Twitter 101: Links, Tips and More

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Yesterday I was facilitating a Twitter 101 Session at edcampLA and a couple of teachers who were new to twitter asked for a Twitter 101 or Twitter for beginners blog post. We didn’t have access to a projector screen in the session so I couldn’t show them any posts during the session, so I promised them I would send them a link. Instead of just sending them to one spot I thought I’d post a bunch of links below that are curated by me since I use Twitter a ton and help run two Twitter Chats. So below are some links, tips and thoughts about Twitter that I will update as often as I can.


Reminder… we aren’t looking to create a PLN (boring…) we are looking to create a group of “learning friends.” Without Twitter I would have never met these amazing people:

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or these people from #edcampHOME the worlds first global edcamp.

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So let’s make some new friends…

The shortlink to this blog post is:

The shortlink to the twitter presentation:

A question I get a lot about Twitter is “How do you get people to follow you back?”

My two biggest tips on getting people to follow you back on Twitter are:

1. Make sure you have a picture of you in your profile, fill out your bio, and use a header image that gives people a little glimpse of who you are or what you like. Passion is contagious so showing people what you are passionate about in your bio helps find like-minded people.

Here’s Mine:

Twitter Header 2

And here are few other examples:

Twitter Headers

Chris Long loves kettle bells, Eric Saibel Loves Travel and Adventure, Sean Ziebarth loves biking and his blue bug, and Alice Keeler loves her kids so much she will hold them in her arms while she is presenting and still rock it.

Please tweet out six pictures as soon as possible. I can tell what you are like very quickly just by looking at the picture share part of your Twitter account. I make the majority of my “follow” decisions by looking at your photo shares and by seeing if you are interacting with me.

twitter photo share

You can see by Sean Ziebarth’s shares on the left he likes people, silliness, taking pictures of his friend Greg eating four donuts and music. You can see that Jodie Morgenson, on the right, LOVES being silly and is a positive person. As I said in my blog post on taking better photos, you can quickly see into a person’s soul when you see how they look at the world.

2. My second piece of advice for getting people, real people, to follow you back is to make yourself useful on Twitter. Share good stuff, answer questions, be a good community member by joining Twitter chats, find something that’s missing and offer it to the community. I don’t follow for follow, I follow people who interact with me and who don’t SPAM me.

There are lots of Twitter accounts, even teacher accounts, that I consider SPAM accounts. SPAM accounts are those that just share relentlessly without actually interacting with other Twitter users. Worse yet are those that will only share things that they have done or are a part of. Don’t be like that.

No one worth their salt cares how many people follow you on Twitter. Heck anyone can buy fake Twitter followers. I know people who have bought fake followers. If you want more followers provide value that people appreciate. Point out other’s victories. Post other people’s blog posts. Find useful tools and resources and share them. Interact. That’s the most important part, remember it’s called SOCIAL media. Be sociable, have fun, be a good friend, not a good network.


Twitter Basics: 

Great Tip by Alice Keeler on how to get a group of people to sign up for Twitter while bypassing all the sign-up steps.

Twitter 101 article by Jeff Dunn on Edudemic 

One question I hear from Twitter newbies is how do you follow conversations in Twitter. When you click on a Tweet, if people have replied to the Tweet you will see the entire conversation thread. I going to post a few other observations under the next picture.

Twitter Thread 2

  1. When you click on a Tweet you will see that it has its own shareable url that you can share, link to in a blog post or presentation or do tasks with it.
  2. There are three circles at the bottom of a Tweet. If you click on it…
  3. You can share a Tweet via email, Mute the user without unfollowing them (sneaky) or report a Spammer or inappropriate tweet.
  4. Here is the conversation thread
  5. By putting Twitter handles in your tweet your message will not only show up in the reader of the people that you follow, but the people whose Twitter handles you put in the message will see your message in a special area called “Notifications.”
  6. Here is where you click to see your Notifications. If there are tweets in here, people really want you to see what you Tweeted. When I’m busy sometimes I will only look at my Notifications.

Twitter Chats: 

How To Survive And Thrive In A Twitter Chat. 

A list of educational Twitter chats by day, hour, and subject.

Twitter in the Classroom: 

Using Twitter Chats In The Classroom Or As An Assessment Tool. 

Who to follow on Twitter: 

If you go to the lists section of my Twitter account you can see that I keep a curated list of people to follow on Twitter by subject taught, grade level, and their role in education. It’s a great list, seriously.

Alice Keeler’s List of Teachers by Subject Area on Twitter. 

 UPDATE 2/18/2015: 

I had a friend ask me “What do you do on Twitter, how do you use it daily?”

That’s a good question:

Here are a few things you should try on Twitter either once a day or once a week.

  1. Share a picture of your classroom.
  2. Share a picture of some student work.
  3. Share a picture of a process or tradition you have in your class, give a short explanation.
  4. Share a quote or song that is guiding you lately.
  5. Ask a question to a subject area hashtag like #engchat or #tweatre
  6. Ask a question of a teacher you don’t know.
  7. Share a link to a resource, website or video that worked in class.
  8. Share a link to a Google doc or Google Presentation that you used in class.
  9. Share when a student says something awesome.
  10. Share when a co-worker says or does something nice or awesome.

I’ll think of more, but hopefully that gives you something to do on Twitter besides sharing pictures of your food and talking about famous people.

The shortlink to this blog post is:

Sean Ziebarth and I did a training/presentation for the College Board on using Twitter as a Professional Development tool/strategy. Here is our presentation on using Twitter as a Professional Development tool.  Or you can use this shortlink to the presentation:

Please feel free to explore the rest of my teaching blog or if you want to read posts on my other blog, here are a few to start with:


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