Following the wonderful experience of hosting the #ScotEdChat last week, I was reminded of the potential of Twitter as a resource for professional discussion and CLPL.
However, I am aware that some people find Twitter to be overwhelming and are not sure how to make the most out of the experience. For that reason, I have decided to make a little guide which I hope will encourage others.
Well first things first, you’ll need to create an account. This in itself requires some thought;
- will it be a personal account or a professional one? Or perhaps a mix of both.
- which image will you use? An appropriate picture of yourself or a picture which represents your field of work will encourage other Tweeters to engage with you.
- don’t forget to add a little bio, telling others a little about yourself. This helps when others make the decision whether to follow you as they can see any shared interests or themes among your Tweets.
It sounds a little creepy, but following other people on Twitter means that their Tweets appear on your ‘home’ feed.
There is a handy little search bar at the top of the page where you can look for ‘teachers’ or ‘education.’ When you click on the top result, you will be presented with a page like this:
Here you can see all Tweets relating to the subject that you have searched. Clicking onto ‘Accounts’ will allow you to see profiles of people who Tweet about the subject.
Once you have started following a few people, Twitter will begin to make suggestions of similar profiles which you may be interested in on your home feed.
When opening Twitter, or clicking onto ‘Home’, you will see your home feed. It should look something like this:
Circled here, you can see the suggestions of profiles which are suggested for me to follow. These ones in particular have been suggested due to the people which I currently and recently follow.
‘Tweets’ are short (140 character) posts. Being able to say what you want to in such a short space is a bit of an art, but you’ll soon get the hang of it!
You might want to Tweet about an interesting article you’ve read. If so, why not add a link to that article and allow others to see it too? Just copy and past the url into the Tweet! If it is a long link, you may want to shorten it using the handy tool Tiny Url.
Retweets are when someone shares a post that someone else has Tweeted, making it available to their own followers. You may also choose to add your own comments to the retweet, sharing your own thoughts on a matter.
Replies and Mentions
Replies work in the same way has having a conversation with someone. An @ sign will appear before your name or the name of the person that you are Tweeting to.
In the same way, someone may mention you in a Tweet by adding the @ sign before your name.
When someone retweets your post, replies to you or mentions you in a Tweet, you will receive a notification. These appear in the banner at the top left of your page.
These are messages which are not available publicly. You may want to use these for making arrangements or sharing information HOWEVER, (as with all social media) I would strongly advise against sharing personal details such as phone numbers, your address etc with unknown others.
Hashtags are a way of grouping tweets and conversations under a similar umbrella. For example, if you were tweeting about education, you may want to add the hashtag #education or #teaching. This means that when these terms are searched – your tweet will appear.
Hashtags are also used in Twitter chats. These work as everyone involved includes the same hashtag at the end of their Tweets – grouping them all together in a list. For example, during ScotEdChat, everyone used the hashtag #scotedchat on each of their Tweets.
Following a chat can be difficult as they are often quick moving and very busy. A nice way to keep on top of it is to use a tool such as Tweetdeck.
You can sign into Tweetdeck using your Twitter login details. You are then presented with columns which include your home feed and notifications. You may add columns with follow your searches (the hashtag for the chat) and this will then update in real time, allowing you to see the most recent Tweets in a list. Here is a nice little guide to getting started with tweetdeck.
Some hashtags and chats which you may be interested in:
#EYTalking (This is a place where early years professionals share ideas, advice, successes and challenges. Loads of brilliant links are posted for professional reading. The chats are not weekly, however they are worth watching out for as they cover brilliant topics such as planning and outdoor learning).
#kinderchat (This chat takes place on Mondays from 8:30-9:30. There is a helpful calendar HERE which lets you know the topic of the next chat).
#EYshare (This is the chat which I host. It takes place on Wednesdays from 8-9pm and we aim to provide a friendly place to discuss a range of topics related to early years education and childcare).
I hope that this little post has got you feeling a little more confident about using Twitter as the fabulous resource that it is.