for sharing good links and for educators to tweet links at Edublogs so we can share them with our community
  12. #edchatie – Irish freiendly version of #edchat (learn more here).
  13. #edtech - general hash tag used for posting about technology related resources for the classroom and education.
  14. #educationation – created by NBC last summer ti highlight their series on reports on Education in the USA.
  15. #educoach – for instructional coaches/leaders.
  16. #eduit - Blends the educational side of technology with the technical side.
  17. #elemchat -To provide elementary (or primary) school educators a venue for discussing issues and strategies that are specific to teaching in the elementary school context (learn more here).
  18. #ellchat - repository of ideas for teaching English language learners (learn more here).
  19. #eltpics – used by EFL educators to tweet images that they upload, tag and make available on Flickr to share their diversity
  20. #engchat –  English freiendly version of #edchat (learn more here).
  21. #followfriday or #ff - used by Twitterers on Friday to recommend people worth following.
  22. #kinderchat – for those working with small children (learn more here)
  23. #lmchat – For those interested in the topic of learning from one another and who want to discuss how to help other people learn in formal, informal, social and mobile ways (learn more here).
  24. #mlearning – for conversations on mobile learning.
  25. #musedchat – for music education (see more here).
  26. #pegeeks – for health and physical education.
  27. #pencilchat – amusing and thought provoking parody about ICT use in schools.
  28. #playoutdoors
  29. #scichat – for science educators (see more here).
  30. #slpeeps – for speech language pathologists and students (learn more about #slpeeps here).
  31. #spedchat – for special education (see more here).
  32. #tlchat – for school librarian community (see more here).
  33. #teachertuesday - used on Tuesdays to recommend educators worth following
  34. #ukfechat - for UK educators interested in further education discussions (see more here).
  35. #yourmatter - Created by @AngelaMaiers to talk about how we are all wonderful in our own ways.

For more hashtags used in education refer to:


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Tips for using Hashtags

  • Do not place hashtags in front of keywords in your tweet for no real reason
  • Hastags are for referencing events, news, software, or memes, not for random words
  • Commonly used hashtags such as #edchat are great for finding new people and conversations you would never have discovered otherwise
  • Excessive overuse of hashtags can make you look like a twitter spammer
  • Most twitters don’t mind hashtags when used for specific things such as conferences, events, groups but can get annoyed with excessive use of silly hashtags like #thingsthatannoyme
  • Always check the hashtag you’re planning to use by searching Twitter Search to make sure it isn’t already being used for another purpose
  • Set up a search for hash tags using your twitter client to make it easier to engage in the conversations

Learning how to use hashtags well, and who you follow, are key skills for getting the most out of Twitter.

Monitoring hashtags using TweetDeck columns is as easy as:

 1.  Add your hashtag term to the search box in TweetDeck and press Enter.

2.  When the search window loads click on Add Column.

3.  Your search column will load in TweetDeck and all tweets using that hashtag will be updated as they’re tweeted.


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Participating in Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are where educators meet at a set ‘meeting time’ to engage in conversations by sending out tweets on a topic using a designated hashtag during a specific time on a certain day.

During the twitter chat you’ll see educators tweet their responses in real time.  The best way to participate in a Twitter chat is to set up twitter search for the hashtag in TweetDeck or in your Twitter app on your mobile device.

Popular Twitter Chats are:

  • #edchat – normally takes place on Tuesdays around 12 PM EST (USA) and 7 PM EST (USA).  Learn more here.
  • #edchatie - Irish friendly version of #edchat (learn more here).  Takes place every Monday night 8.30-9.30 PM (GMT).
  • #engchat -  English freiendly version of #edchat (learn more here).  Takes place every Monday at 7-8 PM EST (GMT).
  • #kinderchat - for those working with small children (learn more here).  Takes place on Mondays 9.00 PM EST (USA) and 8:30 PM EST (USA).
  • #lmchat - For those interested in the topic of learning from one another and who want to discuss how to help other people learn in formal, informal, social and mobile ways (learn more here).  Takes place Thursdays at 8:30-9:30 PM EST (USA)
  • #spedchat - for special education (see more here).  Takes place on Tuesdays from 9:00-10:00 PM EST (USA).
  • #ukfechat - for UK educators interested in further education discussions (see more here). Takes place on Thursdays 9:00-10:00 PM (GMT).

Watch this video on How to participate in a Twitter Chat.

This is a ‘must watch’ video for any one who wants to host a Twitter chat because Vicki Davis shows examples of schedule tweets she has set up in HootSuite to help participants (you’ll see these examples at 2:25 minutes into the video).  HootSuite works very similar to TweetDeck.

