At the end of the second half of 2015, Twitter had over 304 million users. Connecting with Twitter users is a perfect way to learn new things. Many businesses have been harnessing the power of Twitter to improve their business for some time, but many educators are now waking up to the potential of using of the social media resource to develop cutting-edge ideas, research, trends, and best practices to use in classrooms and schools. While many have already started using Twitter, some educators are still trying to learn the ropes. Here's everything you want to know to get started with Twitter.
- Before going any further, know clearly your purpose of being on Twitter. Are you online to promote your school or classroom? Do you want some help finding the information to improve your teaching methods? Do you want to build a reputable brand by establishing your expertise? Answering these questions will help you understand who to tweet and who to follow right from the word go.
- Complete your profile. You will have 160 characters to make yourself a likable figure in Twitter world. Take some time before you write anything here and finalize it. Don't just try to enter a bunch of keywords with a hope that people would find you easily. Even if they do, they are not going to follow you if you don't have anything meaningful mentioned in your bio. Whatever you write, personalize it by using first person.
- An empty Twitter stream can feel devastating, so actively find and follow people you find interesting.
- Expand your Twitter list carefully. If you're following a school superintendant, you may want to check whom they are following and add those people to your list as well. You can even check who are following the superintendent and add some of them to your list.
- Don't forget to follow local users. This is even more important if you're target specific topics and professions because local users are in the best position to understand your issues and challenges. They may even share information and provide insight from the nearby trenches.
- Search for friends on Twitter using email accounts. Your friends can always be a source of information and inspiration, even on Twitter.
- Make use of "Wefollow" to find more ideas on whom to track. This service gives you an easy access to a directory of prominent people, organized by interest.
- Make use of hashtags sensibly to identify your tweets and to search for new topics. You can find a long list of education hashtags when using Twitter. Just keep in mind that you're not going to get better results simply by using more hashtags. In fact, using more than a couple of hashtags will affect the effectiveness of the tweet.
- Search by making use of quotation marks. You can find tweets with utmost ease by using quotation marks on "edtech" or "common core".
- Make full use of Twitter's advanced search tool to drill down to your desired conversation. Go to the search tool, enter your keyword, and click to get the results. Now, look to the column on the left of your screen for Advanced Search. Using this will help narrow down your searches by people, language, places, dates, and even sentiments of the tweets.
Take Action on Twitter
- You can start to get the feel of Twitter quite easily by learning to retweet. Simply go through the tweets you have in your stream and find the one that resonates with you. Retweet it.
- At the bottom of every tweet, you will find a little star that you can click every time you read an interesting tweet. This will put those tweets in your "favorites" list and inform the original user that you have just "liked" or "favorited" their tweet.
- Ask a question related to your industry or profession. Put it out there and see how people respond to it. The idea is to make people know you're on Twitter too. They may respond and even start to follow you.
- Be part of a conversation to make your existence known. Some people find it comfortable responding in a large stream of tweets when new to the process. Find a twitter chat related to education and join the conversation.
- Understand that you just cannot keep up with your Twitter stream. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot read all of the tweets. Read what you can and retweet it if you like what you read.
- Be as active as you possibly can. While you should not let Twitter suck away all your time, you should give it enough time to maintain your presence. Simply work as per a timetable and review your top tweets at a specific time each day. Just be active enough to keep the communication going.
- Never miss a chance to share or 'retweet' quality information. Keep your eyes open and retweet anything like a perfect quote from a student, a new approach a colleague blogged about, or some new research.
- You have only 140 characters to impress others, but it's even better if you express yourself in 100 characters only.
- Don't share full-length links; instead use free services like goo.gl, bitly, or ow.ly to shorten the URLs on your links.
- Add your Twitter account to your other social media pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, or your website. You can do it easily through Twitter.
- Be ready to return the favor when someone begins to follow you.
- Make use of applications like TweetDeck to manage your tweets and Twitter account better. The application allows you to set a time when you want your tweets to go live. Certain applications also help you filter your searches.
- Try Hootsuite to have one dashboard for all your social media accounts to schedule tweets as well as blog and Facebook posts. You can also check analytics to gauge your social success.
- Use Twitter on mobile through the basic Twitter app. This lets you tweet while on the go.