First Steps with Tweeting

As part of my own professional development, I have been writing waffles for other websites, although so far no-one has agreed to publish anything. I always refer to them as blog posts (waffles sounds a bit unprofessional) but they are basically the same format as my waffling posts here. All the sites require an original waffle (post) with some allowing you to publish it on your own site at a later date. This originally was a waffle I wrote covering what to do next after setting up your Twitter account. Unfortunately, after submitting this post nearly two months ago, it has been rejected (I assume) so I thought I would post it here.

So, you have read the articles about the benefits of using Twitter to support learning and teaching and have watched and acted on the numerous videos showing you how to set up your Twitter account and the difference between retweets and hashtags. But now you are there thinking, what happens next? Well let me guide you through activities which will help you to engage further with your Twitter timeline.

Taking your first steps into tweeting... (Original Image from pixabay.com)

Taking your first steps into tweeting…
(Original Image from pixabay.com)

The Twitter-sphere is a dynamic and ever changing channel of information and interaction. There are several ways you can interact with this and it is important to ensure that which ever degree of interaction you decide to adopt you do so consistently. Like anything, it is much better to start simply and then to become more involved as you become familiar with the strategies you can employ. What I am presenting here are three of the activities which I employ to promote my own interaction with my timeline. Remember it takes about thirty days for a habit to be embedded within your practice so start with one of these and be consistent and establishing it fully before moving onto the next.

  • Keeping up to date – I referred earlier to the dynamic nature of Twitter. Because of this, you need to establish a time and place where you will engage with the tweets on your timeline. Take the time to browse what has happened on your timeline. Some twitter applications automatically refresh and show you only the current tweets meaning you will have to scroll back to find the past activities. Other applications, such as Tweetbot will actually show you the number of tweets which have happened since you last logged on so you can then browse through these reading and possibly interacting with each each tweet. Also check which of your tweets have been retweeted or replied to. This will provide you with content and tweets which your followers have been interested in. You can always thank them or retweet replies to your own timeline for your followers to see if you consider them beneficial.

  • Interact with the tweets – As you browse through your tweets, take the time to consider how you will interact with these. Favouriting is one way of identifying the ones which you want to look at in more detail. Remember that Twitter thrives on interaction and you are part of this interaction. If you find something which you consider that your followers would be interested in then click that retweet button or, even better, click the edit retweet and add a ‘brief’ comment. I will often use this method to add a suitable hashtag or to identify the tweet to a particular person or group of people by adding a ‘reply’ or a hashtag, for example “this relates to our last mathematics session #1QTSM1”. Replying to a tweet promotes what I consider the ‘human nature’ of twitter. There is a person behind most tweets (apart from the dreaded ‘bots’) and starting by just replying and stating you have found something useful can support the development your personal learning network as well as providing that all important personal engagement. If someone does this for you then you really appreciate it so remember this when reading those tweets..

  • Developing your Personal Learning Network– As you are browsing through the tweets and retweets it is worthwhile to look at the people who your followers are retweeting. It is quite possible that they have similar interests to you and clicking on their profile, and then deciding whether or not to follow them, can support the development of your own personal learning network. I know when someone new follows me, I immediately go to their profile and see if their interests are similar in order to reciprocate the follow. This does allow you to identify the ‘bots’ which are following you. One important side line here is that you need to ensure that your own profile is up to date and represents you and your tweets. This is an essential task when you initially create your profile, as well as a suitable image – here you can see why it becomes important.

  • Consider the above points as your three initial targets to work towards for your next step with your Twitter use. You might want to take each one individually but remember to persevere with each one and ensure that it is completely embedded within your practice before moving on. Engagement, encouragement and communication are key priorities with any social network and by doing these you will begin to not only become more part of the Twitter-sphere, but also be an important part of the sharing and contributor of information in your chosen discipline.

    So, how do you manage all this within a day? and what should I be tweeting? Well look at for “A Day in my Life with Twitter” and “Deciding what to tweet”.

    I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, email.

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    Have fun, engage and I’ll catch you later