Learn how to schedule Tweets for a Twitter chat here.


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How to create and use Twitter Lists

A great aspect of twitter is you can organise other twitter users into groups called ‘lists’.  When you view a list, you’ll see a twitter stream of all the users that are included in that group.

The benefits of twitter lists include:

# 1 They help you organise who you’re following

Lists let you organize your followers into different groups of people and/or areas of interest.  Instead trying listen to what all your twitter followers are saying; you can focus on the key conversations by the main people whose tweets you want to read.

This reduces the noise created when you’re following lots of users; saving you time, makes your life easier and lets you quickly connect with those you most want to interact with.

Twitter clients and the Twitter.com web interface are designed to let you quickly check your twitter lists.

#2 They help other twitter users

Twitter lists can be public or private.  A public twitter list can be viewed by anyone and other twitter users can quickly follow your list or choose people from your list to follow.

A private list and who is on that list can only be viewed by you.

Public list also highlights who other twitter users recommend as worth following.  If you look at a user’s profile in TweetDeck it displays the number of lists a user has been added to.

Twitter lists are handy if you’re running a workshop on using Twitter, or want to encourage your students to follow specific twitter users.  It’s as simple as creating the list and then getting them to either follow the list or the users on the list.

Tips:

  • You don’t need to be following some one to add them to a list.
  • Subscribing to someone’s list doesn’t mean you now following all users on that list.  You’ll just see the tweets from users when you view that list.  You need to click follow next a user if you want to follow them to have their tweets appear in your twitter timeline.
  • TweetDeck and Twitter mobile apps only allow you to view your twitter lists.  You need to use the web interface at Twitter.com, or a Twitter client that support this feature, to create and add/remove users from your lists.

Creating a list is as simple as:

1.  Go to your Lists page on Twitter.com.

2.  Click on Create a list.

3.  Add the name of your list, a short description (optional) and choose if it is public or private.

4. Click Save List.

5.  Add / remove users to / from your list using the user’s icon drop-down on their profile .

You find users to add by:

  • searching for them
  • using their profile page
  • looking through your follower / following list or other twitter users follower / following list


Subscribing to someone else’s twitter list is as simple as:

1.  Click on the person’s List tab on their profile page.

2.  Select the list you would like to subscribe to.

3.  On the list page click Subscribe to follow the list.

4.  Alternatively you follow people on the list by clicking on List members and then Follow for those you want to add to your twitter account.

Watch this video to learn how to create a Twitter list.


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Scheduling Tweets

There are a range of tools that can be used to schedule your tweets to be posted at specific times and date.

This is handy for:

  • Promoting events or sharing details on conference sessions – especially when you might be busy at the event.
  • Sharing information with twitter followers in different time zones.
  • Sharing links and information while you’re away.
  • Situations where you might forget or can’t post but want to make sure the information shared.

Examples of tools you can use to schedule tweets include:

A simple option is to use TweetDeck.

Scheduling tweets using TweetDeck is as easy as:

1.  Click on the Compose Tweet icon

2.  Type your desired message and then click on the time setting icon.

3.  Select the date and time you want the message to be tweeted.

4.  Click Tweet.

5.  A new column will appear with your scheduled Tweets.

6.  You use this column to edit or delete a schedule tweet at any time.

Watch this video to see how you schedule a Tweeting using Tweetdeck for a Twitter Chat.


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Embedding tweets

A cool aspect of Tweets is you can easily embed them into your blog posts.

To easily embed a tweet in an Edublogs blog, or WordPress powered blog you just need to:

1.  Locate the tweet you want to embed and click on the timestamp.

3.  You’ll be taken to the tweet’s individual page.  Copy the URL in your web browser’s address bar.

2.  Go to Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New or open an existing post or page in editing mode.

3.  Paste the URL on a line by itself in  your post/page editor.

Below is what an embedded tweet looks like embedded:


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Adding your own Twitter background

Customzing your twitter background can make you really stand out from the crowd.

You change or upload your own twitter background via Settings > Design.

There’s a few options for creating your own twitter background such as:

  1. Use software like PhotoShop to design it yourself.  Here’s some helpful “Design to and best practice tips”
  2. Use one of the many free online twitter background generators.

Here’s where you’ll find free twitter backgrounds:


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Preventing your twitter account from being hacked and what to do if it is hacked

There are Twitter worms that work by hacking users account by stealing their account credentials when the user clicks on the link.  Unexpected tweets or sudden unintended DMs being sent from your account are indicators your account might have been compromised.

The best way to prevent your account being compromised are:

  • NEVER click on a link in a direct message from any one unless you are absolutely sure the link is fine.  Most Twitter worms work by clicking on the link and it can cause your account to mass tweet the same direct message to your followers accounts.
  • My rule is regardless what they are saying I won’t click on a link in a direct message since they are very good at making the message sound like you really need to check the link.
  • The best approach is to tweet them using an @ mention to ask them to confirm it is a safe link that they have sent via DM.

Here’s what you need to do if your account has been compromised.


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Keeping up with links shared on Twitter

A twitter network is a rich source of great links to read and it’s handy to grab these links using twitter tools so you can check them out at your leisure.

Here’s some options:

      1. Flipboard – collects the content of social networks and websites and then presents them in a magazine format on a mobile device.  Learn more about using Flipboard here.
      2. Zite – similar to Flipboard and collects the content of social networks and websites and then presents them in a magazine format on an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
      3. Shiftlinks – creates an RSS feed of your links posted by your twitter followers which you can subscribe to using an feed reader such as Google Reader. This works works well when following a small number of people.
      4. Tweeted Times - creates a daily newspaper based on the top links shared by your twitter follower and can be read on your iPad. This works works well when following a large number of people.  Here’s my personalised Tweeted Times.  You can also subscribe by RSS.
      5. Paper.li -  creates a daily newspaper based on the top links shared by your twitter follower. Here’s my personalised Paper.li.

Both Tweeted Times and Paper-li can be set up to send an automatic tweet of your daily newspaper and identify the source of your top stories of the day based on RTs, Favorites etc.

Flipboards is very popular for any one using an mobile device because it allows you to easily read, share, bookmark and retweet links from within the Flipboard app.  Learn more about using Flipboard here.

Watch my video on how I use Flipboard to keep up with links shared on Twitter.


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Cool Twitter tools

There are so many tools for getting even more out of using twitter.  Check out the Definitive list of Twitter tools to see all the different options.


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Using Twitter with students

Educators aren’t just using Twitter for their personal learning; they are also using it in innovative ways in their classrooms.  We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of class and school twitter accounts.  You’ll find a comprehensive list of Twitter class accounts here.

Here’s where you can find out more about using Twitter in your Classroom:

Here is an example of a teacher using Twitter with English language learners.

What Do You Think?

Have we missed any important tips or resources?

Let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to add it to the post!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

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83 Responses

  1. Judy Arzt says:

    Did I miss it, but did you cover URL shorteners, which is important to know about for the 140 characters. Beginners sometimes don’t understand that step. Also, do you recommend using sites such as Buffer to schedule when tweets post?

  2. Sue Waters says:

    Thanks Judy! Both nice catches and hadn’t thought of either of them.

    TweetDeck and the apps I use automatically shortened my links. I’m thinking I probably need to explain why the URL is shortened since that can be confusing and I’m interested to know what URL shorteners you use.

    Similar with scheduling. You just assume :( TweetDeck has a good schedule option but I’l check out other options to see what is recommended.

    Thanks again!

    • James says:

      Hi. My tweets on Twitter sometimes don’t go through, and I wonder if I am tweeting the wrong way. I usually put it like this @symbol but it hasn’t worked that way for awhile now. I’ve tried using it other ways, and I have unchecked the protect tweets thingy. I am clueless right now.

  3. Judy Arzt says:

    I’ve used a variety of URL shorteners, but have been using http://bitlycom pretty consistently recently, as it keeps a library of the original sites and the shortened URLs. Other URL shorteners will do the same. I am not sure if it matters what shortener one uses, so long as one knows about shortening links. I try to introduce Twitter newbies to the concept of shorteners right away to help them with pasting links into their tweets. That seems basic to us, but it is not to a newbie.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Judy, I haven’t forgotten this. The trouble is I’m still stuck on what to say about URL shorteners.

      The new twitter interface now automatically shortens the links, as does their iPhone client and TweetDeck. Do you think it is still as important for them to know how to shorten links or is it more important for them to know what a shortened link looks like and why it is used?

      Any one else have thoughts on this?

  4. Sandra says:

    Fantastic post Sue. Thank you for explaining everything.

  5. Hi Sue,

    Thanks so much for creating this amazing resource for us. It’s helpful to have all of this in one post, and easy to share with others.

    Once again, thank you for teaching me something new. I didn’t realize that I could embed my tweets now.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

  6. Hi Sue, Thanks for this amazing post sharing all things twitter. After four years of use, I thought I knew a lot about twitter, but you have filled in aspects that I didn’t know about. What a great guide for newbies and also advanced users? Have you considered putting this into ebook format?

  7. TS Bray says:

    Sue, thanks for this post. It is a comprehensive and clear guide, which will help me explain to even more teachers and administrators why they need to be using Twitter. Cheers and thanks,
    Tim

  8. As I am having problems with adding people to lists, I have returned to re-read your blog post searching for clues as to how I can rectify this. However, I dont think you mentioned lists and I really like this feature. I have a list for people who I have met through #ksyb, a list for accounting, gamification etc, one for travel as I love travelling and like to see tweets from those who are etc. Do you use that feature? It helps me organise and classify those I follow so that I can quickly find the latest tweets by them.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Anne, I haven’t looked into ebook formats much and definitely worth considering. Have you done any with your students and do you have any info I could follow?

      I normally use TweetDeck to create lists and had been trying to work out if to add to the post. What do you think? Show how to create a list with the new Twitter interface or with TweetDeck or with both?

  9. Sue Waters says:

    Just a quick comment to let you all know that I’ve now updated the post to include information on shortening URLs, how to create and use twitter lists and how to schedule tweets.

    Hope it has helped and please let me know if I’ve missed anything or there are other topics I should add.

    Thanks for all your suggestions!

  10. Laurence says:

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    you actually know what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally visit my website =). We may have a link exchange agreement among us
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  11. Valentina says:

    Hello Joe,Any date for the new book the last strand ? I’m very imaptient to read it I read the ceasar messiah and I consider it one of the most important discoveries in the last century.Thanks,Zaidan

  12. chris says:

    HI. My Hashtags do not show up in search when a website link is in same tweet. When I remove the link, #’s show up. I have used many url mods like bit.ly – no change. When I copy/pasate a followers tweet with link/# it still fails to show in search for my tweet. And, my settings are “Public.”

    Any insight would be much appreciated.
    Thank You.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Chris, I can totally understand your frustrations. We’ve had several emails into Edublogs support reporting the same issue. For some reason Search Twitter isn’t indexing hashtags properly for some users (or maybe for some hashtags). We did send tweets at Twitter support and received no response. I’m sure they are probably aware of the issue. You could try submitting a support request by their contact form to get them to explain why there is an issue.

  13. Chris says:

    Thank you for your response Sue.
    I just sent a support request to Twitter so hopefully they will respond.

  14. Shauna Hamman says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I am going to teach a PD class about Twitter at my district and I plan to share this post with the teachers. I had been wondering how I could get them started with some suggestions of people to follow, when I read the section of your post about creating and subscribing to lists. I had completely forgotten about that feature! Thanks again.

  15. Eric says:

    Thanks for sharing these pithy, focused tips.

  16. ywein says:

    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for the very useful guide. We are building a twitter tool and I have some questions on the best way to send requests over twitter. Would you mind if I contact you to ask some questions?
    Thanks

  17. Nicola Avery says:

    Nice one Sue, I shared this post on Diigo to a group at work and got some great feedback – someone had just contacted one of our team about twitter so we directed them here,
    Thanks
    Nicola

  18. tammy says:

    hi, i was wondering a few things. i have seen someone’s twitter page & it did have tweets on it originally, but now it doesn’t, does that mean rather he has deleted them or has he blocked me. second question. i tweet people pretty often, and they don’t usually retweet or tweet me back and that is perfectly find. the thing i’m confused about is, how do i know that they have received my tweets at all. and if they don’t receive them then what does that mean. thank you.
    tammy

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Tammy, if you go to the person’s page logged out from your Twitter account you will be able to see if he is using a locked Twitter account i.e. only people who he follows can see the tweets, if he has deleted you or has blocked you. Are you tweeting people using the @ and their twitter name? For example, if you sent a tweet at me then it would be @suewaters

      It really depends on the person. If you look at their timeline it indicates how active they are on twitter and how likely they are to reply to people. If someone hasn’t tweeted for months than it is unlikely they are checking your tweet and would reply. Similarly, if someone generally doesn’t like to reply to people it is unlikely they will reply back; or if they only reply to a few people they are less likely to reply. It also depends on what you are asking someone.

      Retweeting is all about how many people are following you and how valuable they find the information you share. I have a large following so I am more likely to have my tweets retweeted than someone that has 200 followers or less.

      Hope this information helped.

      Sue

  19. tammy says:

    hi again, i do have another question that i think was a little confusing the last time i asked. is there anyway of knowing if the person that i tweeted received my tweet or not. like say if i twitted you, but you didn’t tweet me back, how would i know that you even received my tweet in the first place. i have been tweeting even my friends and twitter support, and i have no idea if they have received my tweets or not.

    thank you again.

    tammy

  20. Gary Nilsen says:

    HI,

    When I send a message on Twitter, our organization’s profile photo is sent with the message, not the photo I uploaded with the message. This just started happening last week. I need the photo that is attached to be sent. I hope you can help. Thanks.

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